The Blog Content Theft Thang Again

“Contact me immediately if you think I’ve stolen your ideas anybody”

The most notorious stance I have doesn’t happen to be anything to do with web standards but its actually an ongoing conversation about my views on blogging, the ongoing plagiarism argument and saying that if you don’t want to lose it you shouldn’t put it online. It shouldn’t be of any bother to people as I’m not a content thief and I think I give reasonable attribution - contact me immediately if you think I’ve stolen your ideas anybody. Please? My good ideas are still here and I just don’t put the saleable content on the blog. Anyway to save you too much trouble here’s the comment I left - and no I don’t like the idea of probloggers just trying to suck money out of click throughs - its a fad I find quite similar to crayfish cream.

The funny thing about this notoriety I seem to have for my stance on blogging and plagiarism is that I don’t ever to my knowledge not attribute anyone, and I don’t cut and paste their content. I thought I’d mention it.

My main issue isn’t with the general blogger who I do have sympathy for. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for what are calling themselves probloggers, people who are just in there trying to squeeze a buck and some traffic to their Google Ad click revenue. Blogging actually changed what the web was used for, we’re conversing and sharing information globally. To me that’s a huge thing. But greedy people irritate me no end.

I also have sympathy if an automated program is republishing your work for financial gain by the way.

The only time I’ve really run into plagiarism is as an academic term at university. Newspapers and such do this stuff all the time as a matter of course. I’m into blogging not putting up research. And I simply suggest that if anyone is putting up saleable information then consider writing a book and not blogging it. Sound advice really.

I can’t really see why it annoys people so much that I think borrowing a recipe or a knitting tip is going to ruin the light of the new year for us all. I’m just confused as to the importance.

I blog about web standards and am an evangalistic developer who just wants to get people to make web pages the right way instead of with tables and junk markup. I want to interest developers and motivate and I like to pull the big whip out on those in Tasmania producing sub quality product because they can. So that information is free. I do have saleable ideas that don’t get blogged.

But business is different. I got ripped on a site design even before it went live by a US firm who said they only wanted to use the pallette. But there was my client’s contact page with their name in the copyright and a new site title. That sucked. I couldn’t stop them either so I was iritated no end.

So I think in a way I’m taken for my extreme freedom of blogging views as much as anything.

I don’t condone theft of ideas or content at all and don’t think I ever have. But I also fear the conversation that started this line… Problogger. There was a week of veritable witch hunting where these guys were out to hunt down and publicly out all and sundry - not my scene sorry. It was all about click through revenue.

But I’m glad you’ve noticed Pig Work even if it was for one of my less impressive tantrums lol. My only tip is that bloggers need to know what to blog and what to lock in the office I guess.

My main concern on Pig Work is not actually my attribution but the fact the information is diseminated to the masses. That’s what this particular blog is about - end of story. If Tantek or Molly or anyone else says something important I think its the purpose of this blog to point to it and perhaps put some discussion of my views on the subject. Nothing I say is particularly original.

I just don’t think too many people out there are saying original stuff. Its funny how I’ve read the ten tips for bloggers and all those other posts probably one hundred times in the last year. Is that really original content? Really? Is your recipe for duck broth or pattern for baby booties that much of a state secret?

The frustrating thing is that these posts generally fixate on some point that I actually condone content theft when in fact I’m saying you doofus if you put up your valuables its a reality you’re going to be ripped - do it at your own risk! Arrrggghhh!!!! As for Pig Work - hey please disseminate the ideas and ideals of web standardistas to the heathen developers yet unconverted… asta la vista dudes its my bed time.

4 Responses to “The Blog Content Theft Thang Again”

  1. JB Says:

    First off, I really enjoyed the article, it was a very interesting read and it took me back to a drama that I had long since forgotten about.

    It’s perhaps coincidental, but the issue has been reraised in a similar manner on another major bllog site. I’ll be running another article on a similar controversy sometime later today. It’s just insane how this issue keeps getting reraised.

    Personally though, I’ve never liked the witch hunt method of dealing with plagiarism, as you call it. It’s one thing to use public outings as a deterrent, but to use it as your first and last resort for dealing with it is excessive. All it does is increase drama, drag names through the mud and suck up time. I feel all of these incidents could have been handled in a fraction of the time through more traditional means.

    Anyway, I’m sorry that this spectre seems to hang over you still. I know that you have other things to talk about. I tried to be fair with my article, but I could imagine that others aren’t doing the same.

    Seems to be the nature of the blogging world.

    Hope that you are well!

  2. Steven Clark Says:

    Ha ha yeh I’m just frustrated people keep thinking I’m either a content thief or condone content theft when I don’t think that’s my argument. Maybe its a way of sidelining me from what I’d like the issue to be about.

    I think there might be a case for defining blogs, as in the phenomena that changed the business model of the web to free information sharing, and defining commercial bloglike sites. Steve Rubel is a commercial enterprise and hardly Charlie Farley the sandwich seller who has an interest in old car rallies.

    Splogs on the other hand should just be illegal but again where do we draw the line? I mean I’ve seen plenty of sites that suck someone’s headlines - Jeffrey Zeldman’s headlines for instance - into a sidebar showing his latest 4 posts. Also sites that just pull ten web standards A Listers RSS feeds in as an aggregator where you can follow all ten blogs on ‘their site’. Kind of weird but not so dissimilar to Google or Yahoo or any search engine when you think of it deep down.

    I really wouldn’t have said anything over at Problogger that day if they hadn’t been in a witch hunt mode though. A lot of this comes under personal belief I guess. And it surprises me that I’m regularly exposed as the champion of content theft - that won’t do my academic career a lot of good in the long run ha ha. I can see myself having to print out all of these conversations and defend myself at some time.

    Thanks for commenting JB. I kind of feel a bit hijacked on what I was really saying over on problogger. Hopefully the conversation will pass me by now and life will revert to normalcy. :)

  3. Easton Ellsworth Says:

    There’s a conversation going on at Problogger.net (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/12/22/clipmarks-and-copyright/) that you might find relevant to this discussion about blogging and plagiarism. I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months and already I’ve seen some of my content copied without permission - but unless the copier is trying to make money off of copying my work, I usually don’t mind, since it tends to encourage traffic to my blog. Maybe that’s an incorrect view, and I’ve still got a lot to learn about blogging, but for now I feel comfortable with that policy.

  4. Steven Clark Says:

    Hi Easton
    Mmm interesting conversation. I guess I could ask this question -

    is everyone aware that simply by viewing a page on the web the content is cached on your local machine and therefore breaches copyright anyway? There needs to be some level of acceptance of the medium of the Web and the technologies its driven by.

    But basically I’m keeping out of it as I blog for hopefully altruisitic reasons and would not put myself in the problogger - money driven - basket. In fact if I were in it for the money I’d be long gone by now. Any small text ads you see on my site are non paid and are there because I’m associated or believe in the cause.

    The web was built on the concept of hyperlinking and sharing of information.

    Anyway as long as I’m not being expounded as a content thief or a condoner of content theft in this one I’m happy. Its a big world I guess and we’ll all believe our own stuff at the end of the day. I’m no darren rowse fan by any means and stopped reading problogger a long time ago. Mostly I’ve read it all before elsewhere in different words as well… mostly.

    live and let live I guess.

    I don’t think its right your content gets ripped by the way, I have never actually said that kind of stuff. I do emphasise that as smart technologists we have to realise that this theft will happen though. And the fear of theft, or the anger at it in many many cases is more about the loss of click through revenue.

    But thanks for telling me about that conversation, interesting. Hopefully it’ll let me fly under the radar this time though lol.


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