Monday, March 7, 2011

Blogs: Copyright and Courtesy

Everybody else in blogland likely knows all this stuff but me, so if you are up on Copyright, Fair Use/Fair Dealing, And Hotlinking: What You Need To Know, then pass on, Sistren and Brethren. Basically, the linked blog post covers the rules for what you can use from other people's blogs and various and sundry other sources.  If you always write original material in your blog, you may want to read it anyhow to see what the rules are about people using your stuff. 

While fair use (United States) and fair dealing (Canada) allow for the limited reproduction of an author's work, wholesale reproduction of your work without your express permission is not acceptable, and it is considered copyright infringement.

If  you read down to the bottom of the Ninjamatics blog post, you get a summary of what you should and shouldn't do.  I just saved the summary to my Blog folder for future reference.

Simply put, there are two rules about reposting someone's blog in its entirety: 
Rule number one is the one you should follow - When in doubt ASK.
Rule number two is all too often the one I follow - It is easier to get forgiven than to get permission. This is a dangerous rule as some folks, especially those who make a living blogging (you can really do that?) or writing in general are not fussy about you stealing their stuff, without asking. Especially if you don't credit them for it.  You don't want to get your ox in a pit or your ass in a sling.

I have reposted a few blogs or articles in their entirety.  Most times I have asked. A couple times I did not and for that I apologize, Lee Hart.  I have always acknowledged the source and linked to it, with the intention that my thirteen readers might also become regular readers of the source.  However as pointed out in the above blog post, good intentions are not enough and we all know about the pavement on the road to hell.  

Having said that, there are obviously some things that beg to be stolen and reposted.  Like jokes.  A great many of them, including the Engineering conversion factors I posted a few days ago have been around on email forwards more times than I can count.  I copied them from an email but later found a raft of them on the internet. So does that mean they are now copyright and I can't reprint them?  Where do you think the person got them from in the first place?  If I post a page of jokes on my blog you can be sure they are previously owned.  Please steal from me, just don't acknowledge me as their source if they are really bad ones.

You can Google Rodney Dangerfield and find pages of his great one-liners and I suppose rather than copy and paste you could link to them but it does lose in the translation.

Cartoons is another area I have trouble with as I love to steal cartoons and funny pictures. I have a personal collection of hundreds sorted into Funny and Adult Funny folders.  I have been known to post some of them from time to time.  Since my blog pretty much flies below the radar, I am safe from lawsuits - until...  I can't plead ignorance there.  I KNOW that reposting cartoons without arrangements is copyright infringement.

Oh, and also note the instructions in the article about hotlinking of pictures.  Don't do it.  This is not like embedding a Youtube video, which is OK or at least they give you the HTML code to do it.

Please, Dear Readers who know more about this than I, feel free to comment in detail.  I am anxious to learn more.

And thank you Elan Morgan aka Schmutzie for your article and advice.



  2. Oh, come, BF! You? Steal someone else's stuff? Won't happen (again).

  3. People have been getting their panties in a bunch about this for at least the 6 years I have been blogging. I have avoided the blatant plagarism because every post of mine is mine. I may quote, but I never cutnpaste.

    Images however are another story. I do try to give credit and a link to the sites I find my images on. But I am sure I have crossed the line at least a few times.

    A couple of years ago I did register my blog under the Creative Commons License 3.0. I think what I allow is pretty much anything you want to take you can, as long as you give me credit.

    The fact that my blog is for my amusement only and the possible amusement of whoever might stop by keeps me from getting too worked up over this. If I actually was attemtpting to blog for profit, I would guess my attitude might be different.

    I do try to respect other's works and whenever I can learn a new way to do that I am grateful. Thanks for the links. I find that to my best knowledge, I have never "hotlinked". I always download my images to my computer or to my Picassa site. And whenever possible, I use images I have taken personally.

    I found it amusing the author of the linked article was trying to give the impression that the Internet was some sort of civil place - that it was not the "Wild West". I actually laughed out loud. What fairyland does she live in?

  4. Some parts of the internet may be civil. But certainly not the comments on the political blogs. And certainly not the undercover information gathering and data mining that goes on. When the time comes to send the dissidents to the ovens, we will all be easy to find.


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