Recently, I read a very disturbing blog post. I would link to it but I can’t find it again. A Mommy Blogger found out that another woman had stolen photos of her children and blog posts off her blog and posted them on Facebook as her own. Is that creepy or what? Makes you want to never post a personal photo or story ever again!
Copying other people’s work seems to be a problem in the blogger-sphere. I remember when Nancy from Count Down to Mexico had a problem with someone stealing her copy. Click on the link, Nancy explains it better than I ever could. You should also read the comments, there is good information there. She also links to Jennifer of Mexscape, who goes into more detail, since her blog was also ripped off. You can read that post here. The perpetrator was a real estate site selling property in Mazatlan and providing information for potential clients. It must be easy to produce copy when all you have to do is push control c and control v.
The other day, a friend was reading a forum and someone there quoted something that included my name. She thought it was odd, so she passed the link on to me. It was a quote lifted from a forum where we were discussing how to pay for purchases here in Mexico. The quoter didn’t acknowledge where the original came from. He used it out of context to push his own crazy agenda. I decided not to get involved, since he wasn’t actually quoting me. One thing is to quote someone, and as you know I love a good quote. Check out the comments on my post, At least the bear had a good meal, I tried to find a quote to answer every commenter.
As I said, it’s one thing is to quote someone. Another thing entirely is to post a complete article or blog post with out permission. The person who stole from Nancy and Jennifer knew exactly they were doing. Personally, I have seen people post entire articles that they have gotten from other blogs. I think sometimes it’s innocent, sometimes it’s honest admiration, but no matter the motivation, it’s harmful. When you publish, without permission, someone else’s work on your blog, you are robbing the person of traffic to their site. Instead of helping them by linking and sharing with your readers a great blog post or a new blog you’ve found, you are actively harming the original writer. Especially, if the author is a professional and was paid to produce the piece.
I have several blogger friends who are published authors. Their websites or blogs are a way to show to potential publishers just how much interest there is in their writing. If instead of linking to them, their posts were just copied, those readers do not show up on their statistics. It can be potentially damaging thing to their reputations too. What happens when they don’t answer comments or questions on someone else’s blog? How does that look to potential employers? Or to the snubbed reader?
Then there are the blogs with ad content. Some advertisers pay per click, but there are others who pay according to your readership. If your readers are reading your stuff but on someone else’s blog, you lose that revenue. If the person who publishes your post is paid ad revenue they are actively stealing by doing so, they deprive the original author and receive the revenue themselves.
When I am doing research on something, it amazes me how much of this is out there. When I was looking up information on nopales, it seemed like almost all the sites had copied verbatim from another site. Did everyone in their High School history class turn in the same term paper? How did that affect the one person who actually did the work?
I am wondering if the Latin American Blogger’s Convention should also have a round table discussion on the ethics of blogging? I know a couple of retired lawyers who might have a thing or two to say on the subject.