Do the right thing; do not steal

The web and social networks are evolving their own conventions of appropriate behavior.

People have learned to avoid cluttering mailboxes with broad cc’s. Flames are far fewer than in the old days. Most bloggers no longer feel they must blog every day. Most people know that it’s worthwhile to lurk when joining a new community to identify its standards before jumping into the fray.

One area that noobs fail to understand is that it is not cool to “scrape” other people’s blogs. By scrape, I mean taking an entire web post rather than taking an excerpt and linking to the original.

Google Alerts emails me when sites take my content lock, stock, and barrel. Every week I come upon sites that break one or more of these taboos:

  • Do not re-post someone else’s blog posts in their entirety.
  • Do not imply that you wrote a post if you did not.
  • Do not strip out author names and links.
  • Do not use frames to make it difficult to get to the original post.
  • Do not remove links to the original material.

I’ve been happy to share my thoughts in blogs and free articles for more than a decade. I enjoy the exposure. But I don’t enjoy being abused.

One association takes my every post, puts it behind a members-only wall, and puts its copyright notice on the bottom of every page. A now-defunct university posted an entire white paper by Clark Quinn and me but stripped our names from it. Several automated blogs repost my work with ads alongside. My colleagues at Internet Time Alliance are experiencing the same phenomena.

What’s your take on this issue?

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