And I don’t just mean identity and credit card theft. I’m talking about content. A few years ago I was curious to find out how National Geographic Traveler magazine found my photo on my obscure little blog. I did a search on Google for fish tacos, and sure enough, near the top of the Google images page was my photo… on someone else’s website! I was shocked and immediately did a search on copyright infringement. I learned that this is very common, and websites educating us on how to protect our intellectual property abound. I also learned that not only are there rules and laws about it, but there is also etiquette. Many of us are more than willing to share our content but only under certain conditions.Many people don’t even know they are stealing someone else’s intellectual property, whether it’s photos, music, recipes, or even just words we’ve jotted down. It’s so easy to copy and paste content that many are unaware there is anything wrong with it. In the case of the fish tacos I contacted the woman, and she opted to remove the photo. Recently, I found a blog that had copied all of my posts and photos word-for-word from my other blog. After hounding them with several emails, they finally responded to me that they would credit me for the content they had borrowed, and we were all happy. While gracious about it, I still got the feeling this other blog owner felt somewhat entitled to my work.
A blogging friend from Romania recently reached out to me and informed me that a Romanian website had translated 10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too, received a lot of traffic, and had not credited me for the work. I let it go, thinking it wasn’t worth the hassle to try to sort it out in a different language. Some things just aren’t worth my time.
But it wasn’t until recently that I was truly appalled by another dentist’s behavior. Lily over at Like Your Teeth sent me a note saying that she recognized my post on Facebook. A dentist in India had copied part of my 10 Reasons post and posted it to his business Facebook page word for word… without linking back to Lolabees. Lily and I both added to the comments attributing his post to this blog. I then sent him a private message informing him that this was my intellectual property and that he needed to properly credit me for my work that he was using. The next day after hearing no response from this dentist, finding that he had deleted both comments attributing “his” post to me, and (to top it off,) seeing that my post brought him the most traffic he’s ever had to his page at over 200 shares, I got pissed.
Then it was simple. I reported it to Facebook, and within 24 hours, they disabled his post.
So there, thieving bastard!
Anyway, the point of this post is to spread a little awareness. If you want to share a blogger’s content, look on their page for any copyright or Creative Commons guidelines. This will help you understand what you need to do in order to use their content. Most are happy to share as long as you credit their work back to their blog. And please help be watchdogs. If you recognize someone’s post, let them know, so they can get the credit they deserve. We work hard to produce our content, and it’s the right thing to do.
Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net