Monday, July 2, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Steal. Yes, Thou.

I can't believe I even have to say this. Our readers are all writers, editors, publishing professionals -- people with an above-average knowledge of copyright and intellectual property laws. I shouldn't have to say what I am about to say, and yet, it must be said.

DO NOT copy posts from this blog and post our material elsewhere. PERIOD.

What we have written here belongs to us, Theresa and Alicia, and to no one else.

There is one among you who has recently copied large portions of several of our posts and cobbled them together into a post of his/her own on a message board (not for the first time, either). There is another one among you who has copied entire posts from this site and posted them on a site selling shitty editing software. You are both in the wrong. It doesn't matter if you add our names or links. You do not have permission to use our writing either in its entirety or as derivative works.

I'm not talking about fair use. I'm not talking about links. Most people who use small snips and links back to our blog are being gracious and kind and make it clear that we are the authors of the words being quoted. You guys, we love.

I'm talking theft and plagiarism. If you're in doubt about whether something constitutes fair use or copyright violation, plagiarism or proper citation, you could always do the honest thing and ASK US for permission. If we want you running around message boards parroting our posts and pretending you wrote them, we will allow it. If we want to be associated with your shitty editing software, we will allow it. The fact that you neither asked permission nor properly attributed our work shows us that you know what our answers would be.

Stop doing it. Now. We've been generous, I think, about sharing our knowledge and insight and experience. This is not the way to repay that generosity.

Theresa and Her Flaming Sword of Justice


fat_bradley said...

That's pretty disgusting. Awful this post has to be said in the first place - but there we are. There are just some people in the world... *sigh*

While I'm here though, thank you for all the great advice you give. My writing has benefitted enormously from it, and I'm extremely grateful for you guys sharing your knowledge.

Edittorrent said...

Thank you, fat-bradley! I felt so disrespected, but your comment is a salve on the hurt. Really, thank you for that.

green_knight said...

Sadly I think there is a wider-ranging problem. Every time I edit a multi-author volume, I have at least one of them citing earlier material without attribution. And yes, they wrote it themselves, but they still ought to alert readers to this. (I feel cheated if I read a 'new' book and the material is ten years old.) And then there are livejournals 'reblog' button and Tumblr and Pinterest etc etc - all ways of quickly sharing content without needing to attribute it. (On Tumblr, I never know who wrote the original material.)

And I also feel that the culture of blogging-for-profit, combined with a perceived need to blog with a certain frequency in order to retain readers contribute to a culture where more than one blogger is making an income from borrowed feathers.