Stealing Words is Still Stealing

Stealing Words is Still Stealing

If I were still teaching composition classes this blog post, “I’d Rather Be Hated Than Used” at Diary of a Mad Editor would be on required reading list.

It tells the story of the sort of intellectual property theft that is, sadly, all too typical these days. I’ve seen it many times and my husband has been a victim of it, though not to this degree. I think this is the most flagrant violation I’ve heard of.

In brief, the writer, Deborah Markus, who self-publishes Secular Homeschooling Magazine wrote a piece, The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wishlist, a witty piece that has evidently been wildly popular, I’ve seen it linked to by many homeschoolers. Unfortunately, the list has often been passed around without giving proper credit to the author.

Many bloggers I suspect are merely ignorant of fair use and intellectual property rights. But ignorance is no excuse. If you have a blog, you need to learn the rules of the road. You don’t copy someone’s work without giving them credit. You name them and provide a link to their website. Also, you should never copy all of a piece, you excerpt a selection and then direct the reader back to the writer’s site where they can read the piece in it’s entirety.

But this story is different. The thief knew what he was doing and when asked by the author to rectify the theft, he acted in a completely sleazy way. Read the whole story here and pass it on to other bloggers. We should all be looking out for each other and educating each other on what is and what is not proper behavior on the internet. And it seems to me that awareness of these online intellectual property issues is doubly important in the homeschooling community where we are responsible for teaching the rules of the road and blogging etiquette to the next generation.

via Melissa Wiley

Incidentally, this was an interesting article (linked to in the comments section of the mad editor’s blog post) that addressed what to do if you have been the victim of such a theft.

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