Intellectual property and the Internetz have always had a fraught relationship. In the six years that I have been blogging, I have observed instances of artists’ designs being copied, appropriated or uncredited by big businesses, the failure of a small minority of bloggers to link to their sources and general instances of blatant copying.
A recent post on frolic!, which I definitely recommend that you have a read through if you have your own blog, discusses in detail the issue of photographic crediting: “…when I see a blog without proper credits to photos, i consider it theft and I discontinue reading the blog. not properly crediting photos is incredibly disrespectful to the photographers and the people who created the images. I’ve seen it on small blogs and big ones too. It doesn’t matter whether you blog for fun or for your job, everyone has the responsibility to credit the images they use.”
The said post, and the comments that follow it, stirred up a few things that I had been thinking about recently. One of the comments, from lisa warninger who is the lady behind portland street style blog urban weeds, stated the following: “would you copy and paste someones paragraph without crediting? of course not!”
Unfortunately, words are not immune – a fact pointed out by Jane Flanagan of ill seen ill said and something that I have experienced myself.
I occasionally write (do hire me: I’ll compose some delightful prose or even news articles for you!) for various online publications and have seen my writing pop up in other places – most notably tumblr – completely uncredited. If this occurred anywhere other than the Internet it would be considered serious plagiarism, but blogging appears to fall into some strange dead zone where normal rules don’t apply.
In the said post, the author highlighted the time and effort that goes into composing a photograph and the manner in which it is undermined when it is carelessly reblogged. Writing is, of course, no different…and to think that all it takes is some inverted commas and a link to properly credit the source.
As far as I am aware copyright infringement via blogging has yet to received any serious legal attention. It’s irrevocably sad because bloggers like writers think about what they’re going to blog and I believe we need appreciation and recognition too. Because we can’t avoid bitchy bloggers who love copy pasting stuffs.