Friday, December 7, 2012

Copyright Violation or Admiration

If someone takes what you write and reprints it, should you view it as a copyright violation or be proud that you have written something good enough that someone else would like to reprint it?

Does it make a difference why they reprinted it?  Does it make a difference who their audience is?  Does it make a difference if they are profiting from the reprinting?

I have recently been reading up on copyright opinions.  There are quite a few of them out there.  Copyright means, if you created it, you own it and no one else has a right to do anything with it, other than read it, look at it, or listen to it.  But there are some that feel that the original creator will benefit, and further that society will benefit, from freely copying others works.

On the one hand I agree that copyright is silly, but on the other, I think it is of the utmost importance. 

What if someone takes what you have written, removes your name from it, and republishes it elsewhere that is not associated with you in anyway?  I am not quite sure how that would help the original creator.

If someone wants to copy what I have done, and reprint it somewhere else, with my name on it, really, please do that.  That would be a great favor to me.  You would be helping to get my message out, as well as my name.

But I honestly have a large problem with someone copying my work and removing all identifying information from it.  I don’t care that you don’t put your name on it; I care that my name was removed from it.

A comic creator that I enjoy, Nina Paley, draws a cartoon called Mimi and Eunice.  I think it is super cute and is very well written.  Here is an example:

 Nina believes strongly in freedom from copyright.  She tells people to freely copy her work and distribute it widely.  But can you see closely between the frames?  It is her website address, which could be removed but would be difficult.  Also, she is distributing a fairly original and recognizable product.  What do I distribute?  Words.  Words are not distinctly recognizable as any one particular author.  If you remove the author’s name, you remove the only thing that attaches the piece to its creator. 

It was with great surprise that I recently found one of my posts, word for word, reprinted somewhere else, without my permission.  And more importantly, there was no identifying information printed along with it.  The person who took it, did not try and pass it off as their own, but there was also no acknowledgment made that it wasn’t their own.

Here is what I think – if you want to reprint something from my blog, please ask, I will more than likely agree to it, but you will minimally need to state where you took it from. 

Copying is not always great or a compliment.  If you reprint my stuff in a pro cross dressing publication, cool.  But what if someone wanted to reprint my stuff in something that was trying to prove that cross dressers are evil horrible people that should be crucified?  I don’t think I would want anything that I have written reprinted as a part of that.

What do you think?  Should people be able to freely reprint anything, anywhere, that anyone has done?


  1. I feel strongly that ideas we express in our blogs are our property, so if someone wishes to reprint those ideas it is important that they credit us and reproduce the words faithfully when they do it.

  2. I am in firm agreement with Halle. Printing your words without acknowledgement implies that the author was the thieving poster. Have you asked this person for a correction? Left a comment with the link to the original? Something to ponder.

    1. I contacted the person and they complied with my request to at least credit my work.

      The thing is they don't even remember where they got my post from. They think they took it from a yahoo group, which I can't seem to locate.

  3. In the modern era it seems that almost anything on the internet is subject to cutting and pasting. This would include great literature as well as a simple blog post. I think it is important to try to do something to identify the work as yours.
    When I first saw the posting I recalled that it was from your blog and I was pleased to be able to call it to your attention.
    I do not think that the law of copyright and trademark has caught up with the internet. Material is copied thousands of times a day and enforcement would become more of a burden than letting some things ride. I am glad that the publication will repost it with proper credit. It is from a good source and supporter of our community.

    1. The internet provides a platform that makes material easily copy-able. I think people often take advantage of the ease with which this can be done. Some people mistakenly believe that because it is so easy, that it is acceptable. As an author I take issue with this.

      The publication that reprinted my post is supporter of our community, but not necessarily a supporter of authors. All of the items within the magazine that my post appeared within are reprints and not all of them are credited. The editor of that magazine will print a correction, but only because I contacted them. There are many other authors works that are still uncredited and more importantly the editor seemed to justify their actions and most likely will not change how they publish articles in the future.

      So on the one hand I am happy with the actions that the editor will take in regards to my post, but I am disappointed that they will most likely continue their ways.