They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery so why doesn't it feel that way when you stumble upon someone passing off your work as their own.
It happened to me yesterday when I found an agent had copied one of my blog posts (including the image I had paid to use) and posted it on her blog as if she had written it herself.
After I glued the top of my head back in place, I contacted her and asked her to remove the post from her blog. She responded by saying that many of her posts had been copied because "everything on the Internet is public domain...there is nothing private" quote, unquote. She also stated that she "did not see any copyright on the posting, therefore saw no reason to not share further". She then provided the following excerpt.
"The fair use law is based on the free speech rights provided by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The fair use of a copyrighted work, including reproducing, copying, or other duplication is permissible for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. These uses are considered “fair use” and are not an infringement of copyright."
Lastly, she said she had updated her blog post to include my name as the author.
Here's the thing... I really don't mind my posts being shared BUT that does not mean you can do so without asking me first AND it's just plain dishonest to present it as if the work was your own. I believe most authors will agree to a sharing of their words with permission and proper attribution.
I included the following in my response to her as a "by the way":
- Everything from April 1, 1989 is copyrighted by the owner or author whether it has a copyright notice attached or not. All Internet users should assume that the work is copyrighted, unless otherwise specified by the author.
- Many works on the Internet are available for public use. However, the author of the work must have included verbiage explicitly granting it to public domain.
- Internet users cannot transfer graphics or works without the knowledge and approval of the owner and post them somewhere else on the Internet.
- "Fair Use" is a thin line, but is typically an excerpt with proper attribution, NOT the copying of an entire work with no attribution.
I also recommended she take time to read through Lenn Harley's compilation blog post Copyright Information for ActiveRain Members for some priceless information for anyone who is even thinking about "borrowing" another person's work.
Ignorance is bliss...until you get a call from an attorney.