IGNORANCE OF THE COPYRIGHT LAW IS NO EXCUSE. ANYWAY, WE DON'T BUY IT.
* * * * DANGER: HARD CORE COPYRIGHT TALK AHEAD * * * *
THINGS LEARNED IN 7TH GRADE ENGLISH CLASS
Mrs. Kennedy, my 7th Grade English Teacher, was known for her tough grading, strict class discipline
and heavy homework assignments. I dreaded going to her class each day, turning in an assignment and
getting it back with black marker all over it and a grade at the top of the page that I knew didn't reflect the
value of my writing. Mrs. Kennedy focused on composition and structure. The focus of my writing was
always and is still, use of the written word to convey excitement, humor, facts, information, experiences
and message. My 7th Grade writings were my intellectual property and they reflected my thoughts. The
structure may not have been perfect, but the message was always understood. Mrs. Kennedy was feared
and respected. In retrospect, she was wonderful. She made us write. I learned that writing is an
acquired skill and the more of it you do, the easier it becomes and the better at it you are.
The lessons I learned in Mrs. Kennedy's 7th Grade English class have stayed with me throughout life as
the foundation of writing, that wonderful ability of the human species to express ourselves in language
and through the development of the written word, commit our thoughts in a way that they can be shared
with many others and preserved over time as ours and our alone.
"Ours and ours alone", or "if I created it, I own it" is the theory that caused the government to promulgate laws to help us protect our writings and other creative expressions known as Intellectual Property and preserve the right to use our creations to the writer and the writer alone.
One of Mrs. Kennedy's class lessons covered copyright. YES, in the 7th Grade English class, Mrs, Kennedy
taught us about copyright law. I can recall also having a class or two in later years in high school about
copyright in classes that covered Social Studies classes or civics and government structure. Sure, that was
a few years ago. However, I raised 5 children and I always monitored their homework assignments and can
recall that my children also used text books that included lessons about copyright law. One of the lessons
that was always clear was that, when a person writes something, they own it and and they have immediate
copyright protection for that writing. They don't have to do a thing. The act of creating an original writing
gives the writer copyright protection.
ENTER THE INTERNET
Humans are smart. When we find a short cut to achieve an end, we use it. One of the most valuable,
used and over used features of the Internet is the ability of a person to "cut and paste" content.
When writing an article, as in a blog or comment to a blog, writers have been known to take short
cuts. If they have read something interesting or relevant to what they are writing, rather than draw on
the information and use their imagination to write an original paragraph or two or ten, they will simply
"cut and paste" a snippet, a few words, of copy from an article that conveys their message and then
link to the original message. Fine. However, that method takes the reader away from the
page and puts the reader on someone else's page, perhaps never to return. Links are good news,
bad news. They provide a road to more information, but may also divert the reader to another web site.
The choice is, write or link. We all make these choice daily.
WHY ACTIVE RAIN MEMBERS COPY AND PASTE
1. "Copy and Paste" is expedient: Definition - Based on or marked by a concern for self-interest
rather than principle. American Heritage Dictionary.
2. Active Rain points:
Points for an article published.
Points for comments made to an article.
Points for comments received about an article.
Points for photos published.
3. Arrogance: Members who plagiarize believe that the benefit to themselves has a higher order of importance
than the harm done to the entity who created the intellectual property.
4. Disdain for the law. The copyright law doesn't apply to them or it only applies of they get caught and then
only if the owner of the intellectual property is willing or able to enforce their copyright.
5. Google Juice. The member posts content written by other writers to feed fresh content for the Google
spiders in the hopes of receiving better rank on the search engines. OR, the member posts plagiarized content
with links from to their other sites to enhance the rank of their outside blogs or web sites.
THERE ARE NO EXCUSES. So, when an Active Rain member is caught with copied content on their page, there is no excuse. They copied it from another person's publication, pasted it on their own blog and received all the benefits as though they had spent the intellectual energy to create the content themselves. The claim that it was an "honest mistake" doesn't wash because the very act of copying and pasting content belonging to another is dishonest in the extreme. Even if a link back to the writer is included, that doesn't excuse the dishonest act.
We learned that lesson in 7th Grade English class.
ACTIVERAIN COMMUNITY GUIDELINES: Respect copyright. Only upload content that you have the right to use.
COMPENDIUM OF LENN'S ACTIVE RAIN ARTICLES ABOUT COPYRIGHT