brni (brni) wrote,

theft by any other name...

Hullo all,

As I get more and more published, I'm coming to comprehend the very real damages being done to authors by unauthorized sharing and distribution of their work. Not only does it cut into the laughably small income that we receive from our work, it reduces our sales figures and makes it harder for us to sell future work.

While I'm certain I'll be secretly thrilled on the day I find that someone first thinks that my work is worth "sharing," the act of distributing that work without permission shows a certain disrespect for the author.

Infinitely more so when it is taken without permission or attribution, when it is passed off as someone else's work, and used to generate profit for someone else.

Couple days ago, Peggy Blair posted the following:

As I hope anyone reading this blog can tell, I take a fair amount of time writing it.

So I was quite surprised to learn yesterday that someone using the blog name ‘Author Course’ at had replicated my entire blog on Johanna Skibsrud on his/her blogpage without any attribution.

Read the rest of the story at her site:

It's a difficult thing identifying and slapping the wrists of those who do this out of ignorance. When I was teaching, I had a student who literally thought that by changing one word per sentence as he copied content into his term paper, he was not plagiarizing. It's a difficult situation. He was honestly clueless. By making the accusation of plagiarism, I would most likely have gotten him expelled from school. I chose to give him private tutelage on what "your own work" means, and give him the opportunity to rewrite the paper. In a case like this, overreaction can be worse than letting them get away with it.

Clearly trying to fight intellectual content piracy in general through legal action is like playing whack-a-mole with a single hammer and infinite moles - an exercise in futility, better handled through education, by getting the bulk of readers to empathize with the author's plight.

But how to deal with an entity that is set up specifically to steal content and pass it off as their own? Do we as individual authors have to keep an eye out and take steps to get our own stolen content removed, and leave it to other individual authors to look out for their own stuff? Or is there something that we can do as a group to shut down systemic abuse where it is found?
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