Several weeks ago on Garden Rant there was a small storm of indignation regarding the attitude expressed at a garden writers convention that what bloggers write was free for the taking without attribution. Most bloggers are flattered to be quoted, but instances of entire posts being republished somewhere else without permission, or even acknowledgment, are becoming increasingly common. If you are worried about someone stealing your work, I recently came across a series of articles by Lorelle VanFossen that educates and advises on this very subject: What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content? (Even if you do want what you write to be freely used by others, there are steps you should take to make that clear, and Lorelle outlines those as well.) Written in language mere mortals can understand, this is the most thorough and even-tempered treatment of the subject that I have come across. We would all do well to be educated on our rights and our responsibilities in this area. (Hint: have you ever gotten an image via a search engine and used it on your blog? You’d better read part 3, Growing Trends in Content Theft.)
I first came across Lorelle as I was teaching myself the workings of WordPress. Her name kept showing up as the author of helpful posts on the Support Forum and articles in the documentation (what is called the Codex). Her blog, while directed at WordPress users, is worth keeping an eye on, because much of her advice and information is useful to all bloggers, no matter what kind of blogging software they use. So, even if you think you’ve got the legal issues of blogging covered, check out Lorelle on WordPress.