Blogging and Copyright Protection series by Lorelle

– Posted in: About this site, Blogging Art and Practice, Recommended Links

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.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

JeanneE April 13, 2008, 2:16 am

Awesome post – thank you. The more awareness we can raise on this subject the better.

Kathy Purdy August 28, 2007, 1:43 pm

“You would be surprised at the boring blogs they steal content from.” Are you implying gardeners publish boring blogs? πŸ˜‰ I know gardeners are not exempt. I know of several gardeners who were scraped or otherwise stolen from (including myself), both before and after this post was first published.

Lorelle August 28, 2007, 12:56 pm

Yes! Thanks for the link to Lorelle! πŸ˜€

And thank you for the kind words.

You are one of my heroines now. Anyone who blogs about protecting our copyrights makes the world a better place in my thinking.

Once you have published anything, be it in print or on the web, photographed it, recorded it, or set it in a “fixed” form, it is copyrighted according to US and international copyright laws. What you choose to do with it is up to you.

You can give it away. You can keep it totally for yourself. Or you can share it, but you have to define how much “sharing” is permitted, as part of the Fair Use aspect of copyright law.

Assume everything on the Internet is copyrighted. Ask first. That’s always the safest way to go.

Never assume your blog is safe. πŸ˜€ Scrapers and content thieves don’t care what your blog is about. They just want the content to stuff ads into and around. Some think they are doing the world a favor by scraping blog feeds to create mass collections of information (called aggregators), so they go after anything and everyone.

Gardeners are not exempt. You would be surprised at the boring blogs they steal content from. I’m always stunned when they take my stuff. I don’t think my stuff is that interesting to most people.

And thanks for speaking out on this very important issue! We need to spread the word.

Kathy Purdy October 20, 2006, 8:10 pm

Don, I don’t think anyone’s stolen anything off of mine, either. I’d like to think that the population of gardeners has less than the typical proportion of dirty, rotten thieves, but it probably just means not many shysters have figured out how to make money off of us yet.

Pam/Digging October 19, 2006, 9:54 am

Thank you for the link to Lorelle. Great information on protecting your content.

Don October 18, 2006, 11:55 pm

I just realized… what does it say about my blog, that nobody has stolen anything off of it?

Kathy Purdy October 16, 2006, 6:29 pm

I hope it helps you bring the problem to a quick and satisfactory resolution.

bill October 16, 2006, 5:11 pm

Thanks for the link. I’ve found some of my photos being used without my permission and have wondered how to deal with it. In some cases they were linking to my site and stealing my bandwidth as well as my photos.