Though common sense and copyright law should be enough, I guess I have to say it: All Rights Reserved on all written material at http://juliedemboski.wordpress.com https://askjulie.wordpress.com and http://dogandsunflower.wordpress.com and on any illustrations by me. No Creative Commons Licenses have been granted for any of my sites. Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for any and all permissions; brief excerpts of one paragraph or less with live link allowed without specific permission (in fact, I thank you for thinking enough of what I say to quote me!) Despite this policy, there are still a handful of persons who consistently disrespect my wishes and my work by copying entire posts without permission and pasting them into forums and their own sites (and leaving out one, two, or even three paragraphs, or a portion of one, does not mean you’ve not violated my request). I am not amused.
It seems to me that in an age where access to and easy duplication of others’ material is at our fingertips, there needs to be a firm recognition that intellectual property is no different than material property. The misunderstanding is not about attribution (though that’s certainly important) or whether the person taking the material is profiting, but about what copyright really means: that the creator or other rights holder retains control over the subject material. It is the copyright holder’s prerogative to decide where and how his or her creation is used, not the right of even the most well-meaning reader or enthusiast. The argument is made that this is free positive pr, that traffic is driven to the individual’s site, and that the internet is meant to be a free-for-all in terms of information sharing. To the first two points I must answer that these instances result in very little traffic or positive feedback/ new clients or sales–typically viewing from a forum or website posting amounts to far less than 1% of the traffic for the day (and in fact this is how I discover these postings in the first place; ones without attribution, outright theft, in other words, usually go undiscovered). The truth is, I’m not looking for publicity, though I can’t speak for others on this point. And as to the internet being a no-barriers no ownership of material place, I find this attitude to exist only in persons who lack a grasp of the need to protect the creative rights of artists and creators of all kinds so that they can indeed not only control their creations but profit from them, and thereby be enabled to continue to produce. I personally provide a great deal of free material to readers, and I believe it should be my choice when and how these are offered to others.
I could say a lot more on this, but I find it discouraging to have to address this issue; lovely individuals who would not think of stealing something from a retail store happily steal from a website. Please think carefully before taking any material from anyone without permission, and have a firm understanding of the concepts of intellectual property ownership before using others’ material. And frankly, if you must nab more than two paragraphs to make your point, then perhaps you fail to think as succinctly as you should–meaning the appropriate place for expression is a simple link back to the material that excited you and made you think in the first place.