Tuesday, March 15, 2011

THIS BLOG POST IS STOLEN

As Alex alluded to in a recent tweet (because we apparently have a Twitter page that I'm told you should check out), a number of our posts have been...re-posted, shall we say, on another blog. Without permission. If you're reading this post anywhere but Exfanding Your Horizons (exfanding.com) or our RSS feed, you're enjoying stolen goods.

As it clearly states on the bottom of our blog, "All original content on Exfanding Your Horizons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License." In other words, you are free to share our copyrighted work if you copy/paste it word-for-word, give us full credit, and use it for non-commercial purposes. And you know what? We're pretty laid-back people who probably won't mind whatever you're doing if you follow those rules.

Now, imagine our surprise when we discovered that another blog had pirated every post we've written since the end of February. Sure, many of the posts were news or links or fluff that anybody could've had on their blog, but some of them were very heartfelt and reflective, and dare I say personal. Granted, it's our own fault if we write about anything personal on this blog and it happens to leak out to the whole world, but it's a different story altogether if someone else tells your very meaningful story as though it were their own, with the large, looming space for advertisements in the sidebar that makes their true intentions clear.

These posts, which were once so fun and cathartic and impactful to us, now feel tainted. Imagine someone else posting your pictures of your kids from your blog on their website to make money off of your kids. It's unsettling, to say the very least, and it's the kind of paranoia-inducing situation that could drive people to any number of fearful, obsessive, or vicious reactions.

It's also a waste of our time. I had big plans of watching Star Trek, playing video games, and following up on yesterday's post about Mega Man 2, but that's all been put on hold to deal with this mess. But hey, at least I get a blog post out of it. And so does the Blog Thief.

[EDITOR: Alex feels the need to jump in here, and since I'm the editor--uh, I mean, the editor is Alex, he's...uh. Allowed to jump in. Right. Here's Alex's take on things.]

I have to say, when Nathaniel first alerted me to this, I wasn't that upset. I guess I was just consumed with work at the office, and the whole, "our blog posts are being stolen" thing didn't sink in the way it should have.

And I didn't think about it in terms like, "our writing is being taken; our ideas are being used by someone else; our personal thoughts, opinions, and emotions are being passed off as another's."

But then I started reading through the Thief's "blog," and I started to get angry.

I had a flashback to a couple of years ago, when I had to fight tooth and nail to keep my own intellectual property. That was not a fun time for me, and it caused me plenty of sleepless nights.

And here I am, just about two years later, and someone else--someone I don't know and don't care to ever know--is just taking my writing and Nathaniel's writing and...what?

He's posting it on his blog, as if the material came from his head. As if he lived the experiences that led us to write the words that he took.

And sure, as Nathaniel said, some of what's up on the Thief's site is fluff; filler posts that we cobbled together in ten minutes and tossed up here. But those were our ten minutes.

It shouldn't matter what was taken; it just matters that it was taken. Without our consent. I know this, and I hope you do, too.

Still, I'm all about the content, and there are a handful of posts that now reside on the Thief's site that are personal. And, boy, does that make it even worse.

If a common criminal (you know, the cowardly and superstitious kind that Batman's always talking about) were to break into a person's home, steal personal belongings, and run off into the night, the police would be called, yes?

Of course.

And people would say things like, "How horrible," and "What kind of person does that?"

But when something is stolen from a silly little blog and posted up on another site? Meh. "Nothing on the Internet is copyrighted--it's the Internet!"

Maybe there aren't people out there willing to fight for their stolen content--it's too much work, it's a fruitless endeavor.

Well, to the Blog Thief, just so you know.

My name is Alex and my buddy up there is Nathaniel. And we don't care how much work it takes.

We'll be in touch.

2 comments:

Stefano Wohsdioghasdhisdg said...

So, uh... did you guys ever catch the blog thief?

Flashman85 said...

Oh, we've got another post or two on the subject in the archives; you'll get to them soon enough...