Compliment or Kleptomania?
A tip I give clients for finding topics to write about for e-letters and blogs is to take ideas from daily headlines and put their own POV on them.
For those of us who spend a great deal of time thinking about topics to write about, researching topics to write about and then actually sitting and writing, plagiarism sucks. When you take original thought and add value to it, that’s Kosher. When there’s wholesale appropriation of someone else’s work, that’s embezzlement.
When I was a journalism student in the late 70s, it went without saying that you’d be run out of town on a rail if you were caught stealing someone else’s work–forget about hoping ever to work as a reporter or broadcaster. As recently as 2003, Jayson Blair was given a career-ending opportunity to resign from the New York Times for his repeat offenses of plagiarism and fabrication.
But somehow the Web is the Wild West. I can’t count anymore the number of times my writing as a “citizen journalist” has been stolen and reappeared on other websites (I already know I’m a damn good writer). I’ve even had my alter ego, The Database Diva, stolen by a wannabe in another state (like I don’t know how to do a Google Alert ON MY OWN NAME???) It’s infuriating to realize that otherwise *normal*-acting members of human society suddenly lose their ethics gene when they connect to the Internet.
I know it’s a rampant problem because here’s an example that happened to one of my favorite sites.
A few months ago I gave a talk on how businesses can use social networking to get more referrals. To explain the concept of social networking to my relatively low-tech audience, I purchased rights to use this under-2-minute video from Common Craft, one of the most innovative training companies (and one I’ve talked about before in this blog). Then, this week, as I was researching something completely off-topic, I found this video.
Compliment? Or Kleptomania?
I sent the video to Common Craft owner, Lee LeFever, who told me, “I appreciate you pointing out the video – it does seem that they lifted some of the ideas and script from the Social Networking video. It’s disappointing to see, but they did take it in some new directions.”
Whatayagonnado? But still.
What’s your take on this “creative license?” Have you had any of your work stolen online? How did you handle it?