The Internet is a funny place. People think they have license to do anything. Egos run rife. And ethical behaviour is often lacking.
Take a recent example.
I was surfing the web the other week and found a useful article. From reading that article I did a Google search and found the original article on a a great blog site. There were two articles that were great teaching tools so, rather than not attributing them as the original article failed to do, I included the article pretty much intact and quoted the source of the article with the link back to the original blog and article.
Compared to all the advice I receive (which is just steal the article and rewrite it a bit to make it your own) I believed it more ethical to attribute it.
So the owner of the original blog article leaves a terse comment on the 2 articles I attributed demanding the copyrighted articles be removed immediately.
No problem. I removed the posts, and asked how we could use their articles more appropriately.
The response? He referred me to a post supposedly about blogging protocols. Great – a responsive colleague. But no, he pointed me to a post he wrote slamming me for “stealing” his work and then flaming my editorial capabilities.
Now if you asked me if I’d be happy to find some of my work on someone else’s site then heck no. But if they were responsive and requested how to do business better then I think I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.
But then, I don’t have the ego some others do.
So here’s the deal.
If you want to use someone else’s article, ask them first. Even though most IM types will say just steal it and rewrite it as your own, I don’t agree with that. There’s too much shonky stuff being done on the web already – ever notice those sites that are full of badly written articles you see on many other sites or comments that are so canned they bear no relationship to the post they are commenting!
Me? I don’t believe in trashing other people. I’m all for assuming people are trying to do the right thing and I’m happy to help those who are prepared to learn.