The Honking Goose

something to honk about

steal this post

Remember Steal This Book? A book about social and political activism, written by Abbie Hoffman, it was titled Steal This Book. Well, I am offering up something far less valuable for theft if you so desire. That is this blog post, or any other post on my blog.

I write this stuff. It’s formulated in my unique mind and I use skills I learned in school and in life to record and pass along information to the best of my ability. I could attempt to copyright or protect it in some way. If my writing was valuable enough, I would copyright it and publish it in hard copy, in a book or magazine or newspaper. But these posts on my blog are just one-offs. Throwaway thoughts that would be forgotten if I didn’t record them somewhere.

Sometimes I’m sharing thoughts and opinions that I think will be valuable to someone else. In which case, feel free to use and spread, without attribution to me. I am merely a vessel, not an original source, anyway. Everything I am or have thought of originated somewhere else. I saw Arlo Guthrie live in concert once. He said writing a song was, for him, like fishing. Metaphorically, he would cast his line and pull something back from the stream of the Universe. And that would be a song. I’m sure he copyrights his work, but that is not my point.

I am doing a shit job of expressing my point. I know.

I’ve seen many blogs with a statement of copyright on the page. That is all well and fine if you feel so strongly that you must print your words online, in public, and then implore the public to not misuse or steal your words without proper attribution. That is your right to do so.

But saying it won’t make it so. If someone wants to steal they will. And theft of online content is so absurdly easy, most people feel it barely counts as stealing. Is it wrong? In many cases, yes. But there is a lot of grey area.

Octobear from Alphabear game text reads Man, this iffy defenses really hurts

I would caution people away from relying on copyright law to protect their online published works. Laws work because most people agree to abide by them. There is nothing inherent in a written law that changes the ability to keep or break that law. It only changes the repercussions for doing so. And copyright of online published content, especially for very marginal works, does not carry much weight in the real world. It would be very difficult to recover damages associated with theft of such material.

For these reasons, I deliberately embrace the idea that my online published content is unprotected and free to anyone.

Want to copy and paste my words or images under your own name? Go right ahead. I put it online, that is all the invitation you need, as far as I’m concerned.

What do you think? How important is it to you to protect your online content?

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25 comments on “steal this post

  1. I added the copyright notice to my site after I found a number of people on facebook posting my stories and conversations as their own – same format, same heading, even – as if it had happened between them and their spouse. Which was so creepy and violating that I had to walk away from all social media for a few days. I still wasn’t sure what to do until we found someone ELSE who had posted a bunch as her own, and that thief had all of her friends telling her she was so funny and she should write a book.

    So I guess that’s my line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 11, 2017

      Did the plagiarism stop after you added the copyright notice?

      Like

      • I’ve not found any new cases, which means that they’ve either stopped or they’re at least making their posts private. In my case, it’s not intended to have any real legal weight, but to remind people that it’s my actual life they’re reading about, and that I will judge them to be super gross, creepy people if they steal parts of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. em4mighty
    January 7, 2017

    have you read “how to steal like an artist”? its good. we all borrow from each other & are influenced by someone…but it is important to say “thank you” & give credit. i am not too worried about someone stealing my stuff. i’m pretty sure i could prove it was mine if it came down to it. and i have borrowed from lots of sources and will gladly admit it & give credit where credit is due. every day is an inspiration. maybe i am an idealist, but i would rather live in a world of open sharing & appreciation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 9, 2017

      “have you read “how to steal like an artist”? ”
      That sounds vaguely familiar. I think the Gander has mentioned it.

      “maybe i am an idealist, but i would rather live in a world of open sharing & appreciation”
      That sounds better to me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eugenia
    January 7, 2017

    IMO, the copyright wording is just a deterrent. If my work is copied, then I would like to be credited. However, if an author’s work is published for profit, I feel it should be registered and copyrighted.

    Recirculating ideas can’t be helped but copy/paste is outright plagiarism.

    Respect the work of others as you would want them to respect yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 9, 2017

      That is completely reasonable. I just want to be realistic about how reasonable the world actually is, in practice.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wendy
    January 6, 2017

    I’d like to be given credit for what I write, draw, paint, take a photo of…ect. yes you can use it. Don’t even have to ask, but give me credit. I work hard on my creations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 9, 2017

      If that was always the case that someone would be credited when their work was shared, it would always be beneficial to share and publish online. That would be fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wendy
        January 9, 2017

        I think that’s the way it should be. Share, keep sharing, just give credit to the creator. Share the love. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. S.T.M. Civil
    January 6, 2017

    Interesting question. I’ve never felt the need to copyright. As I feel that no self-respecting plagiarist, irrespective of how base or desperate, would choose to lift such doggerel.

    But I understand why people register their work. Now if I ever get the notion to novel…I’ll make note that I did so in every legal way possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yonni's Wacky Workshop
    January 6, 2017

    I thought the whole reason for blogging was to get others to share your thoughts… I blog to share products and hope that others share my links! 😜👍

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Elyse
    January 6, 2017

    You know, I have one of those copyright things on my sidebar. But really, I don’t care either.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. TheOriginalPhoenix
    January 6, 2017

    I fully understand that a copyright image in the footer can only go so far. People can definitely copy paste if that’s what they intend. There are others things you can do like there’s this service in google that you can sign up for to track your content to see if it’s been published elsewhere. You can always file copyright if you actually registered with DMCA as well.

    I think it’s more of a personal thing how far people go. The way I see it, my blog is so personal and contingent on my experiences and past posts, that copy pasting would take things out of context and it wouldn’t be so appealing.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. insanitybytes22
    January 6, 2017

    Ah, interesting perspective. I believe people own their own words, but we don’t own ideas. So if someone takes an idea and runs with it, that’s wonderful. The ideas, they circulate and that’s a good thing. I also like the saying, flatter me with your plagiarism. Of course, we aren’t talking about money here. Steal my words and make money off of them, and that’s a whole other matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 9, 2017

      I don’t make money off my words. So if someone else did, that would mean they were doing something different than what I do, something marketable somehow. That would impress me.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. latskojerry
    January 6, 2017

    I’m not doing this for money (good thing,eh?) but if I was I might feel differently but for me it’s like my car, you want to try to steal it? Go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. nkdwhtguy
    January 6, 2017

    I wonder how many bloggers actually apply and register their work for copyright protection? Or do most merely state that their posts are copyrighted? I guess it depends on the intent of the writer, especially if they are seeking publishing for profit.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thehonkinggoose
      January 9, 2017

      My haunch is that if one takes the time and $ to register a copyright, that person would not then turn around and publish online. Just a guess.

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2017 by in Blogging and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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