The other morning I awoke and said to myself, "Self, you need a million bucks." After breakfast, I waltzed down to the local bank. I slipped into the vault and managed to grab a million bucks while no one was paying attention. Quietly, I slipped out of the vault and made it home with the money.
- The money was there for the taking, as evidenced by my ability to go and take it.
- I plan to donate some of the money to charity.
- Worst-case: If the bank wants the money back, they'll send me an email or call and I will return it.
Your objections could be as follows:
- "It wasn't your money."
- "Doing good with something you stole doesn't mitigate the crime of stealing."
- "You stole from others, returning the money after you're caught doesn't mitigate theft."
You would be correct on all counts.
And yet, this is precisely what bloggers who copy content do and how they (apparently) think. They copy the ideas and material of others, using copy and paste or by typing (or in worst cases, scraping), transcribing the ideas and thoughts of others in whole or in part, onto their websites - for which they receive cred (or in worst cases, for which they charge access). It's happened to Brent Ozar (Blog | @BrentO), me, and others.
If you didn't think it up, it's not your content. How hard is that? If you copy, paste, or scrape words written by others, you are stealing.
"No, I'm helping." No, you're stealing. If you truly want to help, stop stealing. It's annoying. I (and others) have to spend time we would otherwise spend blogging - which truly helps others - running down your stolen posts, writing you emails about taking them down, and filing DMCA requests (or, after you've made enough money, filing a class-action copyright-infringement suit).
I recently read a disclaimer on a website that copied material from Brent and others (Brent did a cool series on combating plagarism in November 2010...). The disclaimer, paraphrased, read something like:
If you want me to remove material I copied from your site, notify me and I will take it down immediately.
No. Wrong. If I stole a million bucks from the bank, I committed a crime at that instant. If the police show up, sirens blaring and guns drawn, I no longer have the option of saying "Oopsie, my bad. Here's the money back." Likewise, when you copy my thoughts and paste them onto your website, you have stolen from me. Insisting that I take action in the wake of your crime is offensive.
As a consumer of online information, it's important to distinguish the credibility and capability of the source. If you can't figure out it's wrong to plagarize, what else have you not figured out? I honestly don't need your "help".
Plagarism is wrong. It will come to no good end. Post your own thoughts because:
- It's legal;
- It's moral;
- It's the right thing to do.
Stop stealing my stuff