Tuesday, August 17, 2010
While we're in this discussion of copy-rights and -wrongs, I would like to grab that opportunity to talk about bloggoleechification. The word doesn't exist. In fact, I made sure before I wrote this that a Google search for bloggoleechification turns up zero hits. Now that I published this post, the word will technically exist on the internet, and future Google searches will find it. And if you do that Google search in 48 hours, you will get quite a number of hits. Many of which will point to websites which are not tobolds.blogspot.com or www.tobold.com. For lack of a better word, I call these other websites the leeches. They take content from popular blogs, and repost it together with some advertising, in the hope of making some money from the creation of others. I'm not talking about bloggers or game websites taking up an idea from another blogger and adding their own thoughts and commentary to it. I'm talking about websites with a script which does nothing but copy and paste the content of others with no selection or added input. They will even copy this post in which I call them leeches. And by that Google search for bloggoleechification you can find them.
Of course the leeches do not cause me any financial damage. The income of this blog from Paypal donations in the last couple of months was exactly $0, and that wouldn't be any different if my content wasn't copied elsewhere. Many of the leeches aren't even technically stealing, as I do allow the copying of my content under the condition that it comes with a link back to me. Nevertheless the bloggoleechification of mine and other people's content is something which raises some ethical questions. Is it fair if a blogger creates content for free, on a site without advertising, and then somebody comes and copies that content onto a site with advertising, and makes money from that? Even if authors on the internet often don't have the means to enforce copyright, and thus don't bother with it, don't they at least have some moral rights to their creations?