Thursday, January 19, 2006

Interesting Discovery

I subscribe to google alerts, which allows them to send me notices anytime a key word I select is found on a Web site for the first time. One of the key words I designated is my own name. this allows me to see if my writings appear anywhere with or without my consent.

Today I discovered three of my articles on five different sites—without my consent. This violates copyright law. They didn't just pull quotes from my articles, they were used the articles in theirentiretyy. One even used the copyright symbol. WRONG.

At first, I admit, it was flattering to see them use my material-at least they gave me a byline. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. It is comparable to being robbed, if you think about it.

Also, one article disputed some of my points, without giving me the courtesy of letting me explain my point of view. It can't be a true debate when only one side engages in the dispute. They would be surprised to know the facts-because they assumed the wrong things!

I've discussed this copycat problem with other writers, and they say I need to notify the Web sites and nicely let them know they have violated copyright law. I'm almost fearful to do so, because if I'm too assertive, they could make my name MUD. Who can stop them? The Web is freedom of press at its "greatest."

All this got me to thinking about the few times I posted song lyrics here on my blog. Even though they seem to be public domain-they aren't. From now on, I won't post lyrics without the consent of the song writer. Instead I will point you to their Web sites, to read the lyrics there.

At times, I've been asked to give CD and book reviews. In those instances, consent has been given to me to discuss their work and to quote their writing.

But if in doubt, I will ASK first or abstain from using someone else's work without their permission!

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