FRIEND FRIDAY: Blogger copying – theft or inspiration?

November 19, 2010 § 2 Comments

Does blogger copying it count as theft of another bloggers ideas, or is it simply being inspired by another blogger? Where can you draw the line in the sand on this topic, especially when there isn’t any blogger copyright code that all bloggers follow. Since blogging, although no longer in its infancy, still doesn’t have any normalized ethics code, its a never-ending conversation. And one of the main topics of concern is how much of a blogger’s ‘original content’ actually original, or is all blogging simply replicating what others are doing?

1. What are the ‘unwritten rules’ about copying content that we bloggers should all abide by?

Personally as a blogger, I like to make sure that all the content that I am using is properly sourced. Maybe its something all my teachers and professors have hammered into my head, but using something without quoting the source is plagiarism, thus stealing. That also means that even if I’m inspired by something else or am doing something that is based off of the work of another (whether it be from a magazine, tv show, artist or blog), credit must be given where credit is due. Also, with the amount of viewers and users of the internet, its impossible for you to steal something from another website, blog, author, magazine etc without at least one person noticing. Keep your credibility and just source it!

2. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But when is it a post imitation and when is it copying?

In my opinion post imitation and copying are the same thing if credit isn’t being given to the original creator of the idea or image. And while the saying goes that imitation is the highest form of flattery, to me imitation without crediting is the opposite – It is a lack of respect for the original author. If you feel inspired very literally by something from someone else, credit whomever you were inspired by, and then your imitation is respectful flattery, not rude theft.

3. Taking another blogger’s idea (perhaps for an outfit, or DIY tutorial) is pretty common in the blogging world. Do you think it is necessary to credit the original source?

I think credit should always be given to the original source. Blogging at present has very little in the way of a code of ethics acknowledged web-wide, and because there is a lack of this, ideas can pass easily from one blog to another without the true source being credited. I think as a whole, blogging would have more respect if there was some type of guideline that bloggers had to follow in regards to posting the ideas of others. A blogging accreditation society perhaps?

4. How have you improved your blog by comparing it to other bloggers? Have you made changes due to something you have seen others doing?

I haven’t been maintaining this blog for very long, but even before I publishing my first post I did do a lot of research with other blogs. I looked at elements in other blogs that I personally respect and enjoy reading, and debated whether these would be something I wanted to incorporate into my blog. However there is a huge difference between being inspired by the DIY section of another blogger and attempting to pass off one of their DIYs on my blog as my own. However, some elements on people’s blogs are so generally used, such as daily outfit posts, clothing hauls and styling guides, that the incorporation of these elements doesn’t need to be sourced, as its unlikely that the originator of the idea isn’t even known.

I haven’t made many changes to the blog as of yet, however one of the first major changes I have made would be incorporating this FBFF section into my blog after seeing it on blogs like Grit and Glamour. However, I added this section in the proper manner, by applying to join the Google Group and being accepted, not by simply copying the questions off of a fellow blogger’s blog and providing my own answer. As I’m sure is clear, the former is respectable, the second is plagiarism.

5. Have you ever had one of your posts copied by another blogger or publication? How did you handle the situation?

I haven’t had this happen as of yet, but I can imagine how I would feel. The feeling of pride that someone thought my writing was good enough to use somewhere use would be fleeting, quickly replaced by a feeling of being cheated and disrespected by whoever had decided to use the original content that I have worked hard on and passing it off as their own without more work than a quick control+c and control+v (or command+c, command+v for you Mac users).

All original content that someone else has worked hard to produce should be respected, as should the author’s right to only distribute their work where they see fit. Use some sort of creative copyright for your work, like the ones from Creative Commons.

This is the first Fashion and Beauty Friend Friday that I’m participating in, hope everyone appreciates my insight into this week’s topic. I want to hear your opinions too in the comments!

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§ 2 Responses to FRIEND FRIDAY: Blogger copying – theft or inspiration?

  • Roberta says:

    this post is really interesting!! I think it’s difficult to draw the line between copyng and being inspirating. Even very important fashion brands have designed alike clothes…who has copy who…one can say the details make the difference…very delicate issue

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