Yesterday in #wordpress I was talking to someone who was publishing the work of others on their site. The person’s name doesn’t matter. Their site was apparently ‘okay’ being sponsored by Reuters though with WordPress having had ‘sponsored’ themes that word isn’t as clean. What was actually happening was that the work of others was being taken and displayed on another site.
This post should appear in a feed. That’s where I know it will be and where I suspect most bloggers expect their work to stay too. If you take my work and display it on your site then you are not simply giving me an extra link back – you are stealing my work because you intend to use my work to boost your site. I checked one blog from this site – it had the word Copyright in the sidebar and on every single post. Yet the site it was being displayed on did so under a CC license. Another blog had no copyright information but the same CC license was being used. It was a blanket license with no regard to the incoming work.
Something else I noticed – of the 10 or so links I checked, not a single one was a WordPress blog. This means that (a) WP bloggers are not very good at global issues or (b) the incoming links in the dashboard would give them away. My money is with the latter. I also checked to see if these blogs had a notice that they were proud to have been selected to have their work shown on a site sponsored by Reuters. They had no such information. So the bloggers involved have no clue at all that their work was being taken and displayed elsewhere.
The site owner will argue that the blogger gets a link and gets traffic. As the blogger is not being told about their work being shown elsewhere they are not in a position to make a judgement are they? So that argument is nonsense and used to justify their actions.
The site having no ads is not a claim for good. In fact I think if it had ads it would be more honest. Whoever set this up wants more work, they want this site to enhance their reputation and they are currently using the work of others to do that. So saying there are no ads and therefore no gain is at best disingenuous and at worst plain lying.
The fact that the aim of the site was to raise awareness and do good is of no importance. It’s still wrong to take without knowledge. Fact is that Reuters have strict usage policies on their output (“All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.”), so why is a blogger of less importance?
Strange that the parent site does acknowledge contributions – http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/for-bloggers but that this site only links to ‘some’ – http://voiceswithoutvotes.org/blogs/.
Here’s what should happen.
The site asks blogger for permission to use certain posts.
The blogger is then being acknowledged as the owner of their work.
The blogger knows that certain posts will be getting a wider audience so may actually produce better posts.
The blogger gets the chance to set their own license.
The blogger gets the chance to link directly to the other site.
The blogger gets a buzz from knowing their work is deemed to be good enough to be added.
The overall project gets more links, more traffic, more visibility.
Total cost of the above? “Hi, I’d love to use some of your posts on our site…”
Make a proper contributors page – hardly a lot of work but makes people feel even better.
It would probably enhance the site and the person behind it even more.
You’d think that a site such as this would do the right thing … http://voiceswithoutvotes.org