Don’t Steal This Blog Post: Let it Inspire You

I certainly agree with Rich’s post [link] that we are the sum of our experience and that we are influenced by everything around us....I  disagree with using the word “steal”. It’s been said that because of social media that we are all content providers working for free.  The web seems full of people desperate to wave a metaphorical flag to be noticed.  And we’ll grab that ‘flag’ wherever we find it.

Here is an example: I ‘found’ a funny video.  I ‘embedded’ it on my site [http://tiny.cc/Q6DE8] and I shared that link on a social media site.

I received this comment almost immediately:

“High-larious and yes I will be stealing it and posting it as my own!!! :-)”

Okay...I was pleased that they enjoyed it...but felt weird about them ‘stealing’ it.

Sure...I ‘found’ it somewhere and posted it on my blog...so why shouldn’t someone else post it?

But where is the line between 'post' and 'steal'?

What is ‘ownership’ and where does it get blurry enough for you or me to ‘steal’ it?

Consider Google’s plight this week:

An Italian court has ruled that Google is responsible for damages resulting from a video that was uploaded to their server.  Google said that they could not be responsible for all content uploaded and that their policy to remove any content that is identified as inappropriate.

If this sounds familiar, it should.  It’s the same argument that Napster made years ago about its file sharing service.

Napster told the court that they would remove all material that was identified as inappropriate.  Napster even guaranteed that they could remove 99% of all copyrighted material.  The court ruled that it was not enough.  Napster said that why didn’t the court rule against copy machines, the owners could not guaranteed they wouldn’t be used to duplicate copyrighted material.

The court did not budge and Napster became a piece of history overnight.

That was before web Two-Dot-Oh.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Google.

A few years ago Sony said that if you copy a song from a Sony music CD onto your computer then you’ve only made one illegal copy.

So...don’t steal this blog entry.    Don’t steal.  Be inspired.

To learn more about copyright laws visit the site of Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig [http://lessig.org/].  You can download his books in text form and audio free...as long as you don’t use them for ‘commercial use’.

You see how this belongs on an improv blog?