If you spend any time on the Internet, and I suspect that because this is a blog that most of you do, you probably heard about the Cooks Source Kerfuffle last week. What happened? Well, a publication took, word for word, an article they found on the Internet, and they published it without talking with the author. That means that the author didn’t get paid and more importantly, didn’t give permission for their content to be published without their knowledge. That wasn’t the big deal. The big deal was the editor’s response when asked about the situation. The editor said something to the effect “Oh, we do this all the time. The web is public domain! Think of all the exposure you’re getting!”
It’s not. And the response from the Internet amounted to a pitchfork-wielding, torch-carrying mob. Why? Because really, we all work hard at this, and having our stuff taken without our knowledge isn’t called “Exposure,” it’s called “Misappropriation without Permission.” And it’s generally something that I get a little ticked about.
Ross Karchner, who works hard at DC Tech Events to keep a good calendar of what’s happening in DC’s amazing and burgeoning tech community, found out that another site was just stripping his stuff and republishing it as part of their content at Awesome DC. He had
a few words with one of their founders on Facebook (Update: The post has been removed), and it seems that their response is to say “Think of all the exposure you’re getting!”
More frustrating is that it seems that several other articles at Awesome DC seem to be lifted from other sources with minor rewrites. Now, the facts aren’t under copyright, and the story rarely has a lawyer to back it up, but is taking wholesale content without the author’s permission really a good idea? We’re hoping that Awesome DC will give some credit where credit’s due.
Update: Awesome DC has removed a few of the entries that were causing some of the issues, but that also deleted the conversation between their staff and Ross, which we’ve archived with Ross’ help below the cut.
Awesome DC has yet to respond to our request for comment.