If you are on Twitter and you follow some of the more popular people on twitter (BrentO, PaulRandal, SQLInsaneo, myself, etc) you’ll probably have noticed a sh*t storm of tweets about a certain blog which was plagiarizing information from lots of places including places like Microsoft’s TechNet and MSDN sites, SearchSQLServer.com, and several blogs.
After the blogger in question (Peter) removed all his SQL content (no idea if it was all plagiarized or just some was and taking it all down was easier) everything settled down a bit.
Later that day Todd McDermid posted a blog post giving a bit of an overview of today’s events and his opinions about the plagiarism and our reaction to it.
Before I continue I want to say that I fully respect Todd and his opinions on the subject, even though I don’t agree with them. Anyone willing to sit around and write for other people’s education for little or no money deserves to be respected.
Now as for the DMCA style take down nasty grams (and I like that way better then take down notices for some reason) there are other issues at play than just our giving information away to everyone.
For example, if you dig through Microsoft’s TechNet and MSDN sites there’s plenty in there which says that you can’t republish the information posted without written consent.
As for my articles which were plagiarized, the company which paid for those articles to be written (I’m assuming that it comes as no shock to anyone that people are paid to write articles for websites and magazines) owns the copyright on those articles for as long as they choose to enforce them. Some companies hold a lifetime exclusive on the articles, while others hold a shorter one.
Either the blogger in question or not was aware of the law on plagiarism or not, but he states on his website that he’s a college graduate. Pretty much every college will toss you out for plagiarizing other peoples works, and the students are well aware of it. He should have assumed that in the professional world that plagiarizing was still unacceptable.
Unfortunately for Peter there is a lot of information out there which can be freely read and referenced, but not copied. This blog would be included in that. For those of you reading this on SQLServerPedia.com it took a decent amount of work to get permission to post my blog posts up on the SQLServerPedia.com blog feed. Why did it take so long? Well because I don’t own the copyright to these blog posts. I write on behalf of Tech-Target and they own the copyright to anything and everything which I post on my blog, unless I have posted it somewhere else first (and then they still own the rights to the version on their site).
Would I like to have everyone be able to read what I write? The big reason that I spend so much time writting (especially this last month) is so that people can read it. I have information to share, and hopefully people find the information that I have useful. But a the copyright ownership of information has to be respected for web based articles just like it does for SQL Server Magazine, TechNet Magazine, etc.
These are my thoughts and opinions, on today’s events. Take them for what they are worth, god knows I’m no copyright lawyer. Please feel free to post your own here, on twitter, on Todd’s post (no registration required on his blog, unlike here) or your own blog if you have one.