Plagiarism, Splogs and Fair Use of Web Content

Elinor Mills has an article on CNET.com (and also in the NY Times) called “Please Don’t Steal This Web Content” that I recommend to anyone who publishes materials on the Web. Elinor talked to me during her preparation and there are some small quotes from me in the article, briefly summarizing some basic legal points.
The money quote, from Matt Cutts of Google:

For sites that syndicate their content through feeds, adding a link to the original source of the article at the top or the bottom of a page with wording to the effect of “this article was originally printed here” will help ensure that Google’s search engine displays the original item, not a reproduction, on a scraped site, [Cutts] said.

I like that quote because it validates the technique I decided to adopt quite a while ago as the best practical defense against splogs and automatic “repurposing” of my posts.
In response to the article, John Palfrey made some excellent points in his post “CNET Touches on Blogs and Copyright Issue“about how it’s difficult to believe that there’s still so much uncertainty and such a lack of workable enforcement or compensation mechanisms. It’s something that more of us should be thinking about. I’ve wished for a few years that Creative Commons would take more of a lead role in the practical aspects, but maybe it’s time to look in other directions.
Denise Howell makes a similar point here when she writes: “I have long thought Creative Commons moves us significantly closer to this third estate media ecosystem, but doesn’t quite take us all the way there.”
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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