Some thoughts on intellectual property

Several friends pointed me to some valuable information and advice regarding my recent experience with “blog content theft”–mahalo to Keola Donaghy, Ron Ching,  and Rich Shipley for links! So I will start with a quote from Lorelle VanFossen, who writes an excellent blog, “Lorelle on WordPress.”

Just because information in on the internet does not mean itʻs “free” to take and steal. Information, images, graphics, designs, and photographs, all are protected under copyright laws and are known as intellectual property. While it is nice to think that everything on the internet is or should be free, for the most part it is. It is free to read, look at, wonder about, and even write about. It is not free to steal, make money from it, or use it as your own. (From the page “What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content;” the added emphasis is mine.)

Please note that I just did two things: 1) I quoted an entire paragraph from Lorelleʻs blog; AND 2) I  credited Lorelle as the author of this passage. The link back to Lorelleʻs blog allows you to check it out yourself. It also allows you to verify that Iʻm using Lorelleʻs paragraph legitimately–pono–under the provision of “fair use” in section 107 of the Copyright law. (Click here for another independent and informative discussion of “Fair Use.”)

In another post, “The Growing Trends in Content Theft” (posted on April 11, 2006), Lorelle writes the following: “Stealing content directly off your site or blog and posting it on another blog . . . is the most common method of content theft.” And:

There is a growing and real concern that site and blog feeds are being used to totally replace any original content. Some crafty website owners are using multiple feeds to pull information from other sites into their own, making it look like the site has an interesting and original collection of content, when it is actually stolen without permission from other sites. . . . The issue of content theft arises when this is done without your knowledge or permission using the full content. [emphasis added]

And there we have it folks. On the splog (I learned a new term, and now so can you all, dear readers! itʻs a shorthand for “spam blog”) at KALEIMAILEALII <dot> NET, all content is being pulled from multiple sites, not just my blog. I know for myself, that my content is there without my permission. And before last week when I discovered this, my content was posted there without my knowledge. I located 36 of my posts, dating back to fall 2009, reproduced in full at that splog site.

So–to take my posts in their entirety, and post them somewhere else without my knowledge and permission, and to make it look like someone other than me authored that content, well, that is theft. It is theft of my labor that has gone into gathering the information, then trying to understand what it all means, and then organizing it all into something readable for you, dear readers.

I am so very happy that you all, dear readers, find some value in visiting this blog, and decide to take some time out of your lives to peruse what I am offering freely. I am very flattered when you refer others to drop by and read my musings.

Over the course of the life of “Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure,” I have come to see this blog as an outlet for the many tidbits I have gathered over three decades of research. (Gulp. Iʻm old. But yes, dear readers, it has been three decades since I began sleuthing as a mele detective.) I smile when I think sometimes of this blog as “a home for the bits and pieces that are probably not going to find a home in my book projects.”

I am committed to continuing to share my passion for all things Hawaiian music and hula. This experience has taught me some valuable lessons on the need to protect my work (see the copyright notices?), and to stand up and speak out when hewa–offence, crime–has occurred. I hope that you will also be willing to speak out when you see this kind of content theft happening. It will help greatly to ensure that information continues to flow, and that bloggers like me will continue to share freely. Mahalo!

© 2011 Amy Ku‘uleialoha Stillman. All Rights Reserved

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