Blogging, Copyright, & Free Distribution
If you blog, do you blog only to convey information to your readers? Or do you blog so that others may freely copy and distribute your material?
I ask because, to date, it has been a vexed question to me. As the author of a number of books published over the past twenty-five years, my experience has been that of the real world (as opposed to the cyber world). In addition, I have been employed, for the past twelve years, as Copyright Manager for a publishing company and, in the next few days, I shall be writing a post on Copyright to accompany this one.
For now, I want only to look at the question of how this has affected my view of blogging. Like most website owners, I have placed assumed copyright restrictions on my blogs. By ‘assumed’ I mean that I have a copyright declaration on my Home page which applies to the entire content of my site.
That seemed reasonable to me. After all, when you’ve slogged away at researching and writing an article, and you want to encourage visitors to return to your site again and again, you don’t really want your material to be reproduced by anyone else. Do you?
Or do you not?
This has been my thinking for the eighteen months I have been blogging. Yet throughout that time, I have also been writing posts for EzineArticles, an excellent site which allows the free distribution of its contributors’ material. YOUR material. And MINE!
The purpose of such sites is to bring referrals to your own site. By that I mean that visitors reading your posts on EzineArticles will – you hope – want to click on the links in your by-line, or resource box, and thus become one of the ‘referred’ statistics on your web analytics. In addition, third-party websites are required to display your by-line and back links to your site, thus providing further referrals.
THIRD PARTY WEBSITES
Obviously, like me, the contributors to such sites are aware of this. We’re aware, too, of the knock-on effect of third party users, who reproduce our posts on their own websites. I, for instance, have a fairly substantial portion of my articles appearing on other blogs – sometimes, in fact, the same article may appear on several third party blogs.
So why have I not allowed visitors to my own website to reproduce my material? It simply doesn’t make sense, does it?
I can only think that, because of my experience as an author, I have been blinkered all this time. Consequently, I am now in the process of changing the ethos of my website, though my dual aims remain the same:
- To resource, inform, inspire and encourage my readers in the realms of article writing and blogging; creative writing; writing and publishing a book; bereavement; and relationships.
- Through money raised by purchasers of my books, to bring “hope to the hurting”: children affected or orphaned by HIV / AIDS; and, through education projects, to secure the future of teenagers who might otherwise be caught up in drugs.
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
What I’m changing are the copyright restrictions I once placed on my material. I’ve been doing a bit of research on the subject. And I was interested to read, in an article on Facebook titled Free Flow of Information on the Internet, the following statement:
“The free flow of information doesn't mean that every piece of information is available to everyone; it means that people can share information as they like with exactly the people they would like.”
Well – I’ve decided that YOU – whoever you are – are exactly the people with whom I’d like to share my information. As a result - as the site map for Article Writing & Blogging shows - my posts will, in future, bear a message beneath them. Those which, because of constraints placed on them by publishing Rights, may not be freely used, and those which form part of a series, and may not be duplicated, will either contain no explicit statement, or (when I get around to it) will say so quite clearly.
However, the bulk of my blogs (including this one) will, in future, carry the following statement beneath them.