So far I thought that the problem of plagiarism was something that plagued the print or the Net. But now it has invaded our personal space within the blogosphere. Somehow I thought it was something that didn’t touch me. But alas, I have been ripped! My original work – that is all turns of phrase that I sweat over – all sentence structures that are passionately worked on, all original ideas – has been at the mercy of some incompetant fool (not the Shakespearean one) whose idea of originality is superfluous at best and non-exsistent at worst.
I agree that the Net is a nebulous place where copyright and copyleft (I will talk about this later) are not clearcut. I guess that’s where the Creative Commons License comes into the picture. But what use is a license like that in certain situations? For example, this guy, also a blogger, ripped off my profile description and some other blogger’s complete blog entry. And added a Creative Commons License to his blog. This means that while his blatantly copied material is protected, my original material is not. What is going on here? Why can’t people respect another person’s work? I’m talking about blogging alone here. Music, text, movies lend themselves to a longer discussion which perhaps can be done later.
What can be called as plagiarism? What are the ethics involved in borrowing and sharing original work? Can one person copy another person’s without their knowledge or acknowledgement? Can a blogger have some rights over what he/she has written and posted? What is the extent to which Anu Malik-esque copying can be passed off for “inspiration”? There are so many questions. I think that bloggers should make an effort to be original. I mean what is the point of having a blog with bits and pieces copied from other blogs? What will that be called? A patchwork blog? Another thing, bloggers if they are using material from other blogs should acknowledge it by giving a link back to the original blogger’s post. Amardeep Singh does that admirably. Images are another issue. It would be great if copyright free images could be obtained. And if and when images are used, a disclaimer should follow it.
While many of these questions cannot be answered, one thing can be made clear. No matter what the situation is, no copying and pasting posts or profiles. I suppose it is not clear to anybody but if you are copying either a profile or a post, you are just indicating that you have nothing original to say, (which though might be perfectly true) you should make an effort. Writing and thinking are not easy, I agree but that’s ok. There’s always a place and time to start.
So, bloggers, what do you have to say?