Subject: Open letter to the ReBoot community
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 03:41:25 -0400
From: Clearsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Please consider posting this article on your website, as it addresses
a rather large problem in the ReBoot online community.
It has been run though a spellchecker, so no need to worry about spelling mistakes. Feel free to include my email address if people send you nasty letters (email@example.com). Please do not hesitate to send or forward this letter to others who you feel would also agree to post this on their website.
If you disagree with any of the points made within this letter, please do not hesitate to respond with your concerns.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
This is a note to all you ReBoot webmasters out there - be careful what
you put on your site, it may just get you in very deep
If you have grabbed pictures from another person's site just to put
them on your own, take a minute to think about what you're
doing. You are taking someone else's hard work and stealing it, then trying to pass it off as your own.
If you're going to copy something off a site for your own use, at least
let people know who REALLY created it! Put a name
and/or a link on each page where the item is displayed, giving credit to the maker of the item.
Such a notice is only proper and common courtesy - do you see any art websites displaying the works of Picasso and trying to pass the art off as their own work? No! They give credit where credit is due - the works of art created by people for their personal websites is no less a piece of art, and should be respected as such.
So you think simply adding a link to the maker's website on your 'Fav
Links' page is enough? Sorry, my friend, but it isn't. It's
more of an insult really, since hardly anyone bothers to visit the link page of every site they go to - why should they? A link page is usually the least updated, and most neglected.
If you don't know who created the maker of an image or item, then SAY SO. The original artist might actually send you an email asking that you put their name beside the item instead of demanding that you take the offending piece down.
If you're thinking of just direct-linking instead of copying the artwork
to your own site, think again. Direct-linking is when you
just put a link on your page supplying the location of the image off someone else's server - thereby forcing the artist to pay for the bandwidth every time YOUR page is loaded up.
For popular websites, this forces the monthly cost of the site up higher,
and can even force the shutdown of the original art
site. If you have a free website, then USE the space! The amount of space a single picture takes up is minimal, considering most free web accounts give you as much as 20 megs.
If you don't care about the artists, consider how dumb your own site will look after all your picture links are broken.
Likewise, if you create something original, put your name on it, or SAY that it's yours. How would you feel if you saw your work on someone else's site, with that person claiming your work as their own? You'd be pretty pissed off.. and rightfully so.
Think about how many things on your site were created by you - can you honestly say that you created the background? That you created your title banner? Or link buttons? Or email .gif? Or spacers? How much of your site did YOU actually create?
If the answer is 'none', then WHY don't you credit the people who spent
hours making those things? All it takes is a few more
keystrokes to type in a name and a link... we're not asking for a dollar every time you display something, we're not asking that you suck up to people, hell, we're not even asking that you LIKE us.. all we're asking for is respect.
Is that REALLY so much to ask for?
Don't think that this only applies for pictures - it doesn't.
I have seen entire pages copied from popular sites and placed on less well-known ones; I have seen something as easy to write as a DISCLAIMER copied word-for-word, right down to the base code, and pasted onto a small site's pages.
Some people might argue that they don't keep track of all the places
they get their backgrounds from, or title images from..
That's fine, not everyone does. But at least have the decency to NOT take the background off a highly visited site and put it on your own! It only serves to label you a copy-cat and a bad webmaster.
As for stories and fanfiction.. if you steal a story and place it on
your site, make sure you have the author's permission.
If you put it up withOUT permission, then refuse to remove the fanfic after the author asks you to take it down, be prepared for
an unofficial blacklisting. You will be lucky if your site survives another week, as authors are very protective of their work, and can involve the ISP on the basis of copyright infringement.
To make a long story short: don't do it. It's plagiarism.