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Excerpts from Easytraining
Insights Digital

Page 4 

All content copyright of Claire Belilos

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ISSN 1496-3361
Vol.1, Issue #12 - July 20, 2001
"Content" versus "Knowledge"
Copyright Infringement drives Experts Off the Net

" .............Please read carefully, on a regular basis, the terms and conditions of any online forum, web-based newsgroup, or any other web-based service you use or of which you are member.  Many of them have suddenly changed their terms and conditions or sold their services to new owners who have terms and conditions many people should be aware of, which brings us to the subject of this newsletter:  the voracious "hunger" for "free content".


The "Hunger for Content".  This is the new paradigm created in cyberspace. The many sites who invited articles, free membership, free discussion boards, free newsgroups, and you name it, suddenly reveal that they "own" the content or believe they do. Many of them changed their terms and conditions without your knowledge. Without paying much attention, many people "agreed" to their previous terms and conditions which said that the site (or service) can change its terms and conditions any time and that it is the user's responsibility to check for such changes. Others just sold out to new buyers who impose their "ownership" of anything submitted even previously, to which users had never agreed.   

Without the knowledge or approval of their "members" (users), owners of some online discussion forums and other services have given their "nod" of approval to have postings distributed indiscriminately to the mail boxes of people who pay to receive all these details containing your personal opinions, name, company name, address, and e-mail, when you thought that these were read only by the registered members of that group.  For example yahoo groups took over egroups and onelist. They inherited all the previous postings of newsgroups and newsletters distributions egroups and onelist. Their new terms state that they own all "content" on its site, can distribute it, translate it and publish it worldwide (even in print). Suddenly, without your knowledge whatever you say or do is broadcast and published worldwide for profitable purposes by different people and companies.

Needless to say that the above trend has led to a diminishing of valuable contributions on such newsgroups.  Many people who used to be active on the web either dropped out of the list or remained on as "observers", not wishing to have their every word published by unknowns to unknowns in unknown context. Also, this trend will lead people to "post" only when it serves their own purpose, such as the announcement of a new product or service, changing the nature of the formerly high-level discussion forums. Many were a treasure of a free flow and exchange of ideas........   

..... Also some postings of mine were plagiarized by some others  - however, such misdeeds are always discovered.....I felt it important to communicate this to you, as well as some more developments in cyberworld with regard to "content" so that you may protect your own work and information products:

There are widespread "syndication of content", "content-sharing" and "file-sharing" services and sites. Their purpose of course is to make profits. However, they used and use the "content" in an unauthorized manner. Some have been "caught", ordered to pay the authors of the content retroactively and sign agreements with them for future use, sale and syndication (as per recent Supreme Court cases regarding contentville, uncover, and lexis-nexis).  Since the rulings they have been, and still are, very busy deleting content from their sites since they cannot afford the millions it would cost them to pay for the right to sell the content they previously sold without authorization or just "took" from other sites. But they still have to pay retroactively. They had a big party while it lasted. Being of a hospitality background I can only compare it to breaking into a catering site, taking all the food and beverage they could lay their hands on and then sell these;  although with digital content the sale is "over and over again".

Some, just "took" articles which appeared in media publications. However, since media publications sell articles and "archived" articles, such online services have been sued by the media.  The media itself has been sued by authors who gave or sold them an article for print publication but never authorized or got paid for widespread digital publication (which is everlasting and generates money continuously).  Such publications also have to pay authors retroactively and many are busy deleting all those digital archives they created as a business source unless they decide to sign an agreement with the author for such continuous sales.  In all cases, those sites and services have to pay retroactively.

Some others have not yet been taken to court, to wit:  the "content-sharing", "file uploading" and "file-sharing" services + other online "training" services who have either themselves copied or uploaded "content" from others without authorization (mainly management and training articles, such as mine) onto their site or enabled others to do so. Many of these sites are restricted, meaning people who write, such as myself, can see that a certain file or the entire site has been uploaded onto such sites but cannot access them to see what has been done or is being done with their articles and writings. The only recourse is to go through a grievance process or take it up with one of the powerful organizations or government departments who help defend copyright and business fraud.

I am bringing this to the attention of newsletter subscribers in case you did not make the above discoveries yet and to enable you to check and see whether you too have had your online material "hijacked", sold, used and plagiarized by others.  All you have to do is to check your visitor statistics with a good program such as http_analyze (very thorough) of AND to dedicate some time to conduct web search with and see your links at and  

Search the name of your site, search the titles of your articles, search your own name, search the subject matter of your web site and web pages, save results as html and then go to visit each site you find.  You will be surprised by what you find, which may even include plagiarism (exact rendition of the content of your web site, web page or article under other names) by competing people or organizations near you and in remote countries.  Pay particular attention if your statistics show "upload page" and if they show that your link is from some restricted content-and-file-sharing site.  At least this will enable you to redress matters and learn how to protect yourself.  

The above has convinced me that despite all the excellent new software available for ebook publishing there is still no security for digital matter. It also convinced me that in order to converse freely without seeing your particulars and every word published and misused by others one had better use a well organized site accessible only to registered members. Other experiences, including many subscription applications which I did not process, have convinced me that many people surf the web or use services under assumed names and identities. Some do this to protect themselves, which is laudable for surfing and for the free forums.  However, when it is done for the purpose of accessing a certain service or product,  the motivation and purpose behind such action is doubtful and downright wrong unless one sends one's true identity separately to the service provider.  

Online businesses must offer free access to some useful information and insight on the web,  enabling  visitors to understand the value the business provides;  the standard and style of service customers can expect. Although this is a "virtual" acquaintance, visitors must be able to come to know you before they contact you.  You save them time and facilitate their choice. This is a marketing necessity.  

Yet, the blanket faith and trust expressed in my widely published article 'Networking on the Net:  Professionalism, Courtesy and Ethics on the Net" ( is long gone.  Until all these issues are resolved and more security is provided, one must tread with caution.  Important "matter", at least in my opinion and in the opinion of people I respect,  had better be "outside the web", not in "digital format" and on tightly controlled web sites.    

It seems never to have entered the mind of those very same people who made actual use of Networking on the Net article as "course content" and commercial purpose to follow the advice set in the article, namely, adhering to business etiquette and ethics, asking for permission, explaining the what, how and wherefore.  Some others behaved likewise with their companies' intranet and extranet sites and services.  The net is worldwide so I was not surprised to see the employee motivation articles I wrote, translated  and used on course sites of remote universities in Spanish and Portuguese, besides seeing them on North American, European and Australian educational sites.  Besides the implied compliment, wouldn't it have been "nice" to have been asked?  and, from a philosophical point of view, is this "sharing" when it is one side doing the giving and the other side taking without permission?  Doesn't this fall more into the category of "stealing"?  There are valid reasons why written content is officially called "intellectual property".  It is an asset which belongs to its owner and no-one else.
......  Some were ethical and wrote, asking for permission and licensing.  It is such people who help combat chaos and the destruction of all what we built towards the thriving of internet communications.  
..... Others, who just steal or plagiarize material, endanger the very quality and survival of "knowledge" and "information sharing".  For their own specific interests, some people interpret the word "sharing" as "taking, using, selling".   Many articles have recently been written warning that the abuse and misuse of digital "content" (information products and online postings) will soon result in a "drying of the well" and lead to "restricted paid sites", "pay per view" only,  while free "junk content" will abound.  People who have been cheated of their lawful rights are not ready to be robbed again.    

Thank you for your attention.  I hope that the above information and viewpoints have been found of value.  Please share your reaction with us.  
If you wish to give input, which can be in the form of questions or points you wish to see mentioned and explained in our forthcoming book on employee motivation.

Insightful Quotation from "Think & Grow Rich" by Napolean Hill:

"Knowledge is
potential power.  It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end.

" This 'missing link' in all systems of education may be found in the failure of educational institutions to teach how to organize and use knowledge
after they acquire it.

An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge.  An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.  "

You may list yourself
here to be advised when the Supervisor's guidebook on employee motivation will be ready for sale.  In the comments section please write if you filled the form to be advised on the availability of this book.

With best regards,


Copyright © 2001 Claire Belilos

**  This publication is registered with the National Library of Canada,
Ottawa, ON - ISSN 1496-3361

This publication cannot be sold, distributed, broadcast or used except as explained in the first paragraph above without the written authorization of the author.
Written and published by:

Claire Belilos
CHIC Hospitality Consulting Services
Helping You with Practical Solutions to People Management
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