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Vol.1, Issue #12 - July 20, 2001
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
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.
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".
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 http://www.netstore.de AND
to dedicate some time to conduct web search with http://www.google.com
and see your links at http://www.marketposition.com and http://www.linkpopularity.com.
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
Yet, the blanket faith and trust expressed
in my widely published article 'Networking on the Net: Professionalism,
Courtesy and Ethics on the Net" (http://www.easytraining.com/networking.htm) 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.
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:
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,
© 2001 Claire Belilos
** This publication is
registered with the National Library of Canada,
Ottawa, ON -
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broadcast or used except as explained in the first paragraph above
without the written authorization of the author.
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