Ethical SHARING Honors Original Content
April 22, 2013
In response to a previous post, Kathy Loomis posed a question.
"Suppose the tutorial in question appeared not in a magazine but on somebody's blog. Do you also disapprove of people sharing that info?
If so, why?"*
For me, Kathy's question raises at least three issues:
To answer the question, I will briefly address each issue.
The first issue involves
Ethical sharing adheres to copyright law and respects ownership of original content. By this I mean that original content is owned by the author - and taking other people's property without permission is unethical. Information and images are property whether on the Internet, in a gallery, or in a studio. For example, while anyone can view content in a gallery, museum, or artist's studio, a visiting viewer would never take the property for themselves without asking. Just because the information and images are on the web (and easily copied) doesn't mean the author has given permission to viewers to copy and take it for their own use.
Ethical sharing of content from a blog requires permission from the author. So if you want to share the information, ASK first - or write your own original content (e.g. a review) and link to the original source.
Since 2012 Search engines began to devalue duplicate content. Google and other search engines are increasingly recognizing that duplicate content is cluttering search results and of diminished value to the users. Consequently, search algorithms devalue or even remove duplicate content.
If content from "BLOG A" is copied and pasted in "BLOG B", this is duplicate content. This means that search engines will likely devalue BLOG B since the copied content has a later date. Or worse, both sites will be devalued.
Search engines might also remove the page or the web site from search results completely. A very big penalty. The future of the Internet is all about original content. More about this issue in future posts.
If you find information that you deem worth sharing ... write a review or write your own opinion about why this information is so interesting. Create your own original content and link to the original source.
The third issue looks at .
What is the motivation behind sharing?
Some people rationalize copying and sharing as a "service" to their community to help disseminate knowledge. I think this rationale is misguided and will undermine our communities in the long run. It is highly discouraging for original content creators when their property is copied and distributed without permission. Instead, our community should honor original content creators with appropriate recognition and respect by linking to and crediting the original author.
In very practical terms, why copy information that is already on the Internet? There is no need to duplicate information to facilitate sharing. The original blog is readily available, so link to it.
In contrast, the act of copying information and re-posting all or part of it as one's own content is behavior that I can not comprehend or rationalize at all.
Link to the original source instead of copying. Citing a quote with attribution and a link is also completely acceptable which generates recognition and traffic to the original source.
This practical, ethical, and legal action honors original content while providing the best search engine ranking for both your web site and the original author's.
The issue is NOT a prohibition on sharing of information.
THE ISSUE is about SHARING INFORMATION while honoring the original content in the most respectful, ethical, and legal manner by linking to the original source.
Harriete Estel Berman
*Kathy Loomis commented on the ASK Harriete post titled, "The Guild of Unauthorized Sharing". Read all the comments and responses by clicking here,