The Internet, Paganism & Copyrights.
Article Specs |
Article ID: 8427
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,788
Times Read: 7,460
Author: Patricia Telesco [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 17th. 2004
Times Viewed: 7,460
The Internet, Paganism & Copyrights
Ok, let's face it - Pagans are pretty trusting folk. We love to network. We love to share and exchange information. So, it's not surprising that the internet seems to be our media of choice. Within moments a piece of neopagan news can travel the world. Sadly, within those same moments pieces of intellectual property can also be stolen -- sometimes knowingly, sometimes with good intentions, and sometimes not.
"Knowing" examples are the worst offenders. They'll grab things from anywhere, including brand new pieces posted here at vox, and slap them on their site. When called to task they claim "no harmful intention" or that "they didn't know" it was a copyright issue. The reality is that if any website is surfing for information on a weekly basis and taking it without proper permissions or credits -- the word is STEALING, plain and simple. And it should not be tolerated. Unfortunately this is happening so much that it takes a lot of eyes and hands to monitor the internet and alert people to potential problems. It takes even more eyes and hands to resolve that problem.
The Knowing without good intention is typically a power-hungry person looking to cast aspersions on a person or organization with whom they have issues (or worse of whom they're jealous). Person or group A or B have a falling out, and all of a sudden items are taken out of context, reposted, and all hell breaks loose. Folks, this has ruined communities and people's lives. If you don't have viable proof of what you're stating - don't post it. Going one step further, before you expose everyone in and around a group's or person's life to your ire try and handle it privately. This is a whole new type of witch war, and it's nasty.
The "Good Intentioned" site is one that's trying to educate, but either doesn't realize the legalities involved, or feels that so long as no money exchanges hands -- "it's all good." Well, it's not all good; in fact, it's very very bad. You're not only exposing yourself to potential litigation, but you're also robbing people of credit, and often their hard earned money. Dispite rumors to the contrary, authors on and off the internet are not making a fortune. Many are barely paying their bills like everyone else.
With the internet growing at leaps and bounds it seems prudent to remind ourselves of netiquette (not to mention laws) that govern the use of material on a website (no matter the source of that material). I have some basic guidelines that I use.
1. If you wish to link to a site - ask first, and find out what logos or descriptions are acceptable.
2. If you want to quote a book or a site - ask first and find out what permissions and notations are required.
3. Building on two - make sure you find out HOW a person wishes to be quoted in terms of their name and bio (not everyone can be out of the broom closet).
4. If you're copying things off the net into your BOS or other notebooks, please write down the source of your materials with due dilligence. There have been hundreds of times when people take something from a "friend's BOS" - post it - and then the firefight ensues because it belonged to someone else.
5. Look at websites before you even think about copying anything elsewhere. Most will have specified rules of conduct that govern the site. Treat it like you would someone's home -- follow the rules... and if you mess up, you clean up!
6. Never, never assume and always try to get to the first source of a piece. Witchvox is a great example. They request that articles provided to them (like this one) remain uncopied for one month. After that time, the writer can post the piece on the web or anywhere else they wish. So, you need to contact the writer NOT witchvox for permissions and credit info on this point. In fact, witchvox can't grant those permissions at all! Such is often the case on other websites as well.
7. With point six as a jump-off point - KNOW YOUR SOURCE AND TRUST IT. I have sometimes had to go through dozens of emails just to get ONE confirmed reply from the right person or persons. To me, ethically, this is well worth the effort. It honors the source and it respects everyone's intellectual property.
8. Groups: if you're hosting a group at Yahoo, MSN or whatever - know their Terms of Service (TOS) backward and forward. Know who to contact in times of trouble. Know how to resolve problems. If you have read the TOS and understand it, you're far less likely to make any of the errors that could get you in hot water in the community or legally. As a side note, if you can develop a relationship with someone in those Administrative group roles, resolving problems becomes much simpler. Usually a little professionalism, saying please, and thankyou go a long way to making this happen (you have no idea how abused these people get).
9. If you see potential copyright infringement - first as the moderator or owner. Find out if they have permissions (now, some will lie about this -- so also take step two). Also ask the perceived owner of the piece if they have granted permission and if the proper credits were provided. If you don't know how to reach them, find someone who can help you. When it turns out that there is a breach of the TOS report it yourself, knowing however that the OWNER of the piece must lodge a formal complaint for anything (usually) to get done.
10. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Many times when copyright is an issue people just hope no one will notice or just give up after a while. Dilligence is the key to "fixing" this issue in our community.
April 19th., 2004 c.e.
Bio: Patricia Telesco is the mother of three, wife, chief human to 5 pets, and a full-time professional author with more than 30 metaphysical books on the market. These include Goddess in my Pocket, the Futuretelling, The Herbal Arts, Kitchen Witch's Cookbook, Little Book of Love Magic, Your Book of Shadows, Dancing with Devas and other diverse titles, each of which represents a different area of spiritual interest for her and her readers.
Trish consideres herself a down-to-earth, militant Kitchen Witch whose love of folklore and world-wide customs flavor every spell and ritual. While her actual Wiccan education was originally self trained and self initiated, she later received initiation into the Strega tradition of Italy, which gives form and fullness to the folk magic Trish practices. Her strongest beliefs lie in following personal vision, being tolerant of other traditions, making life an act of worship, and being creative so that magic grows with you.
Location: Amherst, New York
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