Copying and linking

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Christine has had a rather long discussion going on over the last 2 days about pinging weblogs.com and how anyone can take that data and use it to list your blog pretty much anywhere, etc. (It’s all tied into people figuring out how they got listed in BlogShares without their knowledge and so on and so forth.) I tend to fall into the same category as Christine does, I don’t really care what any of you do with the information here. They’re just my ideas and if you happen to think they’re worth repeating somewhere, go right ahead. I’d like to think anyone who copied them would give me credit for them, but I’m not about to go looking at every email list, message board, blog, or web site to see if someone’s quoting me without credit. Chances are you could get away with it. Of course if I catch you, I might be tempted to publicly embarrass you, so you do take your chances. 🙂

It also ties into something I’ve had some difficulty with this week, and that is people linking directly to pictures from the photo albums. Now that bothers me, because then you’re using my bandwidth to show an image on your own site, or forum post as the case may be. In both cases this week a friendly email was all that was needed to take care of the problem, but it also inspired me to add some text asking people not to do that to each and every page of the albums. (Thank’s to for Dreamweaver’s Find/Replace function!) Yes, I could have added some scripting that would make that not work, but that would require changing every image link all over the site, and I do not even have the time for that! (Readyhosting doesn’t support htaccess, ugh!) Besides, my server logs make it pretty obvious who’s been directly linking. Now the same thing applies here, there’s really nothing stopping you from saving a copy of any of the pictures, and using them pretty much any way you want. I would hope you’d have enough respect for me to give me credit, but I’m not going to be out looking around for them either. Ultimately, if I was worried about how people might copy or use any of the content on this site, I wouldn’t have put it on a publicly accessible web page. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Update:Christine’s now written an open letter to Dave Winer asking him to create a “disclaimer” for the changes.xml from weblogs.com. This has gone way to freakin’ far, obviously. Dave has no control over how anyone uses the XML feed once they grab it off weblog’s server, and probably does not have the time to try and enforce any policy he would bother to write. The theory that people don’t understand that someone can grab the weblogs listing and use it for whatever purpose is not Dave’s fault. The details of XML aren’t necessary to understand that if you ping a public space with your link, anyone will see it and choose to do whatever with it. That’s just simple common sense! The ironic thing is, how many bloggers go out of their way to be listed in as many places as possible in order to get more visits? How many of these same people are now pissed off that someone dared list their blog without their permission? Get over it, if keeping control over your blog’s content and good name is that important, don’t put it on the Web!

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