Plagiarism or copyright infringement—kissing cousins

Educators call copying or using another person’s material plagiarism. Investigation and punishment is handled by the educational facility where the student is enrolled. Attorneys call a similar action copyright infringement. Those cases are settled in court.

WordPress (the entity) has configured a link for bloggers to sign in, click the “Like” button on any post and copy it to another blog without the original author’s permission. WordPress calls it “reblogging.”

WordPress provided the opportunity and mechanism for other bloggers to reblog my post “Nontraditional student wins scholarship.” I received permission to use the photos. What about the reblogger(s)? If s/he/they didn’t request the original owner’s permission, shouldn’t that be classified as a dual copyright infringement of private ownership?

The Howard T. Collins Memorial Scholarship committee selected me as a winner based on my application and essay. Eden Housing sponsored the awards ceremony and provided the photos. Various officials from from city, county, state and federal government prepared and delivered special awards certificates at their expense. I published articles to my Carr Twins & Co. website and both Violet’s Vibes blogs. We all invested sweat equity. A WordPress blogger clicked the “Like” button, then transferred my full post under the guise of reblogging.

WordPress praises reblogging as a social feature. Cattle owners call it rustling. I call it copyright infringement or its kissing cousin plagiarism. Merriam-Webster calls it “a theory advocating elimination of private property,” a/k/a communism.



Filed under Blogging

2 responses to “Plagiarism or copyright infringement—kissing cousins

  1. Great title, because they certainly are kissin’ cousins. Is there a certain amount of material you can use, giving full credit, like the first line of a song, first sentence of a novel?

  2. Julie,

    I’m not an expert on these issues, but research shows three answers to your question: Yes, no and depends. Yes, for essays and articles if you quote an excerpt followed by the source in parentheses. No, for trademarked slogans. Fiction for pritned publication depends on original copyright, but permission is always best.

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