Saturday, February 21, 2009

It should go without saying.

The need to even have this conversation blows my mind given how amicable the blogosphere is, but so it goes.

Let’s talk about blogger ethics. We’re all each other’s ‘colleagues’ so to speak, which implies a bit of competition, sure, but mostly a lot of companionship and cooperation. We have fun, we visit each other’s blogs, and we have others visit others. Everyone’s happy, right?

Then someone gets a good idea. They use it. It’s theirs for that intangible period between genesis and application, and a bit longer still after they make it public. Everyone looooooooooooves it.

But. It ruffles some feathers. We all want people coming to our blogs, and if so-and-so got a ton of visitors for some particular thing, they must’ve done something right, yes? So this hypothetical individual decides to change the idea’s name but not much else and post it on their own blogs. If it worked once, it can work twice, yes?


Admiration is fine. It’s when that admiration crosses the line to blatant, flagrant copying that it becomes a problem. The bigger problem lies in the fact the blog’s audience will most likely not call them out on it, even if they register on the stealing.

And that’s what it is: stealing. “Imitation is the best form of flattery”, my ass. I’m sure people don’t mind just being told their idea is awesome without seeing it on other blogs.

Here’s a lesson for all those people who email me and/or other bloggers asking for advice on getting started: See something you like? It’s not yours unless you’re explicitly invited to host it on your blog. If that’s not the case, don’t touch it. If you must have it, find a way to spin it differently (and repeat after me: a name is a LABEL, not the SUBSTANCE—changing it doesn’t count as innovative) and make it your own.

I’ve had multiple features stolen from me and I haven’t really ranted about it on my blog before because they were minor. You know, mostly some reviews almost identical to mine, posts stolen almost verbatim, people not crediting me, etc. Water under the bridge.

But some things are inexcusable. I’ve seen many of Alea’s features get stolen or reproduced. Alea. One of the nicest people in the blogosphere. I’ve also seen incarnations of Melissa Walker’s Cover Stories, which I’m not sure if she minds or not, but I find shameful.

Repeat after me: They’re provided for free but they are not public domain.

Lately, Kristi and I saw this attempt at a YA Connection—a knockoff—which we thought was pretty funny if only because the organization was spotty. With the announcement that it’s on hold today, I’d like to take this opportunity to say: It’s still ours. Don’t go there.

And just tonight I saw something that bore uncanny resemblance to Girl Week, even on its title. Which is what brought on this whole post. I am a momma bear to Girl Week—it is mine, and I even said after the event was over that I would appreciate it remaining so. I worked my ass off on that event, and hell if I’m okay with this. I’m on my way to email this blog’s people about it.

I’m sure this post will turn me into an even bigger bitch to some people, but it needs to be said.


Anonymous said...

Copying is a no-no

Unknown said...

I'm with you all the way. It's pretty pathetic.

Adele said...

I started a meme and now I am concerned that maybe I might have stepped on someone else's domain. I did look around to see if there was already something like Soundtrack Saturday - have I been a "bad girl" (even unknowingly?)

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

This is such a tricky issue. But I agree. At the very least, if someone grabs something off your blog to use, they need to give credit. (like for example even if they see a meme they want to use)

Steph said...

Amye: A meme usually has the intention of viral spread, right? But I'd agree, link to source. That doesn't mean, however, that just linking to someone will excuse ANY copying - but for memes? That's the point :)

Adele: That's tricky. See, I completely understand doing something without realizing someone else was doing the same thing. It's possible to get the same idea w/o being aware it was already existent. But - and this is just me - if I found out something I did is actually someone else's, I'd stop it. Or, you know, change it up and make it mine :P

Which is actually how I got started on this blog. I saw a lot of ideas I liked on other people's blogs and thought about ways to make it different and voila.


Adele said...

Okay so if someone had something like SS could they tell me and I will stop.

Like you just said Steph, there are grey areas. I based the Sarah Dessen Diariest approach on Kaleb Union's Twilight Guy except I wrote much more in depth, more personal revelations, no photoshop and an accompanying podcast. I think that's enough difference.

Although I have had some people contact me to say they are doing SD blogs now where they respond to the books and how much they love what I have done. Now I am in a weird position of being flattered that they want to rip off my idea and peeved at the same time. Sigh.

Amanda said...

I totally agree with you. And if I ever copied anyone, could someone out there tell me? I'd be sure to give 'em the credit where it's due.

Anonymous said...

Let me play devil's advocate. How many different web blog awards are there? Many, many, many. Some are big, some are small, some are topic-based. Does the very first person who thought up the idea of blog awards get to be the only person that does it? Is Monday Musings different enough from from Booking Through Thursday? Does the first person who thought up a daily photo get to tell everyone else that they can't do it? Cat Fridays? Sunday Salon? Blogger of the week? Blogger of the month? Daily/weekly/monthly giveaways?

At what point is something different enough?

(Remember, I'm playing devil's advocate.)

BookChic said...

If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, I honestly think you're overreacting.

And if it is the same thing, my own response is on that blog's entry regarding what I think about it.

Yes, it's a problem if it's completely copying, but doing a week focusing on an aspect of someone's life does not belong to anyone. Certainly not you. Certainly not this other person. It's public domain.

This is my opinion. If it needs to be explained more, I'll do so.

Unknown said...

Boothy, I don't think Steph named names or blogs or anything. What she did was say that this kind of thing happens a lot and has happened for a long time. I know I've heard her talk about this kind of stuff since before I even had a blog. So if you think this has to do solely with one current incident, you're mistaken.

Steph said...

Sass, hahaha, you bring up some good points. Honestly? I don't know. If the original posters of those ideas thought of the other versions as copying, is the question. If they did and they didn't do anything about it, then I don't really know what to say. If they did say something about it and it didn't work anyway, I'm really sorry about that. If they don't care, then it's not a problem.

But it's worth remembering all those things are more all-inclusive than proper content. They're community oriented anyway. I see what you're saying - the heart of the idea - but I think there's a distinct difference between the two.

I don't know. There are too many gray areas. But there's also a lot of room for improvement in regards to some blatant lifting of others' contents, and not just with my own stuff: I could make a whole list of recurring things I see on the blogosphere that was originally unique to one blog.

Me, I'm just asserting right now that I am not cool with Girl Week ripoffs.

V Bored said...

Finally, somebody speaks out.
I ain't a Book Blogger because there are many of those and I am afraid I might copy someone else's idea.
But I am very against copycats.
I always credit my posts if I use something, if not it's only because I forget.
Otherwise, I strongly agree with you about everything, especially the 'imitation flattery' quote.
Copying is very...shall I say it? piteous.
Ha, ha, look at me venting on too.

Anonymous said...

I get what you are saying and I absolutely get that you are protective of Girl Week. My point was that there's lots of grey area when we're talking about ideas and features. (We're clearly leaving copyright violations out of the discussion here as there are copyright violations and there are not. So not a grey issue.)

Let's look at Alea's look-a-like features (hope you don't mind Alea). If someone does a similar feature that's no YA focused is it stealing? If someone was doing it on something that was no YA focused before Alea started hers in 2008 does that mean Alea was stealing? If someone posts one post comparing some YA covers they noticed were similar (not a weekly feature but a single post, or maybe a couple of posts over a year or two) are they stealing?

Too much grey. I just think we have to be careful when we use the word "stealing" because it brings up all kinds of legal ramifications.

Amee said...

Copying is something we deal with all the time. I've been copied (usually only what I say, I'm not original enough or stylish enough to be copied any other way!) before and it is frustrating, but I'm also guilty of copying. Anyway, I think this copying thing in the blogging world is insane compared to most instances of copying. Authors constantly say the YA blogging atmosphere is one of the nicest. My response? Nuh-uh. There are many nice bloggers out there, but in truth I find the YA blogging atmosphere to be vicious at times. It's one of the reasons I just couldn't take blogging anymore (there were of course other reasons but this was one).

There seems to be little respect for each other's blogs and the content of those blogs. Everyone seems all nicey-nice in comments (although I've seen comments here on Steph's blog that are odd and seem like they are trying to subtly unnerve her), but they have no problem copying ideas or content. Copying in the sense that they are not making something their own but rather changing one or two tiny things and claiming it's original.

I don't know enough about this situation to judge it. I'm more or less commenting on the entire YA blogosphere and what it seems to be to me, ex-blogger, regular commenter.

Crotchety Old Fan said...

please check out this post I did almost a month ago -

It deals with this issue and one of the biggest offenders in our genre/field

Anonymous said...

okay, copying someones actual posts is one thing, but copying an idea, i have to say, is a grey area. I dont think the ideas you pointed out- alea's look-a-likes and Melissa's cover stories, are anything proprietary. I dont know how long Alea's been doing her look-alikes, but there's a site called Jacket Whys that does the same thing. And Melissa is definitely not the first to interview people about their covers.... and "waiting on wednesday" might be popular now but people have always posted about books they're looking forward too....etc

Ideas are not copyrightable.

Anonymous said...

that geek week thing is ridiculously close to girl week. change the topic but keeping the same structure. w/e, its the same. its like if an author took twilight and replaced the vampires with werewolfs and the wolfs with vampires and called it their idea. still stealing.

its a gray area but still objectionible. im glad steph spoke up ive also had some ideas stolen from me too.

Amee said...

"Ideas are not copyrightable."

It's funny you (and anyone else who has suggested this here) say ideas aren't copyrightable. Why then when you write a formal paper do you have to cite someone else's ideas? Why did the authors of The Last Templar sue The Da Vinci Code author for using the exact same topic/idea from their book in his own book? Granted they lost the lawsuit, but it still made it to court. Their lawyers didn't laugh them out of their offices. No, they took on the case because it had validity. Obviously ideas are not universally owned by all once they are put out there in the world.

Erika Powell said...

I agree that this is a problem but I also have a problem with your post. You speak in generalities and not in specifics of the problem. As some have said they may not be sure if they did something wrong so you can't get mad at them. You can tell them they did something and hope they fix it.

the story siren said...

Adele I did something similar to you and was called out on it recently, by another blogger. I started doing the In My Mailbox posts and come to find out there is an adult lit blog that hosts Mailbox Mondays. Unfortunately I don't think we can be all-knowing when it comes to knowing what every blog out there is doing.

You didn't do anything wrong and either did I.

I understand Steph's frustration and I even agree to her with an extent. But I also agree that this issue is also very gray.

There are many small things that I pioneered in the YA blog community, and who knows, really I doubt I was the first.... but really what can you do about it?

What is all comes down to is repecting each other not only as bloggers but as people. You don't even have to like someone to have respect for them.

Mandy said...

Amen Steph! I hate when people steal them and try to use them as their own. If they use it they should at least give credit. Glad someone spoke up. :)
Go you!

Khy said...

I was going to say something. But then I saw a comment that talked about Twilight. And everything I wanted to say left my brain, even though a switched up Twilight would probably be a million times better than Twilight itself.

Also, I was confused by BC's comment, and brain no work when confused.

Anyway. Stealing = bad.

Anonymous said...

Something like In My Mailbox, or anything about what a reader might have gotten that week in books is just something that people like to post about. It's a tough one. I started blogging just for me and when it comes to books readers are EXCITED to share with others what they might have picked up in the store, or received as a review copy, etc. I don't think posting about that is stealing someone else's idea when it's such a common event in book blogs.

Author interviews, well, it's tough to keep them fresh and different when there are so many of them out there. I like when different bloggers change up how they ask questions or post the interview. I have a 5 Questions With... category myself. I think if someone is blatantly stealing questions and format for interviews it could be caught easier. Otherwise, people have a right to post interviews.

I find different covers interesting and if one is similar to another I might have blogged about it, not made a regular feature, but you know, mentioned it. Does that mean I am stealing someone else's idea? What about the post I am writing about the many books coming out in March that I have on my wishlist? Am I stealing the Waiting on Wednesday idea? I just happen to be breaking my bank in March and April (ha!) with books I have been waiting for and wanted to talk about.

I find blogging difficult and people are quick to bad mouth others. You might not have seen it in your blogging travels but someone out there might have had a similar idea, it's because many people who blog about the same topics are like-minded. It'll happen. I don't agree with outright obvious stealing, but occasionally people have the same idea and don't know it. ;)

BookChic said...

Taren- I understand she's talking about more than one instance, but I am just talking about the genesis for this post, i.e. the Girl Week "stealer".

Expanding on my thoughts from before, I feel like there's only so much you can do on a book blog that's different from any of the other book blogs out there.

I mean, honestly, what else can you do during a theme week that's not guest blogs, reviews, contests, and interviews? To me, this "stealer" is doing nothing different than what you did for Girl Week, or what any other blogger would do during a theme week. Seriously, if you're gonna accuse her of copying, I could accuse you of copying my GLBT theme week from October 2007 because you also did guest blogs, interviews, reviews and contests!

And, heck, you probably weren't the first blogger to do a theme week that centers on being a girl. Most likely, tons of other bloggers have done the same thing. I'm certainly not the first to have done a GLBT theme week, and this other person is not the first to have done a geek theme week.

And if we're talking about stealing, your YA Connection is extremely similar to what Cynthia Leitich Smith does every week on her blog for Cynsational News and Giveaways- you both feature the same sort of content. Did you and Kristi steal from Cynthia? No, you didn't. Both you and Cynthia were hardly the first and you won't be the last ones to do a link roundup.

To me, this isn't stealing, it's just another theme week that a blogger wants to do on their blog. Just let them be because you're making this into more than it is, and the people who seem to be agreeing with you don't know the full story. Stealing would be another blogger doing a Girl Week and then taking your specific content and copy/pasting it onto their blog and crediting it as their own. This blogger is doing no such thing.

And also, if you think about it, do anthologies steal from each other even though they're about different things? Is Geektastic stealing from Does This Book Make Me Look Fat because it's also an essay collection even though they're about two different topics? No, it's not. BECAUSE THEY'RE EACH ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT TOPICS JUST LIKE THESE THEME WEEKS.

Yours was about being a girl, and this other blogger's is about being a geek. Mine was about being a GLBT individual. Are they the same thing? No. So get off that blogger's back about this specific issue.

Sara said...

While I completely agree that other bloggers shouldn't steal your ideas for features and such without crediting you, this is plagiarism, not a violation of copyright. Copyright (at least from what I remember from an information policy class in library school) is granted to a particular work (literary, art, etc), and putting words on paper (or blog) is copyrighting them -- this is an issue if your posts are being copied verbatim. Plagiarism, which is where things can get a little murkier, is the stealing of ideas and the reason we have to cite our sources -- and is is what Dan Brown was sued for.

BookChic said...

Also, I thought it was odd that you said that this other person's event title was similar to your own.

Um... Girl Week is not exactly the most creative title in the world. I mean, like I said in my previous comment, my theme week in October 2007 was GLBT Week- should I be complaining about your use of the letter "G" as the first letter of the first word as well as the use of the word "Week"? No, because that's just petty.

Not only that, but you are probably not the first blogger to have a week dedicated to feminism and being a girl. It's most likely a topic that people have been doing for YEARS. So where do you get off saying that someone is stealing from you because they want to have a theme week that's devoted to a completely different theme than the one you did?

Anonymous said...

This is a great entry and I'm glad to see it inspiring some great discussion.

I would say: "posts stolen almost verbatim" is an infringement and one that I would pursue. When people are ripping off your content word-for-word that's a problem. And I totally get wanting proper attribution for certain things, especially when an idea is clearly based on your own/you're the source.

But as Mandy (and others) have said, the idea issue is a total grey area. Ideas are not actually copyrightable.

& Just off the top of my head:

I've seen internet blog book clubs that have group reads and group posts about certain titles/themes. I can think of several blogs devoted to cover decunstruction. I can think of about four blogs right now that featured entries pointing out the similarities between the cover of Cracked Up to Be, Dirty Laundry, Generation Dead and Leap of Faith, in fact (side note: I was absolutely honoured to be part of Alea's Look-a-Likes, as I'm a rabid reader of that feature and I love the way she presents it... Alea is awesome!! /fangirl). There are several websites devoted to authors, debut and otherwise--Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, Class of 2k7, The 2009 Debs, The Tenners and Authors Now (which I'm a proud member of). I can think of blog reviewers with similar grading systems that were not necessarily inspired by each other. I've seen themed blog tours. I've seen interview oriented blogs that have similar schticks (five and twenty questions, for example). I've seen some blogs do a YA writer news round-up.

I used to devour all the music blogs on The Hype Machine and there was ALWAYS content/feature overlap, whether those bloggers knew it or not (certain entries devoted to indie artists, debut artists, one-hit wonders, soundtracks, blasts-from-the-pasts on certain days of the week etc). There is definitely some overlap in the book blogging community (YA or otherwise) and to a certain extent I think it's unavoidable.

Amee, in answer to your question, "Why then when you write a formal paper do you have to cite someone else's ideas?" <- I would think that's because those ideas are clearly the sources for the writer's material, and have been incorporated into said material, and they must be properly cited. But the thing is, is that not all similar ideas on the blogosphere come from the same source, despite their similarities.

So I guess the question is when then does variation on a theme become infringement?

Oh wait, after pondering that question out loud, my brother-in-law just answered: "Whenever the lawyers think they can sue successfully." :)

Again, great topic! I've loved reading everyone's thoughts. Kudos to you, Steph, for putting this dicussion on the table and letting your blog host comments from all across the spectrum. It's one of the reasons I love visiting your blog and keep coming back to it. You rock. /fangirl x 2

Anonymous said...

Hmm . . . all very interesting. I think the blogosphere, even the kidlit and ya blogosphere are to big for every single individual to know what each other are doing. I understand the need to have unique content that sets you apart from the blog next door. Just the other day, I had to step back and say, "it's okay, it's okay" when I noticed another blogger posted a recipe from an author. Yes, it's a feature unique to my author interviews, but I don't think I could prevent anybody else from asking an author for a recipe.

I also started doing "reader spotlights" only to find out afterwards another blogger does something similar. But I think we have very different target audiences and readerships. I certainly don't format the way they do. So should I stop? No, I'm not. We are certainly different enough and run in different circles.

Very, very gray areas. And lots and lots of toes to step on. Tough calls all the way around.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks someone dropped a house on Book Chic's sister. Me-ow!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, well it sounds totally maddening when you worked very hard at something and it feels like someone just took all your ideas for themselves instead of coming up with their own. But I also agree with some other comments here - there's a difference between someone coming up with a similar idea separately (I didn't think the features linked to were that unique), and flat out plagarism. So you have to be careful and SURE that someone is stealing before you go after them. Plagarism is bad (and creepy, that's for sure), but saying no one else could POSSIBLY come up with a similar idea and then going after them for it without basis doesn't help either. Anyway, I really don't know what's going on here or what the details are.

Anonymous said...

I think BC makes sense.

Michele said...

I suppose everyone is entitled to feel differently about this subject. I don't do any of the weekly memes, but only because I'm afraid of commitment. ;) But I do have a feature that once a week or so I publish a "Diversifying My Bookshelves" post. Now I don't know of anyone else that does this, but then again there are what seems like a gazillion lit blogs and perhaps someone does....but I'm not going to sift through them to find out. Nor would I be particularly upset if someone did a takeoff on my weekly thing. That's just me, though. I'm not a big drive-traffic-to-my-blog kinda gal. I've got my "regulars" who I consider friends now and love all of them to death. What more could a gal want?

Adele said...

I have been mulling over this for a couple of hours...I think there is only a limited amount of things you can do with a book blog. Slap a different label on a meme but ultimately they are all reduced to a central group of ideas.

In terms of events and interviews, you can only do your best. Some authors churn out the same answers because they are provided with less than interesting questions. If anything this has challenged me to think about my questioning more to illicit more interesting answers.

I have noticed some blatant review stealing which I think is ridiculous. People read your blog for your own take on books, not someone else's regurgiatated review.

While I don't know the specifics, I don't think I want to at this time, I do think we need to be reasonable. If you do think someone has "stepped on your toes" or "cut your lunch", approach them in a non-emotional state.

In terms of cover memes, Alea does a great job and I choose to read her take on them rather than anyone else. I like what she accompanies her observations with - her own patented Alea wit. Regardless of other cover memes out there (copied or not), people will gel with a blogger with whom they connect. The idea is great, sure, but it's the blogger that makes it interesting and that's what we need to focus on!

Anonymous said...

OMG BOOK CHIC RULES MY WORLD. He's right, absolutely right. Themed weeks are not new to the book blogging world and link roundups have not been unheard of in the blogging world. linking to other blogs is actually a blogging tip to bloggers to gain more view/readers my dear. I know for a fact when you started that way back, it was for the intention of gaining more readers, which is totally cool because that's what you want when you have a blog, right?

Also we get inspiration from everywhere. I remember when you did a post about chatspeak a how you hate people using wrong grammar. And I immediately thought about a youtube video that Sister Salad did (I'll link below), which a little fun fact for you all was favorited by the VLOGBROTHERS. And I thought to myself huh? I wonder if Steph was inspired to blog about it after seeing the video. Which is TOTALLY possible and I know you won't admit to it *if* you were inspired by it but who would,right?

Moving on, I think it wrong, wrong, wrong when some reposts some of the same reviews and or blog post content.

Here's the link

Great discussion though!

happy reading

Anonymous said...

Whatever point Book Chic had was lost on me when he started getting overly personal and snippy with the ums and all that. Even television without pity, which lets their posters say the grossest things about people, thinks that um is too obnoxious. I don't blog, but with me the nicer person wins which means he loses.

Steph said...

Before I actually reply, I just want to ask everyone to lay off personal attacks. No need to get touchy :)

Bookworm said...

I agree about themed weeks--it's a pretty common idea. I also agree with the "gray areas"--there are definitely 2 sides. Yes, it's frustrating when someone flat-out takes your idea, I have to agree there. I hate that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, stealing is just NOT OKAY.


Kind of sad that you have to say that, isn't it? That other bloggers don't just know it.

Anonymous said...

I think this is definitely a touch subject, regardless of which side you take. Whilst, yes, its extremely frustrating and disappointing that others may have used a similar idea, I think there's been many valid points made in opposition.

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as an original idea. All ideas have been done before, but they've all just been repackaged in a different way. Can we honestly (or should we even be doing so?) begin pointing fingers at other people? Unless, we can truly pinpoint "original" ideas after ideas that were copied, I think its too difficult to work out where to draw the line. This is truly a grey area.

With that, I have no idea what's going on, but I think all of us have shared opinions (This has provoked some great discussion!) that are applicable and valid to any situation.

Carolina said...

I agree with BC and I do think that you're overreacting. Just because a blogger posts author interviews, guest blogs, and has contests for a celebration of any kind, it doesn't mean that they're copying your Girl Week. And since you don't read every book blog out there, you can't be sure that you didn't copy Girl Week from someone else.

I do agree that if you copy something from another blogger and don't make any changes, then you are copying. But if you add your own spin and if the "owner" doesn't complain, then there isn't a problem.

I mean, you write reviews (sometimes), interview authors (sometimes) and have guest blogs (sometimes) as do other bloggers. Does that mean that you're copying them? Yes, it does. But do we rant about it and write a bitchy post and point fingers (figuratively speaking)? No, we don't because we will end up copying or stealing (as you call it) ideas from another blogger. Not everyone is creative and can think of new things.

Second, if they change the substance of it, it's not copying! Also, these discussion posts. I'm sure that you're not the first one to have them and I've never seen you post up a link saying where you got the idea from. You can be stealing this from another blogger.

Yeah when you post something that you think is original and that belongs to you,but you should know that someone is eventually going to copy it (or steal it) and/or add their spin to it. You can't prevent that.

There's too many grey areas and you're making too big of a deal.

Kelsey said...

First off, BookChic, I SO completely agree with you.

Second off, Steph you are way overreacting.

I believe that there is only so much you can do with a YA book blog. Everyone get's their ideas from somewhere, from many different things. Nothing original is really original.

Girl Week really isn't original. Many people have done themed weeks, it's not uncommon, and it's not original. Sure, I suppose you can claim GIRL week as your own, but I wouldn't go ranting off when someone does a GEEK week (or fest, really.)

Like Carol says above, you don't read all YA blogs out there, you cannot say that these things are copying/stealing/plagiarizing whatever without knowing everything every YA book blogger has said and posted in a blog.

I don't believe you can steal an idea unless you use the exact same words and so on. I believe stealing and copying are two very different words. When I think of stealing I think of word for word. When i think of copying I think of getting an idea from someone and using it, but not word for word. So really, nobody should even be using 'stealing' here because, I might be mistaken, but has someone ever stolen something of yours, any of you, word for word? I haven't seen anything in the blogosphere. (I know, I don't read everything out there either, but you get my gist.)And am I the only one, or is stealing much worse then copying? Copying reminds me of kindergarten and drawing with the same crayon as someone else. I just don't think its such a big deal like stealing or plagiarism. Am I the only one, or no?

So, I say, if some copies your idea, and you don't like it? Kindly email them and ask then to stop or put a spin on it, but don't rant about it to everyone?

Also, I do my On The Outside feature. I got the idea from Melissa Walker, I admit it. It's not stealing It's copying the idea and giving it a spin.

That is not stealing and if someone says so, well, I'll take that really personally.

Think about it. Stealing, copying. Two very different things, right?

And if you do copy, why don't you say that you got the idea from somewhere, like when everybody did when they used 'stole' Kristi's IMM post, they linked her and gave her credit.

Kelsey (Reading Keeps You Sane)

Amy said...

Yes, you are right Steph that memes are meant to be spread. I just strongly believe in hat tips to blogs you get your ideas/content from. Even with them, though, people will still think it's your brilliant idea.

People make valid points that it's hard to know what other bloggers are doing. Like the Mailbox Monday or In My Mailbox thing. Or how two lit bloggers both thought of doing a "what I got at the library" weekly meme.

Or Natasha's reader spotlight is something I've seen on other (non-lit) blogs.

We bloggers do have a bit of an ego, we just have to keep working it out, I guess. :)

Anonymous said...

Whoa, I really don't think we need to get personal and start "attacking" people!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I'll admit I got a bit annoyed recently with a fellow blogger and I sent her an e-mail about this exact issue.

Now this is someone I totally respect and admire. I had heard some grumblings about her around the blogosphere. Whatever. I didn't want to get involved. I hate playing "politics" like that - I'm here to have fun and talk about books.

Then she posted something that had the same basic idea as one of my posts, but I wouldn't say she was copying. She put her own spin on it and expanded coverage and I was even pleased to see her ideas about the same topic.

Since mine came first and I know she reads my blog, I assumed she saw my post and was in some way inspired by it. Of course, I wouldn't "sue" her over my assumption nor do I think she did anything wrong. I think it would have been nice if she had in fact been inspired by mine, that she link to me - especially so that her readers could have access to more thoughts on the same subject. It's what I would have done. But ok, no biggie.

I linked to her post from my post because I thought what she wrote was helpful. I told her that I did so.

But then I got no response, and that's where I got annoyed. If she even acknowledged my existence at that point, I would have been happy to let it all go.

But for whatever reason, she didn't. And instead of fuming about it or complaining to others about it, I decided to deal with it directly and write her what I hoped was a mature e-mail.

In hindsight, I probably should have waited a day until I was less emotional, but I hope we've worked things out, and we can go from here and continue to respect each other.

Anyway, I guess what I am saying is that I agree that you can't copyright ideas so people who are getting inspiration from other blogs, taking a content idea and giving it a new name, are not doing anything LEGALLY wrong.

Whether other bloggers, especially the ones being copied, are going to find out and get annoyed - that's something different. So I tend to say err on the side of politeness. If you were inspired by someone, say so. If someone gives you the heads up on a feature they did that was similar, respond to them.

Anonymous said...

I think I've got to agree with BC and all those who agree with BC.

I think the biggest problem here is your Girl Week and that you want to keep it original to yourself, which I completely understand. But, to me, that means that nobody else does a Girl Week, not that nobody else does a theme week/month. There's been other theme weeks done before your's (look at BC's and his GLBT that, I'm assuming, happened before either of us were blogging) and there's going to be some done after you. You can't stop people and you have no right to get angry UNLESS they are actually copying GIRL week.

Also, I think we all copy from each other atleast a little bit but we don't all jump down each others throat, do we? How many interviews do you see that ask questions like "what are you working on now?" or "any advice for teen writers?". Or, how many reviews of The Hunger Games have you read that just raved about it? But the person who raved about it first didn't flip out at anyone for coming to the same conclusion and pointing out the same things, did they? There's also a ton of different monthly thing going on. I have Author of the Month, TCR have Book of the Month/Author Spotlight, and BC have Fresh New Voices of YA. We all review the books, hold a contest, and do an interview. I'm sure I was the last of those three to start up, without realizing they did something similar, but neither of them had a problem with it.

Obviously, you weren't specifically talking about those things but they were just examples.

Plus, you've got to realize that you're blog isn't all that original. You and Kristi weren't the first to come up with something like the YAC (Cynthia Leitch Smith does something VERY similar), you weren't the first to do a theme week, and, like the rest of us, you do interviews/guestblogs, reviews, and contests sometimes. The ones who were here before you didn't yell at you for that, did they?

Your originality is in your VOICE, not your content. No one is going to be able to copy Girl Week, because of how much work you put into and I highly doubt that anyone will be able to make it as big as you did.

So keep in mind that your blog is not as original as you think before you go point fingers.

BookChic said...

Meghan- I am only replying to Steph's own rudeness in making such a public, immature post before even contacting the "offender" in question. She was rude first, and I'm rude back. No, it may not be the adult way to handle things, but I don't care.

Also, I use the word "um" because it fits with what I'm trying to say. And it's something I would say in person as well. It's called being sarcastic.

Anyway, I'm also being snippy because I'm a gay man- how else am I supposed to act when making my point in reply to someone's rudeness?

And if you're just making your opinion based on my one use of the word "um" and agreeing with Steph instead (I'm assuming this since you said I lose and therefore you'd be on the "winning" side with Steph), then you are not good at choosing the right side during a debate.

Steph is wrong in this case, and she's overreacting. If other people can't see this, then they're blind.

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph