Copy and paste: The enemy of the web?

As a police reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, I gradually became accustomed to local evening news anchors reading my well-researched reports verbatim with no credit. When I made the transition to interactive journalism, copyright infringement became less of a problem as whole multimedia stories are a little harder to lift.

The familiar frustration was brought back in an instant when I discovered, via Technorati, that someone had plagiarized an entire post and its images. While the offending post has since been removed, it did call to question what writers, bloggers and photographers should do when they discover someone else is presenting content as their own.

My initial reaction was to turn to the Twitterverse because, as this post suggests, Twitter is great for asking questions. While waiting for responses, a quick Google search turned up this post on what to do when someone steals your content.

Tweeps @ryansholin, @jenconnic, @jgrad09, @editorialiste and @dblacombe (whose own encounter with a plagiarizer was helpful) collectively suggested writing a cease and desist letter. Their immediate help speaks to the power of crowdsourcing and social networks like Twitter.

Technology is enriching our lives by providing a space where we can share our craft with others, but it’s hard not to feel the sting when something like this occurs. I still have immense faith in the web, despite its obvious deficiencies. For more on copyright law and protecting your content, check out this previous post.

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