Apr 21, 2007

Content sharing: legalised theft?

I am pretty old fashioned. I believe that books should not be copied, I sneer at traffic light fake-book sellers and I am generally convinced that intellectual property rights should be inviolate. Which is why the Internet bugs me sometimes. This blog carries a lot of content (I'd say more than 97 percent) which is mine. I create it, I research it, I attribute all the sources, but its basically something I created. In terms of photos, I mean photos I clicked, photoshopped into clarity/composition etc. When I use external content, I never use more than an excerpt (unless its a press release, but that document type is created for publishing) and I offer backlinks prominently to the full content.

Now, I'm beginning to grasp that it is considered okay to willy-nilly pick up almost any content you see on the net and post it where ever you like. As long as a backlink is provided, the 'borrower' has apparently fulfilled all his obligations and is now free to do whatever the heck he wants with the content. Which strikes me as a bit odd.

From all the advertising you see at this blog, you would realise that part of the reason why I blog so religiously is that it pays (just enough to supplement my protective motorcycle gear once a year). Now get this. I post a set of images/specs whatever of a soon-to-be-launched motorcycle. The traffic this brings has a direct impact on my revenue. So when you go and 'lift' that image or text and post it on your blog, I lose some revenue. Effectively, in a brick and mortar economy, it would be like taking my book, putting your cover on it, adding a last page that says 'whatever you read was written by Mr so and so,' and keeping the royalties. In the brick-mortar world, that would be theft.

How this becomes okay on the net I can't understand, and it bugs the crap out of me.

Then I went around hunting for ways to prevent image theft. And I realised that not only is the problem I am facing common (actually rampant), but that since the Internet was devised as a way of sharing information, there is little I can do to prevent it. Among the measures are fairly complicated things from banning right-clicks, to changing htaccess codes, javascripts and finally, images in embedded flash. All of which, in my book is too complex to do everytime I want to post an image. So I'm going to watermark the images to within an inch of their lives.

I'm sorry, regular readers, that you won't get unmolested images here anymore. But you know where to place the blame. Everytime you see a watermarked image anywhere else on the Internet, you'll know why I watermarked it. And that's whether or not it is attributed to me.

Please consider this an extended, pre-apology for the inconvenience.

In the ideal world, I think other blogs would offer excerpts from my blogs and thumbnail pics at maximum and a well highlighted backlink to my site. That way, their blogs would become indexed at search engines, and I would still have the exclusivity of having full, in-depth content and images, and not lose traffic. At least, that is what I would do if I ever came to the point where I needed to borrow content from somewhere else.


Anonymous said...

Dude... as long as you are sharing authentic info, its fine with us. Keep up the great work :)

nEo said...

I often refer your blog in my post entries.(www.indianbikenews.com or the old blog.neo999.com)
For this apache post also , i have used pics from ur blog as a thumbnail and a linked that image to your post. I think almost all readers coming to my blog will be diverted to your post as they click on the image for a full version one. So i dont think i am doing any harm to your traffic.Infact more traffic is provided to you! I dont have the opertunities to get the latest spy pics and scoops as i am from southern most city and thats why i rely on all these sites including you . But i have never done a traffic steal , by using pics from anyones blog.Anyway , the new method is more efficient.But i would request to post a clean "thumbnail" linked to a watermarked full version.Thank you!

Archeriostichaos said...

Hey, I agree with you completely. But, a more simple watermarking could have been less clutterred and could have servd the same purpose, check the pics in my blog for exmple.


fallen angel said...

hey mr owner..i accpet what you do i correct..but why don you try disabling right click..instead of watermarking..that it self will prevent most of the copying..just my 2 cents....this is one of the best biking blogs man..keep it goingf..cheers!!

Hafeez said...

I bet a lot of people out there on internet land are going "Doh! Why the heck did he have to add those watermarks to the pics???!!"

Now they'll have to do some real work and dig out stuff/news on their own rather than copying it from here...

Anonymous said...

Well said. I have come across so many pepople who don't mind copying stuff from other people's blog/site and shamelessly use them without giving credit to the original poster.
I guess thats the price people have to pay when tech falls into wrong hands.
Watermarking is good, I don't think the watermarks are too much, as the picture still shows enough info.
So when is the next set of watermarked pics of new bikes coming? ;-)

Hitanshu said...

Rocking stuff on the watermarking mate!

@Neo: If you *really* want to give him credit, just write a single para/line critique and the link of rearset's main page.

For those who are unaware, Target won damages against MSN for directly linking to a sub-link (normally few clicks inside). So you see, what Rearset says, is pretty serious. And yes, adsense pays very piddly pennies. Only riding gear it would buy would be a riding tee shirt :D

rearset said...

Not true. I managed to successfully subsidise a significant part of the expense for my new Sony H5 camera with the money I got from advertising at my blog. I wouldn't say subsistence, but it is a nice bonus. If all goes well, I should be able to buy that 35 dollar Teknic back protector at newenough by September...

Hitanshu said...


Au contraire. The effort you put in for this blog, if you ran your own freelancing software company in that time, would make you 10X money. Take my word on that :)