A kind observer from somewhere remarked that I had a fair amount of original content on my blog, and asked if I coped with plagiarism or copyright violation, saying he or she was seeing his or her own content cropping up elsewhere on the internet. I paraphrase the comment, because I now can’t locate it. It ghosted partially on my screen until I unlocked, but does not show up on WordPress, which is where I assumed it had originated. I pierce the bloggery veil now for a disquieting moment to address this unexpected but interesting question.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I suppose plagiarism is similar. The only reason someone might steal my thunder, it seems to me, is because I’ve said something either so useful or so unforgettable — or so potentially lucrative? — that he, she, or “it” corporately, wishes to be remembered for it in my stead. Gosh, thank you, would be my first thought, but I’m hard pressed to imagine any such scenario being the case — self-deprecation is one of my sincerest poses.
I experience EthicalDative mostly as an echo of my inner voice woolgathering in one way or another, ignored by the many, noticed by the few. Little or nothing I post can be more memorable or creative than the vast universe of good content blogged elsewhere.
I’m unaware of my effusions being appropriated with or without attribution. How does one know? In the age of Kardashian many people (and perhaps I’m included) cut and paste much of their very lives to and from the Internet. How do they even know when they’re speaking in their own voice and not someone else’s, or snapping their own face in the selfie and not one bestowed by a YouTube makeup guru?
I restarted this WordPress blog from three primitive antecedents on other platforms. In doing so I read an article that recommended copyrighting each post as a matter of course. I took it to heart and have mechanically followed that practice, though it feels pretentious most of the time. But the article also mentioned the necessity to periodically register your content with the appropriate agency for a small fee, which I have not done.
Failing said registration, and even with it, my understanding is that your avenues of recourse, should you get stepped on copyright-wise, are few and puny for the most part — the equivalent of saying “Please stop doing that!” — unless you have a walloping war-chest of ready money to burn on lawyers, and an endless supply of life to fritter away in lawsuits. I’ve neither. My only defense from theft is ethics, which is to say, I’m naked to the wind.
(c) 2019 JMN