What would you do if you spent a lot of time writing out a page, then found one by someone else which is strangely similar (almost identical)?
A page I wrote, which I have been updating constantly in the last few months, bears a striking resemblance to a page of the same nature, almost word for word (which of course really pisses me off), but I won't accuse this person of plagiarism.. yet. I add new lines, and the author of the other page does too. I add new sub-pages containing something obscure, and the author of the other site does too... way too similar to be a coincidence..
Is it possible that two people on separate sides of the planet could have the same idea, and write it in an almost identical way?
Each time I see someone link to this other page, I cringe, because I can't prove that they are using my words. I have to grin and put up with it, but nobody said I have to be happy that it's been done.
It's fair to say that you will see many sites with similar layouts, and that's understandable because there are millions of websites out there, and a limit to what you can do with plain HTML code. The first version of my current layout was inspired by this layout from CSS ZenGarden, although I started mine from scratch, it is still similar in the way it appears on the page. I thought it looked cool, so I set about making up my own version.
You will also see sites with similar content.. depending on what they are writing about.. which is also fair because of the amount of similar information on the web, but when it's whole pages copied word for word, sometimes with links and layout still intact, and no credit given to the original author, then that sucks big time.
There was a guy who stole whole pages from this site, and used them as his own.. including my guestbook entries! When I asked him why people called him Ashlyn, he had no explaination except to remove the pages.. Fair enough, but an apology would have been nice!
You see it happen a lot on Pagan websites. I've seen Mike Nichols Witches Sabbats posted so often I almost know his texts word for word, and mostly without credit being given to him.
He asks this on the bottom of his pages: "Permission is given to re-publish this document only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others"
A quick google search and a look at a few websites will show you that not a lot of people bother to read right to the bottom of his pages.
Fritz Jung, from The Witches Voice wrote an excellent article for the Pagan Webcrafters Association back in 1997. This article sums it up perfectly, and still holds true, even all these years later.
And then you get the people who suck texts and graphics from the web, and publish it on "free" CDs (with a $5 postage charge to cover costs -cough-). They spam groups, lists, communities, proudly spouting how happy they are with their "free" book of shadows, when all the while, the original authors and artists are getting squat for their hard work.. most have NOT given permission for their work to be used.. some didn't even realise. Very uncool.. And they can never justify where they got the information from.
This is the internet after all, and nothing on here is sacred. The whole point being, if you don't want others to take it, don't put it online in the first place. What a copout that is, and what a shitty place the internet would be if we all kept our creativity to ourselves..
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
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