Daily Archives: June 26, 2008

Free Content for Fair Use

As many of you know, the doctor is not your average blogger, but as many of you might not know, he is one of the few independent bloggers in the space that makes his living off of content generation, which include the blog posts created and published on this site (as well as the results of his content generation services). As a result, copyright, “fair use”, and “fair dealing” are very important to him and he gets quite upset when he finds content that is being used in a manner that flies in the face of “fair use” and “fair dealing“, such as when entire posts and articles are being copied without permission and passed off by another individual as their own or when big companies try to prevent “fair use” and either demand payment or threaten ridiculous legal action in situations that any reasonable person should deem “fair use”. Both of these have happened in the last week, and needless to say the doctor is not very happy. (Especially since he’s had to personally file two complaints with Google in four business days.)

In the first case, thanks to a tip from a fellow blogger, the doctor discovered the purchasing.org.ua blog which had no less than 15 posts which were copied, in their entirety, from works of the doctor here on Sourcing Innovation or on e-Sourcing Forum, where the doctor guest posts regularly, without citation, reference, or link. Now, it doesn’t appear that this individual was trying to profit off of this blog (as many individuals who copy content in this manner often try to do), but a number of searches for content that should bring up Sourcing Innovation were bringing up that blog instead, on content I had written. But it didn’t stop there! After extensive research, I found posts that contained content, usually in its entirety, that appeared to have been originally published on over a dozen different blogs or in a dozen different publications, all without citation, reference, or link – on a blog where the author was remaining anonymous. To date, I have verified, through conversations, that at least six other bloggers and three editors at leading publications believe that their content has been republished without their consent in a manner that, in their opinion and mine, violates “fair use”. Of what was almost 300 posts, I was able to track down all but 40 to other sites, which had the same content with an earlier publication date! Needless to say, for-profit or not, when I find sites like this, I get very annoyed … especially when I am usually more than happy to allow others, who provide me the courtesy of a simple request (when required), to re-use my content, in full, for educational and non-profit purposes.

In the second case, the doctor heard that not only was the Associated Press filing a lawsuit (hat tip to Susan’s Web Logs Blog) against The Drudge Retort on claims that the blog violated fair use for publishing entries that contained fewer than 30 words from cited Associated Press articles, but that they were trying to force bloggers to pay them a fee if they quoted a mere 5 words! (Again, hat tip to Susan’s Web Logs Blog). the doctor writes sentences longer than that! It’s bloody ridiculous. I hope that someone, with the willingness to defend your rights just like the Electronic Frontier Foundation does on a regular basis, takes them to court over this (as my thoughts on the issue aren’t fit to print)!

It’s true that the doctor regularly covers works generated by third parties, including those published in third party publications, but anytime the doctor quotes content, whether or not it constitutes a significant amount of material with respect to “fair dealing” or “fair use”, he does his best to not only credit and reference the source, but to also provide a link to the original material, when available. And if he directly quotes an amount of material that some parties might consider significant, he does his best to ensure that he adds to the work considerably himself or keeps the total content to less than a small percentage of the overall work being referenced. Furthermore, he doesn’t make ridiculous complaints when he finds a large part of his material quoted on other blogs when the author has taken care to properly reference and cite the work at issue and to add to it in some way, even if he disagrees with the contents of the posting (just like he won’t delete any comment that follows the comment rules). (Summary: the doctor does his best not to be a hypocrite.)

Thus, even though the doctor gets very annoyed when content is used in a manner that flies in the face of “fair use” and “fair dealing”, the doctor believes that content should be free for “fair use”, and that those who create content should make an effort to insure that their content is free for “fair use”. To this end, the doctor will not only not bother you if you use his content in a way consistent with “fair use” and “fair dealing”, but is extending the following offer to almost anyone who wants it:


the doctor will seriously consider granting to almost anyone, on request, the right to reprint, or repost, up to five posts (authored by the doctor and posted on the Sourcing Innovation blog) in their entirety for educational purposes, regardless of whether or not you are an accredited public institution or a private for-profit company, as long as:

  • the posts you request are at least 30 days old (and authored by the doctor)
  • no fee of any kind will be charged for the reprints or reposts
  • the posts will not be used with the express intent of commercial gain
  • the posts are reprinted in whole or in contiguous, unaltered, part
  • full credit for authorship is attributed to the doctor
  • a permalink to the original post is included

To make your request, simply send an e-mail to the doctor at (thedoctor <at> sourcinginnovation <dot> com) and specify the following:

  • the posts (up to 5) that you are requesting to reprint or repost,
  • your name and contact information (company, e-mail, and telephone number),
  • the method in which you plan to reprint/republish the posts,
  • the audience you are hoping to educate, and
  • an assurance that no fee of any kind will be charged for the distribution of the reprints/reposts.

I will get back to you as soon as I can, but please allow up to five business days for a reply before resending your request. Thank you.