Using words or graphics from another site without attribution and/or link back to the original is wrong. In the case of copyright material, permission is generally required for use (except in the case of fair use). If you have a small readership at your web site; no one will likely notice if you are not crediting your sources properly. The more readers you have the greater the scrutiny there will be on your sourcing.
At Wizbang we mind our P’s and Q’s, as best we can. There is a DCMA Compliance Notice on every page with a process to report copyright violations. I expect to be credited (actually I demand to be credited) when my words, ideas, stories or images are used elsewhere so it would be supremely hypocritical of me to not credit the sources I use in editing Wizbang.
Which brings me to the case of professional media personality Rush Limbaugh. It seems that Rush, 800 lb. media gorilla that he is, has decided it is OK to steal Natalie Drest’s work at Jessica’s Well. Take a look at Rush’s version – noting that the graphic from Jessica’s Well was two different pieces of the magazine combined into a new original graphic. Whether you are a Limbaugh fan or not you would be hard pressed to defend his uncredited theft of Natalie’s material.
It’s time to lay the smack down on Rush for his unethical actions.
Start flooding Limbaugh via e-mail. It’s easy, as I’ve already started your message if you click here.
Keep The Pressure On!
Call The Rush Limbaugh Show program line starting Monday between 12 Noon and 3PM Eastern Time at: 1-800-282-2882. They’re going to get sick of this theft or lack of source citations story in a hurry, so make sure you disguise your intent. Choose another topic to make it past the screener, then hit the theft topic if you make it on the air.
You’ve got your marching orders!
Steven Taylor notes that this is not the first time the Limbaugh web team has taken material from blogs and then failed to credit the blog.
The Commissar has a term for this – blagiarizing.
Update 2: Steven points out that the Limbaugh web team did not actually take his material, they weren’t doing their homework. Unlike the EIB web team, I will adjust my postings when a factual error is pointed out. I stand corrected.
As Natalie points out it’s not about credit for Jessica’s Well (the Life series was widely link and Instalanched) it’s about giving credit to your sources. Would bloggers be pissed if it was Al Franken, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal appropriating the work of bloggers without giving credit ? You bet your ass.
There are some who say, “you’re just bloggers, not journalists” – but when bloggers do original reporting they become citizen journalists, just like the guy with a video camera who taped the Rodney King beating or thousands of others who have (due to desire or circumstances) found themselves as the only “reporter” on the scene and captured the story. The fact that they don’t have the means to get the story into wide media circulation does not exclude their work from being considered original reporting.
If you would like to see a news organization taking feedback from a blogger seriously, go see the Tim Blair/Chicago Tribune story. The Excellence In Broadcasting network could learn a thing or two from Tribune Ombudsmen Don Wycliff.
Update 3: Susanna Cornett reports an interesting development with regards to Rush Limbaugh and bloggers. Presumably it is from the Monday (June 7, 2004) show, but she doesn’t specifically give the air date.