Ripping Blogs And Forums To The Press

Here’s a question for you this morning….

You’re quoted in an article in a newspaper about your take on certain events and you give permission to the article’s author to make reference to your website after speaking with him in depth about the article in question.

The following morning you pick up another newspaper and see that an entire blog post has been lifted without prior contact or permission and reprinted word for word. Also lifted are quotes that you made on a private forum (free forum, but you have to register to be able to read it) which another journalist registered for, published in full in said newspaper attributed to “one contributer said…” or “one contributer replied…”.

Now, in fairness, I would have certainly expected more from this newspaper, one I’ve had a decent relationship with over the last year. The article didn’t have an author’s name to it (how can you author something that is someone’s entire blog post and numerous subsequent quotes and comments) but I know who you are and neither myself or the others involved are too happy!

So whats your take? Would you be pleased to find your work appearing in the media without a sniff of a mention, courtesy phone call or email?

At least they didn’t reprint the photographs! There’s only so far across the line you THINK you can walk.


  1. redmum September 7, 2006 at 11:32 am

    I think you have said it yourself, once you post into a public group which can be accessed by people then it can be copied. It is in the public domain and the way they mentioned your contributions sounds about right.

    As an example a journalist can check out a planning application and reproduce some of the objections along with names, though I think most newspapers don’t print names just the comments as in ‘one objector said…’.

    Unless you have some kind of copyright licence on your own site you could be reproduced but it is common courtesy to name your source, not to mention plagiarism to do otherwise.

    Photographs should need permission, though I know that doesn’t happen all the time. If one of your pics is reproduced without permission you should invoice them, they’ll not be so keen to do it again.

    I had a local newspaper down the country reproduce one of my flickr pics with no mention of where it came from (though I never invoiced them, I’m full of big talk:). I have also had other agencies ask for permission which I have allowed.

    I think we will see more and more of this unfortunately.

  2. Peter Knight > EdenWeb September 7, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    I’d say at the most basic level it’d be common courtesy to acknowledge sources. People reading the article wouldn’t necessarily be looking for an author credit so they’re assuming what they’re reading is property of the publisher.

    Generally papers are keen to put this sort of stuff right. Have you been in touch. Perhaps you could work something out – free advertising space, an apology etc.

  3. Simon McGarr September 7, 2006 at 12:54 pm


    As I understand it, your copyright is inherent in the work. Thus even if it was published previously with your permission in a publicly accessible location it does not pass into ‘the public domain’ but remains your property. Otherwise we could reprint books on the basis that they were there in the library where anyone could read them.

    No formal assertion of copyright is required in Ireland.

    You’d need to consult your lawyer with the details of your particular case if you wanted to ties down the specifics of these principles as they apply to you.

  4. Ken McGuire September 7, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    At least thats what I thought I had there somewhere! And its never been a problem before, any other journalist or paper has phoned or emailed before heading to print.

    If it was photographs it would be a different story. Worse off when you’re asked for photos then neither credited or acknowledged in print or purse.

    But, have been in touch with the paper in question, as well as reposting our ‘notice to the media’ re: re-publication of content.

    As for consulting the lawyer, that might be a bit of a drastic step in this scenario but its nice to know what the angles are.

    Thanks so far for all the comments and thoughts. Lord knows I have some pretty unhappy people behind me on this instance.

  5. Pavlos September 10, 2006 at 3:35 am

    Unfortunately many journalists feel mysteriously threatened by bloggers – thus avoid giving them any extra publicity even if it means being plain rude.

    When one of my views on one of my posts on a certain news subject was mentioned in Guardian Unlimited, I was even given a linkback… Without any re-print, just a “view”… That journalist was awesome about it. Not all are – some are pencil pushers eager to still your work and get credit for it.

  6. Ken McGuire September 10, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    Threatened or not, they should have the decency to reply when they’re questioned about it – something I have yet to receive!

    If there had been a name attached to the printed article I think I would have been worse. Nothing I hate more than seeing that. Hell, I’ve even written plenty of articles, gig news, reviews for press that don’t get credited – but when they take stuff without asking, thats what gets to me!

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