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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson



I am so not fucking kidding.

In case the copyright notice that appears on ever page of this blog (and which also appeared in the previous Movable Type version of the site) is not prominent enough, I’ve added it again to the sidebar. It reads:

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 MaryAnn Johanson. All rights reserved. No content appearing on this site may be reproduced, reposted, or reused in any manner without express written permission. [email]

If you plagiarize my work, I will find you, and I will publicly shame you.

That last line is a new addition to the text that remains in the footer. It appears to be necessary, because of all the morons who don’t think there’s anything wrong with stealing. Though I doubt they have it in them to be shamed.

But they won’t be able to say they weren’t warned in plain, clear language.

(Just to be extra extra clear: This doesn’t mean you can’t quote short passages of my work, as long as you make it obvious that it’s a quote and link back to the original. That’s called Fair Use, and it’s perfectly fine.)

And here’s a newsflash for all those who have suddenly become copyright “experts” in the last few days: Anything you create is copyright the moment you create it. That includes material you post on the Web. That includes work you give away. Allowing someone to read (or look at, or listen to) your content without payment from the consumer does NOT mean you are giving away your copyright.

Also: Part of protecting your copyright is calling out violations of it when you see it. Not calling out violations of it might later be construed as you not being interested in protecting your copyright.

So to everyone out there — out on the larger Web, I mean, not here at this site — who thinks that those whose work has been wrongfully appropriated should just “let it go” or “move on” or “not make such a big deal about it,” you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

posted in:
maryann buzz | Net buzz
  • LaSargenta

    *loudly applauds*

  • althea

    And I join in.

  • Danielm80

    Douglas Adams said, “One of the things Ford Prefect had always found
    hardest to understand about human beings was their habit of continually
    stating and repeating the very very obvious…”

    We do it because if we don’t keep repeating the very, very obvious, people just don’t get it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I say, if you’re gonna riff on Liam Neeson’s speech in “Taken”, let’s go all out.

    I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for me to sue you, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career as a blogger. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you delete my content from your website now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will publicly shame you.

  • LaSargenta

    Now. Would that be Homage? Allusion? Or Plagiarism?

    And, yes, I know you sourced it, but that’s not Chicago Manual of Style online citation format.

  • Dr. Rocketscience


  • LaSargenta

    I think we need a video of MAJ to go along with the speech. And as much as I like MAJ’s voice, I do wish we could get late Bette Davis to do the voice over.

  • You know, if the Doctor doesn’t want to come and get me, Ford Prefect could do me a favor…

  • Thanks. But I was just looking for an excuse to post that photo of the attempted cheese theft. Or maybe that’s a carrot?

  • LaSargenta

    Looks like a carrot. And those are guinea pigs, no? I think they’d prefer a carrot to cheese. (Like I ever owned one…I really have no clue.)

    But, do you really think a carrot works better than a stick in this case? ;-)

  • I’m a little disappointed with that image now. It was funnier when it was cheese.

  • I actually thought it was cheese, too.
    : – (

  • bronxbee

    they are guinea pigs. i’ve owned a few.

  • bronxbee

    i thought it was a cracker.

  • Paul

    I confess to being one of those copyright “experts”, though with a longer pedigree than a few days. My particular brush with it came when a guy called Gareth-Michael Skarka stole some of my wife’s artwork, which had been on my web page, and used it in a published role-playing game supplement. Worse, the artwork he used, having been taken from the web, was pretty jaggy. We were fobbed off with excuses such as the old “I thought it was in the public domain” one, and never received adequate redress. Why didn’t we sue? Well, because although anything you create is automatically copyrighted to you as soon as you create it, suing for copyright violation in the US is costly (especially if, like me, you’re in Japan) and without the copyright being registered in the US (for a fee, of course), even in the best case scenario you aren’t going to win damages sufficient to come out ahead. Thus MaryAnn’s “public shaming” approach seems to be the only effective option remaining.

    I also encountered the US thing where you are effectively forced to “call out violation” in order to protect your copyright. Sounds OK in theory, but in practice, especially in the field of fan derivative works, it’s an almighty pain in the ass. There was a long period when I didn’t get on very well with a role-playing publisher friend of mine, and part of it was that he was very anal on copyright (which I felt was a little excessive, given that I possessed bootleg tapes he had made a few years earlier adorned with the slogan “Home Taping Is Skill In Music”).

    My most ridiculous ever copyright story was when, after these shenanigans, I put a satirical copyright notice in my fanzine, including a threat to put parts of a copyright violator’s anatomy in the blender. A comic artist of my acquaintance then plagiarised in full the copyright notice itself in the next issue of his comic. Homage, one might say. Well, yes, I suppose.

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    pretty sure that’s a bit of yam.

  • Clearly, we need to ask the guinea pigs just what was too delicious to not steal.

  • No, but see, you do understand the matter.

    I’ve seen too many commenters this week saying variations on “Sue her or shut up,” as if it’s a snap to sue someone, and as if the outcome would be any benefit to me. (I’ve also seen suggestions that somehow it would be worth it to sue because Tarantino would be on the hook for it, which is ridiculous. People are not civilly liable for the actions of their friends. On the flip side, however, he could most certainly help her financially in any legal proceedings if he wanted to.) I’ve seen commenters saying that its my fault (and the fault of the others Spiderbaby plagiarized) for not copyrighting our work, as if we had neglected to do something so stupidly obvious that we’re not worth listening to now.

    Basically, the conclusion I’ve come to this week is that as long as you steal from people with fewer resources to bring to a fight over it than you have, you can get away with it. (But I guess that’s *always* been true.)

    (This is in reference to the Lianne Spiderbaby debacle, for those coming to this post and comments at some point in the future when she has, hopefully, been forgotten.)

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