I'm A Thief

That, according to my first born son who happens to be a lawyer. What would you guess would make a son call his father a thief?

Did I somehow squander his inheritance? Nooooo, wont be anything to inherit anyway. Did I actually steal money from him and his family? Nooooo, even though he and his brother both still accuse me of stealing their $5 Halloween money they got from their grandmother in 1994. And just for the record, I did not steal their Halloween money. I just put it in my pocket for safe keeping. Did I take something from his mother who he still has an umbilical attachment to? Noooo.

So what crime did I commit to deserve the title of thief from my genetic offspring? Apparently, copyright infringement. I can't deny it, I'm guilty.

For the many, many years I've been doing my web site, I have been cut and pasting news stories from many other outlets. Mostly news articles pertaining to our local area and of local interest. Never did it cross my mind that I was doing anything wrong. 

In the last couple of months, I've received two cease and desist letters from local media outlets. The first was from the Knoxville News Sentinel/Scripps. Their letter told me I was violating their copyright by using their stories on my web site. I figured it came about because they have now put their content behind a firewall meaning you have to pay a fee to see their web content. So, no big deal, I just stopped using their stories.

Then, last week I got another cease and desist, this time from The Daily Times, the Blount County paper. So now I'm thinking I better look into this.

In all fairness, in the past I was told by representatives with both of these publications that as long as I included the name of the author and the name of the paper when I used their material, everything was OK. I guess that was just good for ten years.

So, I do a little internet searching to learn about copyright. Long story short, just identifying the author and paper doesn't make it alright to use other outlets content. It's really all about money as everything seems to be now. The logic is, if I post their stories and you read it on my site then you wont go to their web site thus you wont see their advertisements thus they could lose advertising revenue.

Beginning next week or before, I am going to a new, legally acceptable, court approved form of news sharing. It's called news aggregating. I can copy the headline and a few lines of the story and link it back to the original story at the home web site. That means if you want to read the whole story, you'll have to make a second click to get there. Unfortunately, if you're not a twelve dollar a month subscriber to the News Sentinel web site you can't see their content.

Anyway, when you see the change, you'll know why. I can't have my children and family afraid to show themselves in public because I'm a thief.