Sunday, September 5, 2010

On the quoting and attribution of my work.

I am under the impression that what I publish in this or my other blogs cannot be borrowed or used by others without attribution in a form that is legally prescribed. I am not familiar with those legal provisions but I find it in my interest to learn what they are.

I am not a lawyer. Legal research is not one of my studied abilities. Therefore I must make the best use I can of what occurs to me to be sound ethical practice. As a writer, I know that there are written sources of information about the law which I can make use of to improve the legal standing of this that occurs to me as ethical. On a zero budget I can do no better than this, it seems to me. A legal opinion by a lawyer would cost money that is not nearly reachable by my budget. (It is my experience that they ask for a retainer before performing any work and these are on the order of $500. That is not something I can foresee being raisable by me for the indefinite future.)

Toward starting a discussion of this matter, and in keeping with what I have just said, I now wish to introduce a quote regarding sharing when sharing is being encouraged. It is a quote from Wikipedia's Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, regarding use of material on Wikipedia.

Before giving the quote I must state that I do so because it bears on the topic of use of someone else's material, not because I consider it legally applicable to my blogs, which I may or may not do according to my study of the document from which the quote comes, or the quote itself. There are differences between Wikipedia and my blogs. I give the quote because there seem to be some similarities, and, as a person of less than legal qualifications, I am induced to give it in the sense of a useful beginning to my discussion, which itself may prove to be short and small in detail since I am not able to know how much there is a need for me to engage a thorough discussion here of the law.

Here is the quote:

"* Attribution—You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work.)
"* Share Alike—If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license."

Now this calls up considerable substance which I cannot comment to. What is a "similar or compatible license"? What, indeed, is a "license" altogether?

And as I say, this passage may or may not have some relevance to my blogs. But like Wikipedia, I would be pleased if my work were influential, and influential work is quoted by others. Wikipedia may object to my attributing such a view to them, and if so I will admit that it is only a personal reflection based on what I have seen, and not to be construed as something I propose as fact.

But I offer the quote as an example of what has been said by a source which seems to be widely considered reliable in matters stemming from being influential and quoted, about its own position on the matter of others using its work.

Without knowing the law, I must stop at merely saying that if anyone quotes my blogs, it would be my preference that they annotate the material as a quote and attribute it to me in the sense of my blogs. Also, I would prefer that the magnitude of the material quoted be limited. It is my understanding that both of these preferences have a solid legal footing.

Let the reader take heed of these matters and know that they are something on which I have an opinion, with significant implications in terms of the elements here discussed in so brief a manner, but not in that lacking an interest by legal authorities.