Monday, September 13, 2010

Giving a little consideration when we use other people's materials online

I would like to touch on an issue regarding Internet Theft. This came about after reading Cultman's Rant regarding people stealing his materials for personal gains without attribution, credit or permission.

I have to admit, I felt a little guilty after reading his rant. A few of my old saved images did come from his site. I did try to locate those links again, but I just couldn't find them. Most of the images I had saved were from years ago, when I was merely surfing the net for references. I didn't think I needed the links until now, and those reviews/reports/WIPs are probably long archived somewhere, hidden until I accidentally browse upon them again one day. I took the easy way out. I just linked back to his shop's mainpage, not even sure if they're appropriate. The one thing I'm glad I did was to acknowledge the diorama/kit owners - that was easy since most times their names are already on the images.

I'm also relieved that I drew the line using images only. Total direct copy of contents is a strict no no. But it would be nice if I had some contents or materials that I could refer to, at best to help formulate or reinforce my own opinions and reviews. And I usually like to keep mine short. Mind you, I'm not in favour of plagiarism here. Its better to voice your own and link back the facts unless we're talking measurements. Here's something to think about.

A review is something you do to show your OWN opinions, feelings and thoughts about a particular subject, and your readers evaluate or depends on YOU based on what YOU post. Imagine then if they found out that those words/reports did not come from you, but a total direct quote copied from another source. What then? How would you think your readers would react if they found out the truth? Wouldn't they avoid/ignore those sites/blogs in favour of the one that actually wrote it? I know I would, and I did. So what are the lesson I learned?

When I created this blog, I made 4 simple rules to guide me. Those rules are:
  1. Give credit where credit is due
  2. If possible, get permission if you know the scale modeller personally or via the forums/websites
  3. Link back to their site (or at least to where you got those materials from)
  4. Make it easy for the readers to get more information, and work their way from there
I think I may have broken a couple of those rules in my enthusiasm. And here's THE GOLDEN RULE! Never steal another's work.

I have friends reading my blog, and they know that a lot of those Awesome Built Reports I post, well, I didn't built them. So if I was to "pretend" that those were my "masterpieces" (and I really wish they were), they would know the truth. Can you imagine if I was exposed? My blog's name would be MUD. And I would have defeated my very own purpose of creating this blog as well. No one would follow it, and I might as well talk to myself here.

I don't know if I have hurt Cultman directly or indirectly cause I've used images from his sites. Worse thing was, I didn't even realise it until I read his rant. As a promise, I will redirect all my links appropriately, kits/parts back to his shop and reviews back to his blog if possible. I need to do this as well for Starship Modeller (a few occasion I just got lazy and linked back to their main page) and to any others I highlight here. And more importantly, I'm going to try to get permissions, and blessings. I feel this to be the most important.

I do apologise if any of my posts in this blog have hurt anyone in any way. If you do find something inappropriate, please let me know in the comment columns under those topic. I will rectify them as soon as I possibly can.

My goal here have always been to share, and to try to stimulate back the scale modelling interest based on my own interests. Its not easy I know, cause not many young people nowadays are willing to take up this hobby. But I have seen the look of fascination on their face whenever they see an awesome built, be it on the net or in an exhibition. I believe a lot of them dream about this. They just simply do not know how to start, know what to do or where to get the tools and kits. I'm hoping my blog could be the bridge.


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