the traveler's Blog

the traveler

the traveler
Columbia, Maryland, USA
November 03
VP of everything
I am an avid photographer and traveler living in the Washington DC area. My photo is obviously not me, because I am a white male and not a monk, and is one of my favorite pictures from a trip to Myanmar.


MAY 18, 2012 5:29PM

How Open Salon saves me money and time

Rate: 6 Flag

I used to subscribe to the New York Times and spend an hour or so every morning reading it.


Now I don't have to.

'Why', you ask?

 Because every article of any possible interest in the Times is quickly clipped and posted here on Open Salon, masquerading as original thought.

The resulting articles are original and good.

Of course nothing good is original - the good writing has been clipped directly from the Times. And, as expected, nothing original in these OS articles is good - that's because the skills of the OS writers pale compared to those of the NYT writers.

The editors of OS seem not to give a crap about writing, ability  originality or plagiarism and willingly tolerate this for the sake of clicks.

What I don't get is what the writers here get out of it.


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Seriously? People are flat out copying or are they just taking the topics & info? You should pm me when you is that - you can think of lessening my oblivion as a charitable thing. ;-)

to pick out three of the most recent.
At least one author here has said that he sees nothing wrong with copying as long as proper attribution is made..
That the letter and the spirit of the copyright law specifically deny that seems to be irrelevant.
It is much easier to copy than to actually write.
Hmmmm. I occasionally write a post based on current events as reported in the MSM, such as Ed Kennedy's belated apology from AP for having fired him for his "premature" dispatch about the German surrender in 1945. Sometimes, said posts include (attributed and linked) quotes. In your opinion, does that make me wrong? And what if I quote myself from an old newspaper story I wrote?
Quotes are one thing. On most commercial blogs quotes are limited to a paragraph or two embedded in a piece that goes on to make other cogent points, often using the quoted paragraphs as a springboard or a foil.

What I find wrong is where the quoted materials make up a majority of the meaning and/or the text and the OS writer's contribution is a minor fill-in.

That's not quoting; that's stealing of copyrighted materials.

Here is a quote from ( on fair use. And this usage is, I think 'fair use' because I am quoting these as a reference to reinforce my assertions:
Uses That Are Generally Fair Uses

"Subject to some general limitations discussed later in this article, the following types of uses are usually deemed fair uses:

Criticism and comment -- for example, quoting or excerpting a work in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment.
News reporting -- for example, summarizing an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report.
Research and scholarship -- for example, quoting a short passage in a scholarly, scientific, or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations.
Nonprofit educational uses -- for example, photocopying of limited portions of written works by teachers for classroom use.
Parody -- that is, a work that ridicules another, usually well-known, work by imitating it in a comic way."

If I were to copy the entire article and repost it, not fair use.

Of course you can quote yourself, assuming you own the copyright or it falls under 'fair use'.

OTOH, I don't remember ever quoting myself; I usually can find a better written source.
Suppose I was being just a tad provocative, Trav. But your response should inform others, because it's quite true.

I most certainly agree that posting verbatim lengthy excerpts or entire articles is a violation of copyright, even more so if not referenced properly. Citing an article, and perhaps posting a para or two from it to make a point or expand on a point -- I have no trouble with. Commenting on said material is fair game.

As for quoting myself, as I have done sometimes unacknowledged and unattributed, there was no one whose accuracy and judgement I trusted more in certain situations (he said pompously).
What the writers get out of it is bringing attention to the information or viewpoint presented. I know one OS writer who, for a while, strictly posted others' material, attributed, because he didn't think he wrote as well as these guys (he was right). They have a case to make that others don't seem to buy into, possibly due to lack of information, and they bring these authors in as backup.

As to how work like this gets an EP, I'm not going to even speculate. Safe Bet's Amy recently wrote a post about that.
Well, I had read the two Wolfman posts you cite and totally missed that they were Times grabs though Jon makes that perfectly clear. I suppose it doesn't fall within fair use but on the other hand it shares information and I'm personally annoyed by the NYT paywall enough to not fully trust my own opinion on the practice!

And my opinion on that extends further than copyright fairness which is far too complex and arcane a field for me. It struck me reading the McD/Joe Camel post how often some variation of the "businesses exist to make money!" absolute dictum was repeated. "If I now make $1b and can increase that to $1.00005b I am entitled to do any damn thing I can get away with" is only a slight exaggeration of the philosophy that is widely accepted in modern society. In the meat industry that translates as selling sanitized feces as hamburger. For the NYT it's the paywall. It's hard for me to care about the NYT profit levels and I take anything I can get from the them only for free. (Disclosure: my father ended his newspaper career not so happily in part because of the transition of emphasis in the business from any part responsible public service to maximizing profit. Anyone who argues that's a good thing will get no argument from me, just scorn and that's apart from anything to do with my father.)

The McD/Joe Camel post - well, that was just gross. It was totally different from Wolfman's practice - that was flat out theft.
p.s. Where does Huffington post stand in this issue in you opinion, traveler?
In the interest of information sharing, it seems to me that it's okay to create a post with a link to an article of interest and briefly discuss what the article is about and why it's worth reading. Keep in mind, everyone doesn't read the NYT. Some folks are too busy, unable to afford a subscription, or just not big news hounds. People in those categories might appreciate finding a piece of news here they might not otherwise have seen.

I agree that people shouldn't re-post the work of others at length, and certainly shouldn't pass it off as their own, but sharing information that you find compelling or important is the whole point of the internet. Is it not?
I didn't mean to say "briefly discuss." A critique could obviously be any length.
This is how the Huffpost terms of service read (as should OS)

You shall be solely responsible for your own submissions and the consequences of posting or publishing them. In connection with each of your submissions, you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that:
you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize us to use all patent, trademark,
trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to any and all such submissions to enable inclusion and use of such submissions in the manner contemplated by us and these Terms and Conditions; and
you have the written consent, release, and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person in such submissions to use the name or likeness of each and every such identifiable individual person to enable inclusion and use of such submissions in the manner contemplated by us and these Terms and Conditions. In
furtherance of the foregoing, you agree that you will not: submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or
otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights
or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant us all of the rights granted herein;

Got it.
No posting unless you have permission.

There's not much argument from me about spreading information but this isn't information, this is choice of words, grammar and everything else that is a writer's work product.

The 'I can't afford it so I can steel it for the good of everyone' doesn't work here. You're an artist. Suppose you write some songs, make s CD and someone decides that others should hear it and burns 5000 copies to distribute for free. Aren't they stealing your inspiration, your experience, your work and your talent?
Copyright laws protect the talent and the owner. You and only you have the right to give your stuff away.
Here's another, if you want it:

This is worse, IMO, because he copied from the Washington Post. At least he could have C@P'd from a paper people actually read!

My previous response to bluestocking babe works for you too. The information is anyone's to repeat; the exact words are not.

If someone thinks that the ideas are better expressed somewhere else, let them say it as well as they are able - and then refer the reader to the better place. If a writer somehow finds that this 'other place' is consistently better then the situation becomes less 'I'm copying your homework because I was sick last night' and more 'I'm going to copy your homework every night because its easier to get better grades when you do all the difficult thinking, creating and writing work.'

He actually copied from the NY Post- a paper that is read only on the subways, when wrapping fish and when one is cleaning out the birdcage.
I'm not arguing that what they're doing is right or legal. I was answering the question of what they got out of it.
Tongue-in-cheek, did you get permission from that monk to use him in your OS ID (even though you declred it not to represent you)?
Thanks for the comment, Roberto.
I will send him a model release.
How do you feel about a post popping up taken from an earlier post in the week?
Sheila wrote an excellent post on manners last week on which I commented that even Socrates was quoted as bemoaning the manners of the youth in his day...then I later added, "If Socrates was complaining about the youth, was he complaining about his student, Plato?"
Jon's Sunday post was that very quote, titled "Socrates/Plato..." but without giving Sheila credit for his reading of her post and my comment for his Sunday inspiration, which I thought very cheesy...and I tend to like Jon.
This, though, I found not cool at all and that Sheila deserved a mention.
@ Just Thinking

Without any value judgement about that particular post, there is so much self-aggrandizement, false modesty and just plain extravagant attempts to get attention here on OS, that the minor theft of an idea, if indeed that was what it was, hardly even counts as a sin.

OKay, well, I got to vent, anyway.
@ Just Thinking

There really isn't enough time in the day to pick out and point fingers at any but the most egregious of offenders. I encourage you to look at and participate in elevating the wheat about the chaff.