Monday, February 20, 2012

Blogging and posting your work on the Internet

We hardly give a second thought to how easily our words or pictures on our blogs can be stolen and used for profit. One of our Netwest members, Sam Hoffer, has created a food blog ( Her comments come from readers all over the world who find her Carolina Kitchen fun to read with colorful photos of the dishes she prepares. She, like all of us bloggers, could be a target for some unscrupulous people out to make a buck off our work.

According to, a woman from Thailand copied recipes and photos of another food blogger and put them into an e-book, which she sold on Kindle. The food blogger would never have known except for a reader who informed her of the plagiarism.

To read the entire article click on the link below.

Today a Netwest member asked if he posted his writing on his blog, would that hinder his chances of having this work published later. This is a question I've heard over and over. I’d like to hear what your experience has been? Have you posted your poems or prose on your blog and later submitted this work to a publisher? Was the publisher averse to publishing writing that had been on your blog?

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  1. It is a problem Glenda. I'm familiar with both of these bloggers mentioned in the article. Their blogs are very popular and some of the best in the industry.

    So far everyone is very frustrated and there are no clear cut answers as to what to do if someone steals your work.

    I hope problems such as this don't stop good writers from writing a blog. Blogging is a very rewarding experience and problems of some kind always go with the territory.

    As to whether writing something on your blog will hinder your chances for publication later, I too would love to know the answer to that.

  2. As a rule, anything appearing on the internet has indeed been published, blog articles included. That doesn't prohibit these works from appearing in magazines, but only if the magazine editors accept reprints (most don't).

    However, these articles can certainly be compiled into a book as long as acknowedgment is given to the original publisher.

  3. Any writing that has been posted on the Internet is published writing. If a future publisher does not accept previously published work, then having published a piece on a blog or website presents a conflict.

    Plagiarism indeed has become an increasing problem with the advent of the Internet. Though there are laws that prohibit copyright violations, etc. it is difficult to enforce them, especially in the global community. Technology is more advanced than the legal system.

    Anyone who is very protective of their work should not publish it on the Internet. Too, when building a website, you can use a feature that prevents others from copying and pasting your work. Ideas cannot be copyrighted, though, which makes "stealing" ideas legal.

    There is more information on copyright laws on the Internet.

  4. Blogging can indeed be very rewarding, but it's true that the internet has made just about everything we blog, facebook,& tweet available to anybody and everybody. And I've begun to worry about that. I've found a lot of satisfaction in featuring other writers' work and trying to generate notice for them, but I'm beginning to realize that time I spend blogging keeps me from the quiet of writing and thinking. Or just staring out the window, which is just as important to a writer as putting pen to paper, as Lee Smith has said. I'm cutting back on my blog-time to spend more time reading and working up several new manuscripts. I think I'll feel better about blogging when I limit myself to once or maybe twice weekly.
    As the other commenters say, work posted on the internet counts as a publication. I'm glad to know that there is a way to prevent cutting and pasting when one creates a website. I'd like to know where to find more about how to do that.
    Thanks for this post and the responses.

  5. While the internet makes it physically easier (a la cut and paste) to plagiarize, it also makes it easier to get caught. A Google search of your title or text in the document would find the plagiarized material.

    I really don't think this is a big issue. I've been publishing on the internet since its inception, and I haven't seen any reason to fear digital publishing over print publication. I'm not saying plagiarism never happens on the internet, but I don't think it happens any more frequently than on other media.

  6. Thanks Robert, for reminding us that we can search google for any steals.

  7. If your writing is on the www, consider it published.I notice in Poets and Writers Magazine that this is often stated in the submission guidelines.

    When I publish the work of southern and Appalachian poets on my site I always do so with their permission and always ask them to send work that has already been published so they will not be giving their new poems away before trying a print magazine first. I always credit the mag that first published the work to help keep copyrights straight.

    I like reading the comments I've read here today. Most of you know me and know I'm very upset right now with Blogger and with facebook. WWW could have been the grandest thing but it is not working for me right now and soon when their new guidelines go into effect, I will probably be bumped.

    About stealing - Someone posted Images of Nancy Simpson with a few of me and many others who are not me including some of my friends and OJ Simpson too. I just saw the same thing done with a friend of mine's image page and it is filled with pictures of kitchens and one or two of her. When that happened to me I tried to get Yahoo to take it down. They said they couldn't. Yesterday I posted a photo of Kathryn Kirkpatrick and right away facebook said anyone could tag it. I took the extra time to say," Do Not Tag. Picture belongs to Kathryn Kirkpatrick."

    Internet could have been the grandest thing, but it has become shabby in my opinion. I've got to find a way to get out. For the time I spend and the little, very little response I get, it is clear for me that it is a losing situation. Like Kay, my dedication has been aimed at promoting poetry and poets. With so few comments, the poets I promote probably have a rejected sinking feeling in their souls.

  8. As I read the posted comments I began to wonder if there is a clear-cut line between “published” and “unpublished.” It seems to me that the concept of “publishing” emerged with the printing press, which provided the sole means for conveying a written text to a “public.” Thus, the printing press and the rise of republican government augmented each other. This model, enshrined in our First Amendment, persisted as long as the sole means of reaching “the” public was through printed text on paper (the “press”). For this whole period publics were constrained audiences or congresses, limited by geography and education. Except in large cities, a single press was linked to a single public. This was the model of publishing we inherited at the dawn of the media age. In the twentieth century publics proliferated and so did the media of reaching them – radio, movies, television, and then the internet. It seems to me we have to ask, now, what it means to “publish” something. Consider these types and levels of “publication” – handing out fifty copies of a text at a workshop, placing a text on a blog that reaches sixty people and leaving it up indefinitely, doing the same and removing it in thirty days, putting an audio reading of the text on a blog, issuing a text as print-on-demand, etc. It may be time to define more precisely what we mean by this act of reaching a public in a world of many media and many publics. Otherwise we are forced to choose between hiding a text in our study and putting it on a paper product distributed by an independent entity. I’m not sure we really want that.

  9. I am delighted to see your comments on this subject. We hear of so many nightmares caused by the Internet these days, it is no wonder we feel threatened.
    Recently I saw my name on a post heading but when I went to the site it was vulgar and distasteful.
    I don't know how these things can be undone.
    Bill, you bring up a good question. Will there someday be another word for posting on the Internet instead of publishing?

    Like Nancy, I never post on my blog anything I plan to send out to a print magazine. And I ask others to only post work that has been published.

    I agree, Kay, the internet has taken way too much of my writing time. I am planning to use more self discipline in this area.

  10. There are ways to discourage theft and unauthorized use of web page content, particularly images.

    This requires changing the underlying HTML code, but this is not as technical as it sounds and can be done by most anyone willing to read a little.

    I suggest reading the following three articles:

    Tips and Techniques to Protect Images on the Internet:

    Blogspot 101: Keep Your Photos from Opening when People Left-Click on Them:

    Blogspot 101: Right-Click Disable (preventing right button click on mouse to download an image):

    The last two are for Blogspot users. If you do a Google search on "prevent image download wordspace" you can search for other blogging software techniques.

    Also, there are similar articles found in Google searches that show you how to prevent the text of a web pages from being downloaded.

    None of this guarantees that plagiarism won't occur, but it does guarantee to make it harder to steal material.

  11. Wow, Robert. Good information. I don't search Google enough, I suppose. Thanks for sharing those ideas.

  12. I have always wondered about this....your post and the comments have given me food for thought! thank you!
    i am your newest follower...pls follow back if you can.

  13. Thanks, Glenda for your original post and to everyone for their follow-up comments. As a new writer to the publishing scene, I would welcome a class on the feeding and care of writer's blogs. Hint, hint.

  14. Barb, we will look into holding a blogging class.
    We held one some years ago and several of our members started their blogs from that class.
    With enough interest, we can hold another class.
    If any Netwest members besides Barb are interested in learning more about blogs, let it be known here.

  15. This came from NCWN today.

    Deadline: March 15
    Award: $30 / $20 / $15 and publication
    Fee: $10 (contest only) $20 (includes subscription)
    Submit up to three poems, no more than 50 lines each. No previously published poems, not on the web, not on your blog, not on your mom’s Facebook Wall! All contest participants will receive a free Post-Art for the month they enter.


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