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Respecting copyright – why do I bother? 23 June 2008

Posted by admin in blogs, miscellaneous, personal.
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I think copyright is very important. The fundamental principle for me is that I expect my own work to be treated with respect and properly attributed, and I extend the same courtesy to others. When I want to use copyrighted material I always ask first.

And I’m wondering why I bother.

I’ve just been through my list of copyright requests pending and find that I am still waiting for a response from no fewer than eight organizations. In each case I’ve identified the item I wish to use (images, invariably), explained why and how I want to use it, made various guarantees that any permission granted won’t be abused, and framed the whole thing in the politest possible terms. And I’ve had nothing back from any of them.

In the worst case I’ve been waiting three months, and sent three follow-up messages. The rest come in at between six weeks and two weeks. These are not one-person operations: the organizations concerned are all large, have substantial budgets and full-time staff, advertise e-mail addresses through which they can be contacted, and plaster copyright protection notices all over their content. Some are government organizations, some are private companies, two are educational institutions.

They insist that you contact them to get permission to reproduce any part of their content, and when you do, they ignore you. Great.

Why do I bother?

Because it’s the right thing to do. But you can understand why I ask.

(I won’t name any of the guilty parties here. Yet.)

The Volcanism Blog