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Bill Malchisky


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  • LotusLearns -- The Good, The Bad, and Yes, It’s Ugly (Underneath)

    Bill Malchisky  April 20 2012 09:00:12 PM
    Plenty of members in the blogger community are discussing this important topic. I am all for aggregating content to make people find information easier for how they use the web. The issue is that most of the blogger content is protected by copyright. That is sacred. Being a published author, this topic is sensitive for me. Very early in my consulting career, I was on a project where a consultant working for a competing firm and from a country that had few protections for the written word, borrowed the training material from a Lotus class paid for by the customer. He then went around to all of the other customers asking who wanted a copy. I declined. He then asked my trainer who was a CLI. She gave him an attitude adjustment and went to the client. Being a man of integrity, the client immediately saw the issue and fixed the problem. The point is that we take our protections of published work seriously here. For someone to disrespect the author's wishes for how their information is to be disseminated is shameful.

    Another aspect is of the marketing on the site. Do the vendors know that the content on the site is being provided in a manner that is questionable in character? I would guess, and this is conjecture on my part, but most are probably sold on the concept sans seeing the site. If they were involved early on, then most definitely, in my opinion. Curious how the sponsors would respond if they knew their name was appearing adjacent to potentially illegally published content. If the business owner has integrity, I would think the advertising revenue stream would dry-up quickly. But that is a guess on my part, knowing nothing about LotusLearns particular arrangements therein.

    If the CEO of LotusLearns chooses to publish the works from blog sites, then that is fine, so long as she provides attribution. If the author published the information as copyleft, then there is no issue. In grade school, most domestic children were taught that if you use another resource other than your own in your report, research, review, or other writing, you must provide a bibliography, reference page, or footnote section to properly cite your sources. It is sad to contemplate that school children have more sense of responsibility than some adults. To take --- without permission --- what is not one's and publish as one's own is dishonorable, illegal, and equates to cheating, in my opinion (I state this as such as I am not an attorney, nor do I disseminate legal opinions--just my perspective).

    Would it really be that much harder for LotusLearns to append either as a prefix or suffix, a proper cite reference for her content?
    If you consider all of the community heat that site is going to take with its approach, plus all the time the LotusLearns CEO will spend defending its actions, it would be a better use of her and everyone else's time if she would just put the URL, source article name, and blog title for each post. That builds goodwill, earns respect and would make a potentially useful site an asset in our community.
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