The Burlington Free Press has shown it’s dark side. Instead of welcoming a chance to share in the discussion online, the Free Press has closed down the use of its articles on blogs. This is ridiculous and shameful. As long as there are quotations and citations, I don’t see how this is any different from writing an article, or, gasp, news story. Oh, reporters don’t always have to share their sources . . . but that’s clearly different.
One of my favorite blogs is throwing in the towel: VT Politics. Not because the free press gave them a hard time, they had other reasons. But I find it curious that in their notice about discontinuing the blog, they bring up the Free Press controversey. Here is a quotation from their blog. I will attach a citation at the end because, hey, us bloggers just steal, steal, steal . . .
VT Politics said:
“We would also like to note that we will no longer be displaying material from the Burlington Free Press. The editors there, despite our citation, links and references did not appreciate our re-printing of material. We eventually realized that this was a copyright infraction and the two groups came to a decision that it would be best not to print any material from the Free Press, in the future. Which is totally fine, and we understand their concern. We will provide links to articles from the Free Press, however, we will not post any material. This will be our strategy for all our news stories for the future. It will save room and also headaches.” Link
It’s really sad because the Free Press has a lot to gain by being quoted on blogs. Just think, people are actually reading their newspaper and the newspaper has tons of free links being generated online. But they don’t want it . . .
I can only think that somebody there doesn’t understand blogs and just assumes that blogging is about ripping off other people’s work and plaigarizing. It happens, but the same happens in magazines, books, newspapers, etc. There is a right way and a wrong way to cite an article. Perhaps it’s time to develop a standardized citation guide for all bloggers who wish to quote from other sources. Just a thought. Maybe it would help all of those tightly wound free press folk to relax a little.