We’ve noticed recently that there have been some websites posting content from our blog and others without properly providing credit to the originator of the content. Whether it’s intentional or simply due to lack of blogging experience, we think it’s important to acknowledge some of the ethical guidelines around blogging. With The Hunger Games news starting to pick up, now seems to be the perfect time to cover this issue.
We’ve seen this process play out firsthand in the Twilight fansite community, and the Twilight Lexicon has addressed this issue previously with a fantastic and comprehensive post about blogging courtesy.
Generally speaking, if you’re posting an original article/image/video by a fansite/blogger, the credit needs to go to them. If the source is a news organization like MTV or EW, the credit needs to go to those organizations. In both situations, you should only post a portion of their article/post, and then provide a link back to the original site for readers to see the full story. Also, if a fansite found an article or post that was more obscure or unique, then crediting the source and a hat tip to the fansite who posted it would be appropriate.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the advice provided by Twilight Lexicon; to read their full post, which we’d recommend, visit their site here.
1. Quoting people is cool, but lifting their entire story isn’t. If you quote something state where you got it and link to that primary source.
2. Limit your quotes to no more than 250-300 words or so, maybe a little more if it’s a very long interview or article. Taking the entire article from another site and then putting “source” with a link to the originating site isn’t fair.
3. Using photos to illustrate your article is great, but don’t take all of them especially if the article you are citing is a photo spread. Take one photo and link back to the main source so that people can see more.
4. The exception to all of this is press releases. They can be quoted in full. In fact they’d love it if you didn’t edit them because it’s free PR for them.
5. Don’t tag photos unless you took them. You may have put them in a gallery, but they aren’t yours unless you paid for them or took them yourself.
6. Don’t reload videos on to your YouTube channel.Take for example a site we frequently link to, Collider. Steve from Collider does not region block his videos. He has his own player that loads an ad first and then you can see his interview, feature, or whatever. Steve needs that ad rev to off-set his business expenses.
7. Bloggers depend on readership and ad revenue. It’s expensive to run a blog particularly one with lots of traffic … So if people don’t do a reasonable quote and link back, we lose money, and that loss of money prevents us from doing stories.
8. What do you do if you get ripped off. Personally we opt for the contact the offending site at their publicly stated email address. Most sites that are reputable have a relatively easy to find “contact us” link on their site. Be polite but firm. The person who owns the blog may not realize what one of their employees or volunteer staffers did. If then they don’t fix it, don’t return your emails, or get snotty about it, then we’d go for the calling them out in public and embarrassing them routine. Generally speaking though, it shouldn’t get that far.
9. If you find something other than direct contact from the source, stumbling on it via visiting the main source or via their Twitter, or via a Google Alert that leads directly to that site, give a shout out to the person or site who tipped you off. So if a fan saw it and tipped you off, give them a “Thanks” at the end of your post. If you saw it on another site, either say “Thanks to name of site” or “Via name of site” at the end of your article.
Thanks to the Lex for letting us share this great informational post.