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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Original thoughts?

I'm still sorting through this, so bear with me.

That's the point of this: not to "reveal" or "shame and blame" but to try and understand. So, I'm going to be intentionally vague about the particulars and give you just the facts. I'm also going to switch genders from time to time. I apologize if that gets confusing.

A while back, I wrote a short meditation and posted it to my blog. Almost exactly 13 hours later, I was alerted that it appeared on the FaceBook note page of another clergy person, in another diocese far, far away.

This clergy person is the rector of a large congregation and is also adjunct staff at a (non-Episcopal) seminary, teaching, of all things, homiletics.

No credit of authorship was given. Only two paragraphs were "adapted" to that particular person's setting, along with a few minor flourishes. For example, I had said something about going to "daily mass." That was changed to "Mass" - in quotes - a good Protestant distancing from something too obviously Roman Catholic for that priest's tastes.

Everything else, word for word, was my essay. Every. Thing. Else.

SooOOooo, after I took a few deep breaths, I wrote to said priest in a private message on his/her FaceBook page. I simply gave a link to my blog post and asked for an explanation.

About an hour or so later, I was telling Ms. Conroy about it and clicked back on the FB note page to show her. Lo, there appeared the following sentence at the top and bottom of the page, "by THE REV ELIZABETH KEATON, Chatham, NJ"

Yup. Spelled my name wrong and everything.

Mind you. I had not heard word one from said priest. I began to realize that the person was moving rapidly into panic mode.

So, I wrote back again saying, "But, I am not/wasn't in your diocese. You've just made things worse. I'm really trying to understand."

S/he wrote back saying, "I've now posted that this was 'adapted' from an essay written by the Rev Elizabeth Kaeton (spelled correctly and adding some superlatives and lavish compliments), and also written that in my comments so it will go to everyone who has read this piece. So, you have gotten credit."

At that point, there were 14 people who had commented on it, including the bishop.

I wrote back saying, "It's not about getting 'credit'. It's about 'theft'. You stole my 'intellectual property'. Even FB has a policy about that. Look, why don't you call me? Here's my cell phone number. I'll be up until midnight."

S/he wrote back, admitting to the 'theft', apologized and said s/he'd call.

S/he didn't.

She also took down her FaceBook note page.

I spoke to Ms. Conroy and a few very close friends, including my Spiritual Director. The group was evenly divided - half said I should write to the bishop and the dean of the seminary, the other half said to accept the apology and leave it at that.

I confess I didn't sleep well that night.

A little after noon the next day, the priest called. S/he was truly humble and remorseful, saying over and over again how humiliated and embarrassed s/he was, and how "You have to believe I've never done anything like this before and won't ever again."

I have no doubt.

I did offer the suggestion that since these things tend to take on a life of their own, that perhaps s/he should call the Bishop and have her/him hear the story "from the horse's mouth." I suspected things would go better if s/he did, rather than her/him hearing it from someone else. S/he said s/he would.

I also suggested that s/he tell the Dean. S/he repeated that s/he would talk with the Bishop.

I said something about being less concerned about the theft and more concerned about what was going on in his/her soul, and perhaps a conversation with her/his spiritual director might be in order. That passed without comment.

S/he thanked me for being gracious, and sincerely repeated his/her remorse. I told her/him I would pray for him/her.

And, I have. I can only imagine that what s/he has put her/himself through is far worse than any "punishment" that might be stored in the dark corners of my imagination.

I confess that I am still unnerved by this.

On the one hand, I suppose it is a compliment, right? "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and all that. Oddly enough, I'm not flattered. I'm still flabbergasted.

Then again, I enjoy writing. I love words and I love the challenge of expressing something creatively. Sometimes, I get lazy, but mostly I really enjoy the process of expressing an idea or a thought - especially when it arouses someone else to think.

Furthermore, I am from the school of thought that says that when something like this happens, it is a message from the cosmos to look deep into my own soul.

So, I have.

Have I ever plagiarised? Well, I have taken a sentence or two here or there from an AP news report without crediting the source. So, yes. Well, but when an article doesn't carry a byline, it's easy to rationalize, isn't it? I mean, do I really have to say, "as the AP article reports".

Erm . . . okay. Yes, I do.

Have I ever taken a sentence or two here or there from a news report with a byline without crediting the source? Well, to be painfully honest, yes I have.

Did I feel guilty about it? Yes, a twinge here or there. Indeed, as I wrote my admission of guilt, I wanted to rush to say, "But, it wasn't an 'idea'. It was a descriptive sentence. Part of a report of the facts."

Theft is theft. Guilty as charged.

Has my guilt stopped me from being a repeat offender? No. Will it in the future? You bet it will.

Have I ever 'adapted' something - taken an idea and put my own spin on it? Yup. And, I have taken great pains to credit my source.

Have I ever lifted an entire article - word for word or even minor adaptations - and called it my own? No.

Many, many years ago, I did use most of a sermon preached by Barbara Brown Taylor, but I gave her absolute credit. From the pulpit. Before I even started. I said something like, "I want to preach to you today about _____, but here's what Barbara Brown Taylor says and I just couldn't say it any better than this."
In fact, everyday, I "nick" images off the internet like the two that are on this page and don't credit the source.

"Nick". Sounds innocent enough, right. Not "stealing". Not "plagiarism". Goodness know, there is no paucity of images on 'google', seemingly free for the taking.

The above graph is from "Avoiding Plagiarism," Perdue Online Writing lab, which gives the following definition of plagiarism:
"In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source."
So, yeah, I guess I plagiarize artistic ideas most every day.

Pot, meet kettle.

I suppose, then, that I shouldn't be surprised to learn how widespread plagiarism really is in this country.

In fact, the above graph comes from a podcast about a computer software program called "TurnItIn" which scans academic papers for evidence of plagiarism.

I'm sure there are many, many others, but I first learned about this program when I was writing my doctoral thesis. We were carefully instructed on the University's policy on plagiarism and informed that our papers would be submitted to this software before it was even allowed to be read by the faculty.

I must say, that was a pretty powerful deterrent. You can be sure I made absolutely certain that I footnoted everything to a faretheewell (What a royal pain in the behind! No joke!)

I'm told that in certain Methodist conferences, when the candidate for Elder ordination has to give their ordination sermon, it must be in a site with WiFi capabilities because there are folk sitting in the congregation who are randomly 'googling' key phrases or sentences to check for veracity.

Really? Yup, apparently so.

Which is one indicator, I suppose, that plagiarism really is a wide spread problem.

A clergy colleague told me that she was looking for a phrase that had appeared in the previous year's church newsletter. Imagine her surprise when she googled the phrase and up popped the newsletter of another church in a diocese far, far away. There it was. The same essay. Word for word. No attribution, of course.

Over the past few days, I heard one story of a woman from NYC who was a member of a congregation with a pastor who is pretty well known for his excellent preaching. She was visiting a friend in Texas and, while in church on Sunday listening to the sermon, suddenly got a sense of 'homiletical deja vu'.

Turns out, this pastor had taken the sermon whole from her pastor's web page and didn't bother to give him any attribution. Well, not from the pulpit.

Then again, several years back there was a rector of a major congregation here who's parishioner blew the whistle on his repeated, weekly plagiarism of sermons. His explanation to the bishop, as I understand it, was that he was, essentially, a CEO and didn't have time to write thoughtful sermons.

Besides, he reportedly said, "I print out all 'my' sermons and, on the bottom of the written page, I give full credit to the source." Not from the pulpit. But, only after it was delivered and on the printed page for distribution.

So, where is the line and how do you know when you've crossed it?

If it's true that there is no such thing as an 'original thought' does that mean that everything is, in one sense, plagiarism?

I don't know too many bloggers who credit the source of the artful illustrations that accompany their posts.

An interesting note: The very first illustration on this blog post came from an article about plagiarism. I don't know if the author of the post also created the illustration. He doesn't give it credit.

Ironies abound.

Is "everyone does it" an adequate rationale for this practice?

You can bet I'll be crediting more illustrations from now on, if it's at all possible.

I don't have any answers to this question. Well, I suppose I do. Bottom line, plagiarism is a lot like the famous definition of pornography: You know it when you see it. Or, do it.

And, if you know it, don't do it.

At least, that's my thought - original or not.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Good post, Elizabeth. It made me examine my conscience. I'm pretty careful, but I fudge a bit at times. I expect that I'll pay even more attention in the future to giving credit where credit is due. Thanks.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I, too, am pretty careful but sometimes, I just get lazy. No other explanation.

Change starts with me.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

Yes, thanks for this post. I work at a technical institute with engineering students to help them meet their communication requirement. One of the many things my colleagues and I do is teach attribution. The more I work with this issue, the less straightforward it is. Last September, rather than stand in front of the room and wave one of those "Proper Use of Sources" booklets over my head, we worked through some plagiarism case studies. It's a sobering experience for all of us to see how quickly and easily plagiarism can happen.

Thanks for sticking up for your own words and letting us know about it.

Geeklet said...

I am so terribly afraid of plagiarism. I cite almost every sentence if it has an idea I know I had seen elsewhere. I tremble when handing major papers in for professors.

I have even gotten to the building, turned around, gone back to my dorm and dug through to see if there was anywhere else I could possibly, humanly fit another single citation (my boyfriend had to walk me there, watch me hand in the paper, then talk me out of the building, because otherwise, that thing would have never gotten in!

I once suspected something couldn't possibly work, and wrote about it. And then decided that I had to find SOMETHING to cite for it. Even though it was my own thought, I decided it needed citation.

So, if I ever plagiarize, you can be sure it was unintentional. And you can be sure that if anyone ever calls me on a mistake, I'll burst into tears and bemoan how awful I am!

Sue McLean said...

I think you did him/her a profound favor by calling attention to his/her being found out, and pointing out you were concerned about where s/he was spiritually. I hope this person did at least as much soul searching as you obviously have on the matter. The sad thing is, this is only the tip of the iceberg: it's a plagiarism you have learned about. As well as you write, it wouldn't surprise me to find, with a little googling, multiple cases of people lifting material from you. Perhaps a comment in your side info saying you don't mind people copying your material as long as they email for permission first? Might have some deterrent effect.

I'm not surprised you have a conflicted response. It's a personal violation. I would be pretty upsset, too, but I would still return to--oh, yeah, how many times did Christ say we are supposed to forgive?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mary C - it is Very Sobering.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Geeklet - what fuels your anxiety? What are the penalties at your university for plagiarism? Or is it just your own internal moral compass?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sue, Here's what it says on the top upper left hand corner of my blog:

"The opinions expressed in this Blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Episcopal Church of St. Paul, Chatham, the Diocese of Newark or those of any local, national or other organizations I serve. As public domain, anything here can be reproduced or linked to another site, but it would be a courtesy to let me know and a kindness to make appropriate attribution."

Didn't seem to deter my clergy colleague.

I'm thinking of adding something about Plagiarism - like, maybe the definition.

Might help. Can't hurt.

IT said...

It is likely that your plagiarist has done it before. And will do it again. That's our experience of college students. They ask "Why is it such a big deal?" (We had one who plagiarised his/her own roommate. Same paper for the same class!) They get caught up. And then they have to keep doing it. And they assure us its the first time....

Pictures? I admit I'm guilty. I usually try to link the picture to its source, but I do fail at that. But I konw that MY pics get picked up and I don't mind about it. I mind if my words are picked up. A lot.

So for words, I'm really careful. But I need to be more careful with the pics.

Verge of Jordan said...

If you need photos for the blog (probably not as specific as the chart you included, but they have quite a few) you can purchase them for just a few $ and publish them without credit from stock photo sites like I use it for websites all the time, and they even have a barter system so you can earn credits by posting your own photos.

JCF said...

Ouch, this is timely (something on my conscience).

At the parish I was visiting (out of town) this past Holy Week, I heard a very good sermon at the Easter Vigil (which surprised me somewhat: my longtime rector at my home parish just proclaims John Chrysostom's Easter Sermon at the GVE every year.)

The next day, when visiting my usual Episcopal sites, a blog that every Sunday publishes a "guest sermon" had it RIGHT THERE.

Now, it's POSSIBLE that the rector at [parish I was visiting] SAID the name of the sermon's author. And it's also POSSIBLE he meant to say it, and it just slipped his mind [FWIW, I haven't checked this parish's website, to see if he's posted it]. At any rate, it left a bad taste in my mouth, to what was otherwise a glorious GVE (w/ an actual baptism: Yay!)

Should I attempt to follow this up, or as our friend It's Margaret says (quotes!) "Leave it lay where Jesus flang it"?

[FWIW, it's really unlikely I'll be back at this parish again.]

Saskia Tielens said...

I'm in grad school so I'm still stuck in the hell that is writing papers with the dragon of plagiarism breathing down my neck. I'd hate to do the same thing, so I try really hard to credit everything and everyone. But when I'm in a hurry, sure, I'll plagiarize a bit. (I'd hasten to add that it's careless plagiarism, not intention stealing, but you know, plagiarism is plagiarism). I do have to say, that I have started to credit photos I pluck from google for my blog. And I often use parts of other people's blog posts, but I always link to them and usually ask permission first.

Doorman-Priest said...

"Is "everyone does it" an adequate rationale for this practice?"

No, but as you say, pot meet kettle.

This has given me pause for much thought about how casually we can steal ideas from others without thought.

the cajun said...

Usually what I do is put a link to the source material when I excerpt information. Especially other bloggers I read most often as well as media outlets. That way the reader can get as much information on the subject as they may want.
My opinion is just that.I've been quoted a few times on other blogs and it shows up on sitemeter when that happens.

just another duck on the pond said...

I don't know how one can help paraphrasing or semi-quoting others with the constant reading and writing cheek by jowl on this thing... but i think your copyright/disclaimer statement is a good and gracious standard for all. no need for further instruction or warning. we're all frightened enough as it is --bless the geeklet -- and so to err on the side of too much forgiveness, if that's possible, might loosen the fabric of truth in places ... but perhaps a greater good would be served to ease the world's anxiety level a skosh? easy for me to say, eh? i'm not so published!

but as much as i wonder some days about the need for so much precision, i so thoroughly enjoy the detail of your commentaries! i give thanks for your written thoughts.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you all for your comments. This has provided a holy impulse for some real soul searching.

Reminds me of Jesus saying, "Let the one who is without sin, caste the first stone."

heartofruth said...

I think you handled it quite well, in a calm and rational and prayerful way, every step of the way. This is a primo example of mature conflict resolution. :)


rick allen said...

I am no expert in this field, but, I believe, in placing your work in the "public domain," you are implicitly giving permission to reproduce it without attribution. Asking for the "courtesy" of attribution is a way of saying, "if you wish."

You might consider removing the "public domain" language, and changing your statement to note that your work may only be reproduced (beyond fair use) with express attribution.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ruth - well, "do unto others . . ." IS the Golden Rule, right?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Rick - GREAT suggestion. Thank you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, I have changed the wording of my request which now asks for my express permission to reproduce or link to my blog.

I guess I don't believe that will really make a difference, especially if plagiarism is as widespread as I'm learning it is.

My father used to say, "Locks on a door only keep an honest man honest."

I'm understanding the deeper meaning of those words as I get older.

Visit said...

As one whose photos are an integral part of PhotoMeditations page on my Soulistry website, I echo everything you've written here, Elizabeth. I hope that all would remember that images are under copyright as well as text. Sooooo many times I've seen my photos used on other sites/blogs without accreditation - and not only that, but my "PhotoMeditations" and "Soulistry" coined words, too. So, what to do? Part of me is flattered and part of me is, to be honest, ticked-off. Questions I ask of myself when this happen ... do I create for me or for others and if for me, then why do I care what happens after the image/text/word is created? ... if I create for others, is it to make money (that would be great!) ... or is it as part of my ministry? And, if offered as part of my ministry, then that reopens the $ issue - some ministry has financial benefits; some does not. Still wrestling with all of these.

Jim said...

I try to be fanatic about giving credit. I have been known to use, "I have seen this in multiple sources as 'general knowledge' and cannot accurately ascribe it" when I am not sure. And on my blog, pictures not my own carry a link to the source as a routine; not because I am particularly good about it but because I learned how to do the HTML Href command befer I learned how to embed. ;-)

None-the-less I am sure I fail to give someone credit for something from time to time.

I also have to deal with musical copywrites and that gets really slippery. If I play/sing in an ASCAP licensed club, I turn in my playlist and it is the club's responsibility to send in the royalties. Hymns in churches are generally covered by the hymnbook's license but what if as a folk musician I use an alternative tune or setting and do not know the source? If I am doing something not in their hymnbook, the music director and I talk and determine who owes the fee in any.

We folkies play by sound as often as we do by score so that happens that I 'pick up' a tune or lyric. I frequent a couple of Public Doman research sites a lot, but have I ever failed to pay for covering a song -- probably.

The web has made this worse than it ever was before I think. I worked for a large software company whose manuals clearly prohibited publication, except within the client's internal systems. The manuals were so frequently dumped onto client web sites we consultants used to pass site urls to each other for fast reference on older versions. I was really upset when one client who was way behind upgraded and took down the manual I had been using for another.

I have a legit license for each and every piece of software on this laptop. For some reason however, stealing software, especially from MicroSoft has largely been considered no big deal for many people.

You open a non-trivial can of worms with this post. A conservative blog we both know routinely ignores the published constraints of the HoB/D list.

It is what it is out there I guess. I think your and Mimi's self-described occasional lapse is a lot different from deliberate policies.


Janet Detter Margul said...

And a note from the "other side" now:

I create illustrations. I come from a "word" background (journalism, was a reporter for years and years, then an editor) where each proper attribution gave my story that much more credibility, but after retiring, way too young, found that illustration and publication design was my true love. So yes, I usually do know when an illustration has been "nicked" from another source, I use the same sources for ideas.

The first theft of mine that I knew about was a design I'd done for a kids' camp T-shirt, a few years later it came back to me in my water bill as an illustration for a city celebration. I've had a few larger thefts and many many smaller ones since then. Sometimes I confront privately, more usually I just left it lay where Jesus flang it (do I have to attribute Margaret? I always do, it gives this reporter added credibility, but do I have to?)

So I can see "accidental" stealing of an idea or concept, I'm sure I've been guilty, no, I KNOW I've been guilty of not knowing where I got an idea or inspiration, but knowing it was somewhere in the last week or so of reading. Knowing you can't copyright an idea doesn't really help that uneasy "wish I could remember where" feeling. But one really can't have all that much question about if they nicked an illustration. And yet that seems to be much the lesser theft.

And perhaps it is the lesser theft, I know every now and then I think of starting a blog of "favorite blog posts" with a link and short description of a post elsewhere, then my own illustration of it. But I don't do it, I decide it's lame because only the illustrations would be original with me. That's generally the "throw away" part, isn't it? And mostly, my illustrations don't stand alone very well.

And no, before anyone asks, I don't remember anybody here in this discussion ever using one of mine. For anyone here, I'd be thrilled and flattered and would probably tell you so, thanks for the honor. That's the attitude I try to keep for any blogger "borrowing". Imitation being sincere flattery. Yay! I've arrived! I'm good enough to steal! But mostly I fail.

(word verification today is "eyingue" as in "eying you"? A grumpy attitude phrase to go with my general grumpy attitude today.)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, I seem to have hit a nerve here. I can't imagine what it's like to have your visual, artistic "intellectual property" stolen. Since I'm not a visual artist, I can only imagine it's as flabbergasting as having your words taken. And yes, flattering, in a way.

But, not when I see the blatant, strident, unrepentant 'nicking' from HOB/D on places like Stand Firm.

All this has just firmed my resolve to try the best I possibly can to give credit where credit is obviously due.

Thank you.

rick allen said...

"I guess I don't believe that will really make a difference, especially if plagiarism is as widespread as I'm learning it is."

It's just a matter, I think, of asserting that what's yours is yours, and keeping some control over it. That doesn't keep anyone else from taking it. But if, for example, you wanted to publish your work in a more conventional medium, like a book, I don't know what your publisher would say about work that you had previously, essentially, donated to the public domain.

With personal advocacy there's the fact that most of us pontificating on the net don't do it for money, but because we have something to say. Protecting intellectual property is well and good, but we want people to hear us. One dreams of someone from a NY publishing house calling up and saying, "These are the greatest essays since Montaign; is a million dollar retainer enough?" But most of us are happy with a simple response.

I have one friend who has come across her paintings reproduced as placemats from China. It's pure theft, but there's little she can do about it.

But I suppose it's also worth keeping in mind that copyright is a very recently-developed proprietary concept. Shakespeare had no copyright on his plays, nor Mozart on his operas. From our point of view neither was adequately compensated for what are now recognized as supreme works of genius. But they made them anyway.

Matthew said...

At my church, we sometimes read "canned" sermons from the pulpit (without attribution). However, we pay for these services and the parish knows it. We pay for two such services -- one from liturigcal publications and another called "proclaim." I suppose we tell the congregation we are reading a canned subscription based sermon but I'm not sure we provide the author. Come to think of it, I cannot recall if the weekly shipments from the publisher list who the authors are. I'll have to look more carefully at them the next time I use one. I'm not trying to be an advertisement for these services (because they are expensive and not always that great) but at least you are paying for it and the authors/publishers are aware that they are designed to be used for that purpose so no one is a unaware of what is happening.

David |Dah • veed| said...

As the war on drugs has proliferated I spend more time at home. Every trip "Outside" is planned and then well executed and never spare of the moment. So I spend more time online. I am a level four participant in the Apple Discussions where I help folks who are having issues with their Macs and now iPhones/iPods/iPads. I have created a lot of boilerplate because we tell folks the same thing over and over. I also speak Spanish, so I have had to translate everything I advise into English. I often find that someone else has said it better than I have translated, so I nick the best of everyone else's stuff. But I give attribute to my source always in my on-the-edge way, "The above list was mostly stolen from Elizabeth."

My level four and five friends in the Apple Discussions have told me that I am almost the only one who does it. The other day we were discussing a participant in the Apple Discussions that we find is lifting things from all of us and posting them on a personal webpage where he makes money off of our ideas. That is not sitting very well with the lot of us right now.

Janet Detter Margul said...

You're right there, it is a "take your breath away" feeling, and not the good kind.

All I did was complain before, now let me give help in creating a fast and truly yours illustration for those not talented in such. Or really for those who don't believe they ARE talented, for if you have an idea, you CAN find and put together elements to illustrate it. You just have to believe you can.

Do this to make a quick and easy and almost always stunning illustration:

* Go to a photo exchange site, my favorite is, put in your keywords and then look through the photos you're offered. Look especially for photos where the creator is asking for just photo credit and a url where it is used. You can definitely afford that!

* Also look for photos where there is a quadrant that is lighter than the main image, or darker than. This quadrant becomes YOUR canvas.

* Put your quote/verse/title in contrasting type in your quadrant. Quoting yourself will work just fine here.

Voila! You've got your own original illustration! The photographer will be thrilled to see your use, and will drag many others of friends and family over to your blog to see it. You will get compliments on it out the wazoo. And perhaps someday you will see that I'm right, you ARE a talented illustrator, at the very least of your own writing.

Anonymous said...

Granted this is a public domain but have you looked into asserting a copyright on your posted work in this area? It might be worth your time.

I'm just a contracts attorney so I cannot advice you in this realm. But I sure would consult an intellectual property attorney to protect my property and my livelihood.

I come to your blog for inspiration. Generally, I get it. Obviously others do too. Protect your livilihood. I hope to make it to NJ one day to hear you in person-because of your blog.
sign me loving your blog in cyber world. Please protect it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

This has given me so much to consider. I suspect even if my stuff were copyrighted, it wouldn't make much difference, but I certainly will give it a thought.

Elaine C. said...

I spent a large portion of my life in academia ... plagiarism has become a big deal, and programs such as you mention became important. Nonetheless, students still did it. I had one pair of roommates turn in papers with the same paragraphs, only in different order, as if I wouldn't notice.

I read many sources as I prepare for every sermon. I worry that I don't do enough attribution. I know some clergy who refused to post their sermons online out of the fear that their attributions will be incomplete. On the other hand, some refuse to post because they worry that their ideas and phrases will be stolen.

I remember hearing of a priest who was defrocked for such stealing.

I'm in the midst of a argument with my congregational leadership right now. I've said I'm uncomfortable with recordings my sermons being posted on the web for anyone to listen to. One vestry member insists I have no say over my sermons -- that they aren't my intellectual property, but work produced for the parish which it now owns ... which further alienates and worries me ...

IT said...

In my academic life (I'm a scientist) we have to explain to students that there is basically NO statement of fact in a research paper that is not attributed to another.

I agree that a statement of expectation is a good idea. On my professional website, i point out that folks are free to use my words and images as long as they cite them properly.

We have real problems with student from other countires, particularly Asian nations, that have a different concept of attribution.

Paul Powers said...

Please forgive the OT, but prayers ascending for Dah-Veed and his compatriots for the hardships they are experiencing due to the drug wars. And it probably wouldn't hurt for us in the U.S. to acknowledge that we have contributed to the problem by creating a market for the druglords.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I apologize for being remiss in acknowledging many responses here, personally, but you are right, Paul - Dahveed's post deserves a special acknowledgment. I can't imagine the day to day horror, my love. My prayers are with you. I am honored that my words might provide a momentary distraction.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Elizabeth--I recently sent this quote to a friend who found that her work had been stolen by a colleague:

Imitation is the highest form of pissing me off. Quit stealing my content and violating my copyright.
~Jen T. Verbumessor


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Doxy. Made me laugh out loud.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Madre, have you heard of or seen the licensing/copyright schemes suggested through Creative Commons? You might look them over and pursue one that meets your particular needs to protect your writing.

Thanks to all for your prayers and concern for us.

I will mention that ours is a little different lot from that of our many of our neighbors here in Monterrey, only because we are viewed as a source of money. When I leave home now, it is in carefully planned trips with other members of my local family and an armed escort (also family). We are not individually wealthy, but we are from an agricultural co-operative village of extended family, and so corporately have money and are subject to kidnap for ransom. Those situations almost always end tragically here in Mexico. We have buried three extended family members who were unwise or simply caught off guard over the last five years. As does every member of my family over 18, men & women, I now personally carry two weapons at all times. I put that off for as long as I could until I realized that I put others in my family at risk for me so a few years ago I had to learn to use a sidearm. And I can use them with accurate and deadly aim. Unfortunately, if you must use a weapon here in Mexico you must draw it with intent to kill, if not to save yourself, at least for those whom you love.

Participating in Anglican blogs has filled a hole in my life of having more contact with Christian people. We attend services less often than in the past because it is not always fair or safe for parishes here when a family rolls up for worship in an armed convoy of four SUV-type 4×4s, ready for small arms warfare!

Erika Baker said...

Sometimes it's really hard who to find out where something truly originated. On one memorable occasion I was really keen to find the originator of a piece of news that was spreading on Facebook because I wanted to make sure I thanked the right person for their courage.
The source I started with thanked the source they had got the information from, who in turn thanked the one they had received it from..... and in the end it took me almost 3 days to discover who had truly been the originator.

How much effort do we have to put in to verify that the accreditation we discover is correct?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Dahveed, for that link. I now have two resources - one for protection for my own stuff, and one for the protection of visual artists. This was sooo worth it.

I have put you and your family on my parish prayer list and will keep you in the daily prayers of my heart.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Erika - I fear we have become a very lazy society.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Very thoughtful reflection well worth pondering!

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Thanks, Term Papers. I hope you've been footnoting. ;~)