Cyberworld Etiquette And Kleptoparasitism

By Harold Stearley at Earthwalking

Kleptoparasitism. I really love this word. And in the world of the written word, I will equate it with misappropriation and copyright infringement.

I started out writing a long and intricate post about this topic, a problem for my legal mind, and I decided that it was way too much. So I boiled it all down to this:

It is not proper, courteous, or lawful to “borrow” someone else’s work unless you have permission and provide a proper attribution. Without those, the “borrowing” becomes an illegal theft. And even if someone has our permission, if our materials are used in a manner to create a “false light” appearance of ourselves, then that too is prohibited.

Not surprisingly, I have written about this subject before. See my post Lighthouses and Kleptoparasitism .

Below are some links offering suggestions for how to protect your work.

Copyright Infringement – What to Do

How I Dealt With the Theft of My Intellectual Property

What to do When Your Content is Stolen

Prevent Content Theft

Perspectives on Watermarks

This last link, below, appears to be fake. I could be wrong, but it is full of typos, bad grammar, poor usage – highly suspicious – I don’t recommend using it.  It seems to me to be a mimic that looks like a real WP product.


WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click

And please feel free to share your experiences or insights on this topic.

In Metta

Photo: An Indian Paintbrush (the plant), with a bit of editing fun, and then my giant logo superimposed upon it. Is this what we need to do to protect our work from theft?

Kelptoparasitism, is simply where one animal steals another animal’s food or prey after that animal caught, collected, prepared, or stored that food source in some fashion. It’s a common trait, even exercised by this country’s national symbol – the Eagle.

You can see the analogy here. We writers capture words, collect them, prepare them by arranging them and putting our heart into them, and then store them on paper or digitalize them on electronic media to share with others. And then the scavengers show up.

26 thoughts on “Cyberworld Etiquette And Kleptoparasitism”

  1. Good timing on your copyright post Harold. Perhaps this in response to a copy infringement of your own written work lately? Either way I have a question about sharing posts. About 2 months ago I started getting comments from “Outosego” stating “liked and shares sir” with a twitter link below. Since then maybe 10 more of my posts received the same message.

    When I visited the site I found it contained a flipboard where my posts and a multitude of others were offered up as part of his/her collection. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes there was a link-back to my post on my site but his site seems to be the overall bigger beneficiary. Fact is, instead of writing his own content he simply chooses the best posts he likes from others and re-offers them under his brand.

    I’m assuming because of the multitude of other written posts on his site that this is legal and above board? What if I contact him and ask him to cease using my posts on his site? Must he then concur? So far my research indicates there’s not much I can do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can indeed instruct him to take down your posts. Enforcing this can be difficult however. WP seems to want to stay out of it, and prefers we initiate a copyright suit. I think that is irresponsible for the host site. I have seen blogs like this before too where they have no original content at all. That person should have asked for permission to use your posts, even if he links back to your site. For starters, you should start adding a byline to your work so it can be seen in the article preview. I have just started doing this. I may even start interjecting them into various parts of the story. If they link back to your site, you can take down your post. This is unfortunate though because we want our readers to be able to read our work. If however, you believe that your work is getting fair exposure and it’s clear you are the author, you may wish to have your posts out there. The proper thing is to ask permission and then “re-blog” so it is clear where the original source is. Or at least for them to make it clear that they are not the author, If you have seen George F’s page you’ll note he only keeps his posts up for a limited time, and only a limited number appear. He has done this consistently, but he has left his last couple of posts up for a while. I can understand this approach now and I will probably start using this tactic now too, But it a shame that, as usual, a few morons destroy a good thing.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks Harold! Some good feed back there to consider. I was wondering what a proper byline would entail? Do you have an example and where to place it? He also uses my topic head photo so I started putting my web site Id on them if that makes a difference? Thanks man! And yes I visit George’s site often but never noticed his post length time. Something to consider but as you said, inconvenient to my readers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay thanks! I’ve been putting mine at the end of the posts so maybe I’ll move them up since he uses my first intro paragraph as a teaser. I re-checked his site and he does link my post as READ MORE and does appropriately have “BY WORD OF WAYNE.COM” under my topic photo. Like I said, I’m just not sure how I feel about his using my posts yet. It is advertising, still? Anyways I should be doing a better job overall protecting my content and now thanks to your suggestions I now know how. Thanks Harold!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At least that person is making it clear who the author is, and no problem on the suggestions. In my latest encounter, I commented on the article thanking the person for sharing my work 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, he does seem to be doing it right if benefiting off of someone else’s work is considered right? Looks like I’ve still got a lot to learn yet in this mad, mad WP world!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Another thing I’m doing Wayne is backing up all of my work in triplicate. The time and date stamps the computer puts on them will help if a dispute over copyright ever does occur. And I might take posts down and re-post them at a future date too

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s happened a couple of times. Most recently with one of my remembrance stories. I’m adapting. It is very distasteful, especially since all one has to do is ask permission to republish and provide an appropriate attribution. Out right theft – and claiming credit for someone else’s work, well that kind of crap sort of fucks things up for all of us

      Liked by 2 people

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