Why I Held My Breath Before I Screamed Copyright Infringement

I use Google Analytics to track how many people visit my web pages. Yesterday, when I checked, I saw there had been a big jump in views of my Bukisa pages.

When I dug deeper, I found that the increase was all from one article I posted back at the beginning of February: A Review of “Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – And Why We Believe Them Anyway”. Almost all of the referrals came from one blog post: http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/15/foxes-hedgehogs-and-prediction/

While she did provide a link to my article, she also quoted almost two-thirds of it. That left me with mixed feelings. On one hand her post had generated more views of my post than I would have had otherwise. On the other hand, she deterred many people from clicking through to my article when she posted such a large chunk of what I wrote.

My initial gut reaction was to complain to her about copyright infringement and ask her to remove what I wrote from her post. I do make money when people read my articles; not much money but in principle I lost money. Her blog had more comments than I had visits, so the difference in my revenue might have been substantial.

Before I acted, I thought over how I should react. It was true that she had copied my material with out permission. However, how did it really affect me? By posting my material, she did send some people to my way. In the long run, success comes from the slow build up of followers and supporters. If I lashed out at her, or anyone else that quoted my work, it might just cut off the opportunity for potential supporters to find me.

I read several articles on the web that suggested that people help you when they quote your work. As long as they link to you, you will benefit from the post.

I decided not to complain. I did post a comment on her blog though, where I noted my authorship, added some thoughts related to earlier comments and promoted my short story The Parasol.

When I reference other people’s posts, I give a brief description of the article and its relevance, along with the link. Less often, I include a direct quote. It would be nice if everyone did it that way.

Anyway, I think I did the right thing.

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