Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blogs quoting blogs quotinig blogs... Once again, what about copyright?..

As I see it now, it seems that quite some part of blogs around us is nothing else than a collection of links to some other blogs plus, optionally, some comments of the blog author and / or related blurb of the blog followers (which is actually the very essence of the existence of the said blog).

This is, per se, a great approach, although some can say, people are plagiarizing. (Well, some of them just do.) Nevertheless, all these links and images are in fact forming that very context which we are so often missing when talking to the other people. Now, the problem is solved: just look into his or her blog (if he or she took care to put one together) and we can, at the very least, figure out some more interesting conversation topics than weather or politics.

(In fact, a blog post without a link looks like a dead end, or like a book without pictures or dialogues... and I realize, I don't have any one in my mind right now... I guess I'm doomed!).

Two questions, regarding illustrations and dialogs:

1. Who owns the copyright for the pictures people quote?
2. Who owns the copyright for the dialogs (blog followers discussion)?

Both can be an issue.

First, the pictures.

Suppose I want to be a good one and post into my blog an image as a link to an original image which I liked (for example, the one from this page - at the time when my blog is written, this should link to a page with the largest treehouse existing now, I like those). I could have copied the image into my own place, of course, but this would be the copyright breach, so I don't.

Suppose NN years pass and my blog is still alive, but the blog to which I linked to is removed or restructured. Therefore, my link will no longer work, and the image will no longer be available. In the context I was trying to recreate there will be a hole... and as a matter of fact, this can happen any time - even at this very moment - only with different probability.

Moreover, may be the owner of that page has been forced to remove it because he or she could no longer afford the hosting and he or she in fact would not mind at all that people are still keeping the slices from the site? How could this be formalized easily? (It can but right now we don't have these mechanisms in place).

Now, the dialogs.

This is even more vague story.

First, in most blogs any reaction can be deleted by the owner (or edited beyond recognition). What will this make to the fabric of the dialog?

Some blog portals get around this by restricting the rights of the owners (not allowing them to change their replics at all, or allowing this only for a short time, or allowing deleting but not editing, et cetera...) No formalism here either. No guarantee that a sensible talk will not deteriorate with time into a set of chaotic remarks (it does not happen very often now, but there are all technical possibilities to make it possible...)

Am I again way too paranoiac? Well, would be glad if so!

...but I really, really would not want that in a couple of years, it would not be possible to understand what were the people writing about. Granted, Internet is supposed to be a living matter, like a living organism, some structures arise, the others die out... but isn't Internet also supposed to be a place to keep our memories and feelings (and the blogs are very good representation of them!)

Right now, all information appears to be around forever; but the truth is, it isn't. There is so much dependency everywhere.

There is the web archive, of course - but it doesn't keep the blogs as they were, only a couple of snapshots at most, and doesn't preserve the deep structure (like in forums)...

So the question still remains.

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