Special Snowflakes of The Internet
The other day I saw a comment on Twitter that said something like “Before you post a craft tutorial or idea on your blog, always Google to make sure someone else hasn’t already posted one.”
And then my head exploded.
To be clear, the tweet wasn’t directed at me. Crafting is only a teeny tiny part of my blog and definitely not my area of expertise. I have never gotten a nasty email or comment about the originality of my projects. And I try very, very hard to keep it that way. There is no reason at all I should have taken the kind of offense to the remark that caused my brains to splatter all over the wall behind me.
I understand that people copying each others work is a big problem in blog land. There was the cooking magazine that reprinted a blogger’s post without her permission and then told her “Well the internet is free, so technically we can print anything we want! Plus, we edited your crappy writing so much, YOU should really pay US!” (No, really, this just happened.) And just this week Jill found her recent craft tutorial on a site that claims it “collects” posts from across the internet and republishes them – without giving her byline. But they’re doing it to help you! You’ll get tons of traffic! From this site no one has ever heard of and has no valid contact info!
I also know stealing someone’s design/craft can be a huge problem for handmade businesses, since there’s really no way to copyright something like a ruffle or a rosette. That’s not cool. Don’t rip off creative people you admire – SUPPORT them.
BUT. Posting a recipe for, say, zucchini bread even though there are already a zillion recipes online for zucchini bread is not plagiarism. Neither is posting a how-to on a ribbon mobile or felt flowers or using an empty frame as a whiteboard, although if you Google any of those you get dozens and dozens (hundreds)(sometimes thousands) of responses. Demanding no one ever use an idea someone else has had is like saying “OK, Mommy bloggers, since I’ve already read posts about cloth diapers, potty training, making your own baby food, pooping while giving birth and cute kids, ALL THOSE THINGS are off limits.” If we limited the internet to only 100% original thoughts it probably wouldn’t exist. Neither would most books, movies, art, music, etc. Have you ever read the New Testament? Some of those dudes totally tell the same stories, even though they were told before!!
How about instead of assuming you are such a special snowflake all YOUR ideas are one-of-a-kind and it’s everyone else who’s stealing we agree to some rules for polite blogging?
1. If you are “inspired” by someone else’s idea, link to them in your post.
2. If you flat out USE someone else’s tutorial, link to them in your post, and maybe stick to just posting pictures instead of your own “how-to”.
3. Changing the NAME of a recipe is not the same as inventing a new recipe. You have to actually modify the ingredients/instructions to make it new.
4. Use common sense – don’t be a douchecanoe. When in doubt, link link link.
But for the record, the internet is a really huge place. I promise there is more than enough room for everyone’s yarn wreath tutorials (coming soon to bebehblog!)
Like I said, I didn’t really need to get so pissed off about this – I’m just having a pissed off sort of day and angry blogging is the pregnant woman’s equivalent of drinking a bottle of wine.