Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Remember: you read it here first

This morning I checked the referrer logs for this blog and saw that four different websites are linking to this post from December 28.

I'm pretty easy to flatter, so I clicked through to the sites to find out who thought I was so brilliant and link-worthy. What I found on each click was one of my paragraphs about romance writing attributed to "A Writer" rather than to me.

Okay, so Brenda Coulter isn't exactly a household name (not even in my household, although we're working on that). I imagine whoever quoted me thought nobody she was communicating with would recognize my name, so it wasn't important. But if something I write is going to be splashed all over the internet, I'd appreciate getting credit for it. So would you.

I'm not planning to contact the poster and read her the riot act over this. I don't wish to embarrass anyone and as I said, I'm grateful for the traffic she's sending to this blog. But attributing quotes to "A Writer" is a bad idea, so let's not do it, kids, okay? Any of us with a blog or a website is vulnerable to this kind of "identity theft", so maybe this is a good time to remind ourselves of the Golden Rule.

I don't believe for a moment that the individual known as "Anonymous" actually penned all of the poems and stories we give her credit for. I'm sure people with actual names wrote that stuff, but then somebody quoted the material without proper attribution. Then somebody quoted that, and so on, until it became impossible to discover who actually authored the works. I doubt that most of the authors wished to disassociate their names from their work, but that's how things ended up. Nobody meant to hurt anybody else; it was simple thoughtlessness.

How would you feel if it happened to you?

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