Primer on Copyrights
Why report on this? Thanks for asking! Hacking Christianity got a shout-out in the article for our blog post “Facebook How-To for Pastors changing churches” and there are several noteworthy links as well. Check it out.
But self-congratulation is not the reason for the blog post.
The weird thing to note is that the Lewis Center linked to all the outbound links in its article…except mine. It linked to umcom.org, shrinkthechurch.com, resonateordie.com, ctucc.org, and vaumc.org. But Hacking Christianity? No link love. They converted the blog post into a PDF document which they hosted. While it clearly has the title of the blog site and the link at the top, it was still weird to me that they converted my blog post and denied me link love…but didn’t do that to the other websites.
- Is it because the blog link is too long? No. In the print edition (PDF), they don’t write the long link to shrinkthechurch.com out, they just say “available at shrinkthechurch.com.” But our link is to their hosted PDF.
- Is it because the title of the blog is weird or evocative? No. Resonate or die, hello?
- I can’t think of a single reason other than copyright. All the other web sites have “copyright 2011 XX” on the footer, and umcom.org, ctucc.org, and vaumc.org all have copyright protections on their website info tabs.
So why is mine different? Here’s the thing. The thing is that they CAN do this. All my blog posts, as you can see at the bottom of the page, are registered under Creative Commons.
This means that you can repost the blog posts anywhere without my permission so long as its author is included and other restrictions. Click here for the human-readable edition.
So is the reason why they re-hosted the blog post because of the Creative Commons license? It would seem to be. I can’t find or think of a single reason other than (a) copyright and (b) not wanting to link directly to a nerdy site name [hackingchristianity.net].
So for the record, I’m fine with it. I wish I had link love…links from prominent websites raise the number of people likely to find us. But I’m just as happy that more people might read it and find it helpful.
As an aside, this blog goes above and beyond to keep me protected from copyright claims:
- All quotes of websites or articles are snippets or quotes, with links and author titles to send you to read the author’s comments on the author’s website. The only exceptions are the IRD and Westboro Baptist Church…baby Jesus cries whenever anyone links to them.
- Any photos hosted are licensed under Creative Commons, usually found via flickr’s CC search engine, and attribution and source links clearly visible at the bottom of the page.
- If I can’t find permissions for a photo, then I link to the image instead.
- Finally, if you are wondering if the header screenshot of an obviously copyrighted page, logo, and text is covered, yes screenshots are covered under fair use.
So, if you write online, I hope you consider using Creative Commons rather than copyright so that churches, individuals, and organizations can more easily share your writings. You may lose link love as i did, but hopefully the content of your writings makes up for it.