Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wherein I make comments to some posts on another blog

Paul Duxbury of Genealogy and Family History has had a few posts this week that are stirring up some discussion. He moderates the comments to his blogs (which many do-often to prevent spam) and doesn't appear to approve all of them (which is certainly his prerogative). But I would like to make some comments on three of his posts.

In Genealogy Blogs on Blogspot he writes:
Although I have used Blogspot for some activity I have always preferred to have control over my own content. I wonder how many of those who host their blogs at Blogspot have actually read the Terms and Conditions? In particular I wonder how many of these fervent bloggers have read this part of the Terms and Conditions:

“By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services.” (emphasis his)
This reminds me of the discussion over Facebook. But Google does something Facebook didn't do. Google delineates what purposes Google is allowed to use the license for. For the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services.

Here is the full paragraph from the Terms of Service from which he quoted (*):
Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Google services and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services. Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.
[*I do note that the terms he quoted differ from the terms I see by a couple characters. It appears that Google displays different terms depending upon whether you are in the UK or the US. The terms are the same, but the spelling of the words are different. In this case, the word: licen(c/s)e.]

When anyone views your blog post, that post has been reproduced or published on their screen. Google legally needs the worldwide, royalty-free license. But they limit it to the purposes they need, and they do emphasize it is non-exclusive. You are not losing your copyright or your control over your content.

In Do I Write All My Own Genealogy Blog Posts
Sadly there are some individuals around who don’t actually understand some of the basics of online activity. They hide behind the anonymity of a Blogspot Blog where they don’t even use their own names.
I assume he wasn't referencing Chris who writes The Genealogue, since his name is rather easy to see on his blog, and he links in his profile to other blogs/websites he operates. He may have been referencing me. My name actually had disappeared from my contact information on the right, though since I have used it in submitting numerous Carnival posts, and since I have talked rather extensively about my family history, I am hardly anonymous, though he had no way of knowing that at first glance at my blog. I have returned my name to its proper location above my email address.

I do apologize for implying he had plagiarized the eHow article. I have made the necessary corrections to my previous post. The concept of buying articles with the right to claim authorship troubles me, but I am one who places a lot of value in the words I write.

In the post that started it all: 5 Bad Genealogy Sources he attacks wikis, blogs, and personal websites for their lack of reliability. The same response can be made to all three accusations:

When you are looking at any website anywhere on the internet, if there isn't a source cited, you have to ask yourself the same questions:

1) Who/Where does this information come from?
2) Is the source trustworthy?

Wikipedia, while often containing inaccurate, unsourced information, also contains sourced information. Those who use the internet for research need to train themselves to notice when the information on any website, including Wikipedia, doesn't contain a citation. And when it does cite a source, to evaluate the reliability of that source. Suggesting that all Wikipedia articles are unreliable, and should be ignored, however, is suggesting that people ignore a valuable resource.

Since I have had this discussion with some friends recently, I will add, the Internet Movie Database is another website where you need to be a little careful. While it isn't immediately obvious, anyone can submit information. You don't have to be an actor, director, producer or agent to do so. I have done so myself, and I am no one. The information I submitted was accurate, as I knew the individual actor well, but if I can submit information so can Joe Schmoe down the street. In general, the site is likely accurate, especially with the more commercial movies. But if the entry you are looking at is on a more obscure film or actor, don't be so sure.

1 comment:

Paul Duxbury said...

Thank you for the apology which I appreciate. I work hard to put information into the public arena that will help people as I am sure you do.