This just kills me.
At precisely what point does sharing a copyright article (for which creators are grateful) cross the line (and become theft that destroys our survival)?
My own and F&O's policy with copyrighted outside work is to share no more than four graphs, clearly marked as an excerpt, and promote the link to the site that houses the work.
I am really happy that a remarkable piece on FactsandOpinions.com, "Shakedown of the Century," is getting lots of attention. We're a small employee-owned journal, brand new and struggling to make headway in a media industry almost destroyed by the free Internet. But some places that "shared" it essentially re-published it, without our copyright notice; some even invited others to share at will. All put ads around it, that sell stuff for profit or seek donations to keep their sites and causes going.
While most do link to us, from one popular site that's getting far more hits than F&O, exactly two people have clicked to us. What REALLY gets my goat is that author Chris Wood decided to leave it outside our paywall for a week, to let more people read it and sample F&O.
We are taking enormous risks with F&O, and I'm proud that we have a built a home for work like Chris's truly original thinking, extensive research and strong voice, developed over decades of journalism and lifelong education. A column like this is a tremendous amount of work, and it offers a fiercely informed, credible and important perspective to environmental science. I hope for Chris, and F&O overall, to be heard outside the silos our society has created around so many polarized issues. Most of us at F&O are in the realm of artists - independent creators, not bound to any institution, not supported by tenure or outside salary. We are this way by choice, believing independents are needed. We're not funded by a charity, foundation, institution or government.
But that our work is copied verbatim elsewhere, alongside ads, with no acknowledgement that its creator needs to eat to create more great work, makes me want to give up.
Especially because at our subscription rates we charge essentially pennies per piece - a measly sip let alone the cost of a cheap coffee once a month.
Any advice on how to respond? We don't want to come down like a ton of bricks with legal notices. We want those who value our stuff enough to share it - and all their readers - to come back and read us again. We only survive if people find us. But creators are like farmers producing food: if people just take without giving anything back, we starve, stop producing, and nobody wins. What to do?
And don't say any exposure is great. We've all been at this long enough to know, too well, that people and good media die of exposure.
PS: Please go ahead and "share" this rant if you want. I release all copyright to it - this issue needs exposure.