On Content Theft and the Big Dogs

| April 18, 2011 | 8 Replies

In my nearly seven years as a conservative political blogger, I’ve learned a lot things. One of them is that my content is going to get stolen by journalists, columnists, radio hosts, and television pundits. The sad truth of the conservative blogosphere is that, unless you’re one of the truly big bloggers, you can expect to see your work passed off in newspapers, on the radio, and on television as the work of someone else.

The Daily Caller ran an article today on one of the worst offenders, at least to my reckoning, Glenn Beck. They got a number of bloggers and videographers on the record to name specific instances of how Beck and his staff took their videos and posts and used them in his shows without proper credit.

Though the author didn’t contact me, I’ve had a post stolen by Beck as well. The only attribution I got was a context-free link on his web page, which Beck’s staff felt was appropriate. That was more than I expected, actually — I’d heard plenty of stories from other bloggers about Beck — and I was sure to thank him for the little credit he did give me. What else was there to do? Beck is a big media guy, which means he pretty much gets to do what he wants. Out here in the world of new media, the first law is the Law of the Jungle, and, as Jeff Dunetz notes with several personal examples, my experience was far from unique.

I have spent months preaching about good linking behavior to pretty much anyone who’ll listen on the right. I know others have as well. However, the conservative new media world is still one where the big dogs, (and there are a few notable exceptions — Rush Limbaugh, for one), get all the bones and the rest of us fight for the scraps. I don’t imagine that’ll change until the big dogs decide they want to do things differently, but why should they? They’re getting what they want and there’s no pressure on them to do anything differently.

UPDATE: Well-done variations on the theme by Alfonzo Rachel.

UPDATE 2: Stacy adds some worthwhile thoughts. All I would add is that I think it most likely that Glenn Beck is not directly responsible for the various transgressions laid upon him. Yet he is. The radio and television show have his name on them. The shows are his. He is the “face”. If he can’t hire responsible staffers, that’s on him as well.

UPDATE 3: The Lonely Conservative has her own story, but goes in a different direction than I have.

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Category: Blogs and Blogging, Cool Columnists and Wicked Writers

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