The Value of Information

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If I have accomplished anything, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.

I'm paraphrasing Isaac Newton here, but it's something I've always believed. Anything I think of, write, create, is based in some sense on another work I've been exposed to. I realize there's a huge value to learning from and using the works of others.

However as an author, I want to be compensated for my work. I go out of my way to try and add value to the works that I'm building on and putting things down in my own words. I believe in copyright and while I think the current system has gotten out of control, I also believe that this artificial construct we call copyright has value. I don't want to go off on a rant, but I admire the work Lawrence Lessig has done with the Creative Commons to try and bring some balance here between the authors and consumers.

Most interesting bloggers work hard at what they do and they provide some value to the world with their posts. I say interesting only because most blogs aren't interesting to the general public, and even many entries of good bloggers aren't interesting.

I scan a large number of blogs every week for our Database Weekly newsletter. When I see an interesting post that I think you might like, I grab the title, the URL, and a brief slice of the entry. Usually a few hundred characters, and link it on the website and in the newsletter. If the entry is less than that, I usually only grab a portion of what's there, leaving something for the author to retain on their site.

The idea behind Database Weekly was that we could add value as a news service by looking for items of interest to the DBA and collecting them into a central newsletter or feed. We're still working on the feed, but we'd expect that if you though an entry looked interesting, you'd have to go to the source and read it there. It's what happens at Google when you search, and many other similar type services.

Aggregation is valid medium, but like many good ideas, it's getting abused. I've run across two services that were basically copying content from sources and republishing it on their own site to earn income from Google Adsense. To a large extent I think Google Adsense bears some responsibility here and should be suspending accounts of people abusing the system, but that's another editorial.

Tony Rogerson, Simon Sabin, and Bob Beauchemin, all respected SQL Server experts, write great blogs. And both of them, along with others, are having their content misused so someone else can make money. Softlogger apparently thinks they should make money from both of these gentlemen's work without compensating them. And from a lot of other people as well. I'd urge you to boycott these and other services that copy content for their own sites instead of generating it.

Over the years I've had to deal with plagiarism and various services scraping content from this site. It's always a hassle and I'm constantly amazed by how many people don't think they should have to credit someone else or respect the rights of someone else regarding their work. I apologize for ranting about this, but I think it's an important subject.

Most of you value your data at work and choose where and when you share it. Allow us as authors to do the same.


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Music for today's Podcast from: Everyday Jones, All You Said and Here I Am were used, alternately in the stream.

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