The community must police digital theft on the internet

It occured to me today that defending your digital IP is like having a puppy [warning: yet another puppy analogy].

At home at the moment we mount regular Puddles and Poos Patrol (thank heavens for polished wood floors). Likewise the price of digital respect is constant vigilance. Keep an eye out, run scans, check eBay, ask around. Be aware of what people are up to.

puppyDevote a little time each month to policing your own material. Even dear old Google is effective: spot an unusual turn of phrase in your work, quotate it and google it. There are free tools on the web, or if you can afford it then look to firms that provide a commercial solution [no I'm not promoting any].

And whack thieves. There are no cops on the internet (except the private cops of the big corporations, like the railroad detectives of old). It is the Wild West. We have to look out for ourselves (and each other) and carry a gun.

And you can hit them. I had a piracy site taken down by the simple expedient of complaining to their web host. I got pirated content of mine taken down. I failed to get eBay pirates removed but I like to think I worried them with my complaints to eBay... maybe (eBay don't give a {what my puppy leaves}).

I hate digital piracy. You should too. It is the laziest form of theft. Like any theft or corruption, it introduces economic drag, and it acts as a disincentive to creativity, business and entrepreneurism. Please don't confuse what I am saying with the DRM issue and drag us into that argument. How pop culture gets shovelled out to the masses is of little interest to me.

Sharing content is good. It is how we do it that matters. We can quote, or link, or use attributed extracts within fair use. That is what the internet is for. But theft is theft and I think we all know it when we smell it, which brings me back to my starting analogy.

So let's all stand up for decency on the internet and take action when we see it defiled, please.

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