Reiji raised an interesting point in the disclaimer I posted last month: I tend to come off as boastful or arrogant in these posts. I find that to be a very logical observation, for reasons that I'll outline later on.
For now, however, it might be best to take a long hard look at these monthly disclaimers. Why do I continue to write these things up, for example? I mean, I've applied for a Creative Commons License, I hold a Note of Ownership on each page of the blog, and I make it a point to encourage people to find their own voices instead of parroting what others think. On average, a monthly disclaimer post usually lasts less than a month on the front page, so it's actually far less efficient than any of the other alternatives.
All things said, there's really no reason for me to continue writing these.
And yet, here I am.
When I first set up this blog back in 2004, I knew that I was going to be writing in it. Not just writing, mind you, but writing writing. I was going to put up whatever happened to be on my mind at the moment, and apart from the serious reflections and the strange vignettes, that meant scribbling down my peculiar brand of fiction for the tastes of an online audience.
The catch with placing all of these things in a blog, however, lies precisely with that online audience. People see the Internet as a convenient resource: they read, they research, and they download. The Internet is a massive repository of searchable information -- it's like your school library's reference collection, in a way. And, like any massive repository of searchable information, it's easy to take for granted.
In a sense, it's not that people steal things. It's that people steal things without realizing that it's wrong to do so, especially when it comes to the Internet. When we can download MP3s, movies, scans and software hacks without giving much thought to ethics, I don't think it's difficult to see how people can copy images, essays and other literary works without regard for their context or use. Some of them even go one step farther and claim them for their own, which isn't that much of a stretch from the fourth-grader who copies an excerpt from the school encyclopedia and gets an A for his "efforts".
So I write disclaimers every month. I've found that it's actually very easy for people to miss an everpresent notice or announcement, mind you. But I figure that if I can hold their attention for a long enough period of time (about a month, in this case), then they'll probably read every post I write in the interim. With any luck, that should include any rants, threats or legal issues I end up putting online.
That only leaves the spectre of emotional impact, I think. It's easy to come off as irritating, paranoid or obnoxious when writing disclaimers like these. But how else could one possibly express oneself? These are one's own babies, after all. Everyone but the most prolific of writers out there probably knows that it's ain't easy thinking up a thousand words, organizing them, and putting them down on virtual paper for the rest of the world to criticize.
The last thing any writer wants is to see his words being claimed by some lazy idiot with too much time on his hands. And it's no picnic seeing those same lazy idiots misquote, distort, or blow those same words out of proportion, either. Is there any wonder why we come off as a bunch of overzealous elitists?
Better to show your fangs than let people know that you've declawed yourself, I say.
So now we come to the part of our program that deals with the legal information. If you've been reading this blog for at least a month, then this should sound familiar to you already. If not, then I hope that I've been able to entertain you so far with my mad ramblings and pathetic sob stories. Just remember not to steal my stuff, and we'll do just fine.
Everything that is posted on this blog is an entirely original work, except where noted. Any non-original work, or any entry that makes references to outside sources, should contain the appropriate acknowledgements. In the event that one of these posts does not have the given well-deserved references, you only have to contact me so that I can rectify the error.
Others are welcome to reference anything in this blog as long as they do so with the proper attributions and references. I do not tolerate people who quote me in a manner that is extremely inconsistent with my original point, nor do I have much patience for people who claim that they were the real influence behind my personal works. (Not that any sane person would claim to have written any of the more stupid stuff instead of me, mind you, but still...)
These are my standards, ladies and gentlemen. I have to draw the line somewhere, after all. If you're interested in discussing this further, the Comments link is right down there.
Have a nice day, everyone.