Last week on the podcast I do with my good friend I had a fairly passionate discussion with @ictguy about the lack of appropriation and acknowledgement of others work by people in the their blog posts and the growing number of lazy post by people.
This week I happen to see a retweet of a site that caught my attention this post was from the Ed Galaxy site by Kevin Cummins and titled: “Google Drive - Quick reference guide for teachers and students”.
The blog post has an image of a Google Drive Guide and contains 50 words about how reading this guide “will have you and your students using Drive like an expert in no time.”
I decided to have a closer look based on my discussion last week to see if an Australian did the right thing in referencing and acknowledging the work of others. I downloaded the guide and discovered that there was no real reference in the guide nor was there any further reference on the blog post. So rather than sitting back I decided post a comment on the site about the the podcast and asking if this was Kev’s work, if not he should really acknowledge it.
The response was interesting to say the least.
“Thanks Tony for being such a flog. You did a great job at promoting your podcast whilst criticising my article. Read the bottom of the article and you will clearly see the source.”
Firstly the act of calling someone a flog does not make for a sound response and is a poor reflection on modeling smart connection with your audience. The second and most important part was that Kev felt that in the document the listing of the source as “http://drive.google.com/support” was appropriate. Well yes the information may have come from that site but Google did not build this guide (especially as it was in a Word document) and secondly Kev did not write it as it has details within the doc pointing towards the University of Navada!?! Kev also did not put any reference in his blog post which I think is generally a much better way to acknowledge someone else's work.
I responded to Kev with these details and got the following response:
“I really don't care who created the document. It is not copyrighted in any way, and If they wanted credit for it they would have put it on it. That is what most people do.”
This response was amazing given the blatant total lack of understanding about how copyright works. Copyright is applied to any form of work with no need for any formal statement required (Australian Copyright Council), someone created this document and someone owns it which means Kev needs to acknowledge the work or at the very least state that he attempted to get permission. He did neither and thinks that he does not need to if there is not little copyright c on the document.
What really astonishes me is that Kevin Cummins is employed by the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat, Victoria (http://www.ceoballarat.catholic.edu.au/) as the education officer for Learning Technologies (http://ict.ceoballarat.catholic.edu.au/) which means he works with schools across the diocese advising them on the approrpaite and responsible use of technology - seriously.
What makes this whole situation worse is that his blog contains advertisements and as such he is making an income based on other people’s work without proper acknowledgement which is another level of copyright theft.
As educators we need to model appropriate recognition and use, we also need to stop and read things before retweeting or promoting to make sure that what we are recommending is good content, not lazy blogging.