I know many wont agree with this way of thinking but too me a Copycat and a reblogger are not that much different. Sure a reblogger will usually credit their theft to the original source but essentially it’s the same thing, taking someone else’s work and using it for ones own benefit.
Copyright laws, patent laws, trademarks etc all exist for a reason, they are different in every country and if it’s something your concerned about you’re far better seeking official documentation than the information from a few random blogs/websites.
But consider this.
You invent the new mouse trap and it’s so successful you stand to make millions of dollars. Then someone comes along and uses your design to make an even better mouse trap. Suddenly you go from making millions to at best making a share of millions. While the person who did none of the ground work makes a heap of money from your efforts.
A story like this happens so often you don’t even hear about it any more. If you write the above story correctly, using buzz words, using hooks and tugging at a few heart strings suddenly the story becomes huge news, the tabloids pick it up and a large portion of the world start to feel sorry for the small guy who got kicked in the butt. Nothing changes and it remains a sob story for a few days then disappears but the person with the original idea still has a sore butt.
That’s stealing another persons ideas for personal gain and many would frown upon it.
In the early 90’s when we tried to trademark a band name it cost us more than $20K (+plus legal fees etc) to patent it in Australia only. To trademark it in the US it was going to cost us north of $140K, and that’s just a name not a product. In the end for us it was money well NOT spent but with costs that high 25 years ago for just a name it’s easy to see why people fall into the trap of losing their inventions.
Now consider this.
You spend your precious time writing something informative, special and heartfelt. You aren’t into writing to make money so there is no financial gain but there is an emotional aspect. Then someone comes along and copies your words, adds one line to it saying you are the author and then puts it on their own website.
Doesn’t sound too bad, you get a credit for your writing and you get a warm fuzzy feeling that someone thought enough of your work to repost it. The blogging world is full of slogans that suggest reblogging works for both parties and while there is some benefit to both do you really know what that benefit is? Have you really looked into it? Can you even track it?
So now take the example a little further.
You write something great, your best ever work and someone comes along and decides they like what you wrote and instead of having the time and inclination to write what you said in their own words they simply take out all the hard work and reblog. The difference this time is that their website is littered with web ads, ads that pay them enough that the website is their job. Suddenly your powerful, meaningful, heartfelt words, words you worked hard on are making you nothing, possibly not even creating you any web traffic and they are making the reblogger money.
Doesn’t sound that much different to stealing someone’s new mouse trap to me.
When it comes to monitoring how much benefit you get from reciprocal linking (that’s essentially what the web world called it before reblogging was a thing) it can be done. It’s easier on a self hosted site than a wordpress site (there could be a reason for that given all the other ‘special things’ wordpress do for
themselves bloogers) but how many people actually check how much traffic is coming from that link. The link which was promised to you as “works well for both websites?”. For years Google as provided this sort of information for webmasters and for years webmasters have known one thing, the benefit is rarely to the smaller less trafficked site. There is thousands of sites, including from Google, that explain this in much more detail but the one thing they all will show is that “both sites” is not very often true.
Although no one really seems to be bothered by it reblogging, even when giving credit, could have copyright ramifications. Unless you know the copyright laws for every country, and they do vary greatly between countries, you can’t possible know that a reblog is not breaking copyright laws of the country of origin. Again this information can be searched on the net but given the reblogging world is all about warm and fuzzy feelings very few seem to care about it.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t care if people reblog my crap or anyone elses and in 25 years of web and graphic design I have had a lot of things linked, copied and stolen, and none of them have been worth any more than a well worded email to have them removed or credit added. It’s annoying but it’s something that wont be stopped especially not now it comes under the term of “reblogging”.