Crediting sources and copying content

This afternoon I found an interesting story on a games site which had an interview with the Director who was to be filming Halo, Neil Blomkamp. The site was Joystiq, who pointed to a site called Creativity Online who had the interview.

It was a really interesting interview that talked about why the Halo film was now officially dead, what the short films that had been created were for, and what hopes he had for the Halo film, hopes which were now gone.

I wrote and posted the story as the first of the film community to do so, I checked, and it wasn’t until a few hours later that the site Jo Blo picked up the story and credited Filmstalker with the find. Fast forward a few more hours and the other major film sites on the internet are picking it up, amazingly they all seem to have found it directly from Creativity Online.

Here’s what I wrote on the end of the Neil Blomkamp says Halo film dead article, mainly because I was so utterly fed up with the way that the “community” treats others within it. I have since removed it because it shouldn’t really belong on Filmstalker, and the readers that do get to my story are wanting to read about Halo. Here’s what I originally wrote:

First up, many thanks to James at Jo Blo for crediting that he found the story through Filmstalker where it first appeared in the film community (I sourced the story through a games site and wrote it immediately), but what about the other sites! My lord, talk about integrity, or rather lack thereof.

Coming Soon, Cinematical, IGN, Latino Review, Rope of Silicon and I’m sure a few others I don’t read, all carried the story soon after Jo Blo printed it, all their stories point straight to Creativity Online without any other reference – suggesting that they found the story there without any prompting. I will say that Cinematical wrote that a reader gave them the tip, chances are after reading it from Jo Blo or Filmstalker.

This is what I absolutely loathe about writing on the Internet, and in particular amongst the film community. People spend time reading, researching and writing stories for their sites which others use as a link aggregator to find stories for their own sites.

Hard work, time, investment and honesty aren’t rewarded here, they are used.

Of course there is the possibility that they were all emailed and told about the source of the story just as Cinematical say they were.

Now that I’ve had some time to calm down, perhaps there’s another possibility too, perhaps some reader of Filmstalker or Jo Blo social bookmarked the story, and as the social bookmarking ethos suggests, ignores all the places that the information is found through and links directly to the source.

This is great in practice for the reader, but what about sites like mine where I’ve spent the time searching for stories like this, then researching, writing it up, and publishing it on the web. Not to mention the money that is spent keeping the site going.

I work hard to build up a strong readership and community (in the real sense of the word) on Filmstalker because I love that engagement and debate about films, and yet this very practice undermines that.

I’m not in direct competition with these sites, I don’t want to be that big. I want to write about the stories that interest me, and have an engaging and interested group of people read and discuss the things I write about, as well as contribute their own articles. That, and of course, to see more films.

I think that this practice is undermining, demeaning, and dismissive of the time and effort people spend on their passions.

I run Filmstalker totally honestly, if I found the source of a story through three other sites, I say so, I never ignore them and I read each one to see if there’s something interesting to gleam from the different interpretations.

Perhaps I’m just too honest, perhaps I carry too much integrity, maybe I should run my own site by linking only directly to the sources of stories all the time.

What do you feel about the topic of copying content and of crediting sources from sites and social bookmarking?


There are four sites, apart from Jo Blo, who picked the story up from Filmstalker, and I’m very thankful to them. All of them are discussion boards and all of them represent readers – isn’t there something extra comforting about that?

Thanks to Truth Seeker IV on Circvs Maximvs, BafflingBeerMan on City of Heroes Official Forums and agedboy on some forums under that I can’t read!

1 comment on “Crediting sources and copying content”

  1. pablo Reply

    That stinks so badly I can smell it from over here and thats with me wearing my stinking shoes.

    I won’t start my rant over plagerism, i will say that unfortunately the internet has a few things we could do without.

    I for one continue to read your filmstalker site and appreciate all the effort you put into it.

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