Sup nerds: An apology of sorts-
Recently we had to remove an article from our site, the Facebook and our Twitter. I won’t go into the details, suffice it to say we had something submitted to us by a guest author that we posted. Recently, we had the actual original creator send us an email calling out the theft. He was real mad.
I’m not justifying the stealing. Here’s the issue: Writing is tough. Writing on a consistent basis is tough. Having people other than me write, write consistently, and write good things that other people want to read… is tough. We try to bring you insightful articles and reviews on a regular basis. We try to cover as much diversity as possible, bring you local Dayton-esque things, and make sure we even get to the more obscure nerdery. We have a bevy of writers that have submitted things over the past year. We check for plagiarism and copyright infringement as best we can, it’s still tough. The combination of being excited for new and “original” content from other Daytonians sometimes overtakes our ability to do thorough checking. And unfortunately, we missed one. And that sucks large.
Larry and I both work in fields where creative original creations are a must. And protecting those creations are a constant battle. So to hear that we were hosting stolen content hurts, and hearing from the actual creator? Even worse.
In theater, it’s understood that there will be some slight borrowing of ideas from other productions. It’s fairly common. You’ll snag something from a movie, a color pallette from another show, some blocking elements from a play, and you mix it all together and make it your own. But a word for word and scene by scene restaging of a production without the original creators consent? That’ll get a beating.
Years ago in college, we did a production of a long running musical. We even invited the original author of the musical to come help with the production. Now, we weren’t doing the exact presentation of the musical like everyone else had. Apparently, the contracts required that we do it word for word and scene for scene, down to the very fabrics used for the costumes.
The author realized this, and threw a fit accordingly. He said something to the extent of “I created this, so if you’re going to perform it, you have to perform exactly what I created.” Part of me agreed, it was his work. Another part of me, the aspiring thespian, got frustrated at it ‘that’s the whole point of art, your own interpretation’. It was hard to convince myself it was still art, when it was just a complete recreation.
In the end, we did his version, as we were contracted to do so. The original production we had planned before his involvement was extremely different.
Point is, creating something is art. Copying something is not. It’s that simple. Creating something original takes effort, passion and time. Creating things is what keeps us sane.
If you can’t create something, promote. Don’t copy.
While you might not be able to come up with an original idea, or a beautiful picture or song, that’s ok. Promote the things you enjoy, tell people about what you love and share what you find to be beautiful. If you like a particular picture, share it. If it’s not yours that’s fine, just don’t claim that it is.
Especially in the nerd world. Thirty years ago, a person making their own superhero costume would have been considered a little weird. Now look at today. Cosplaying is big business. Yes, at times you are copying someone else’s design, but you’re never claiming that design as your own, you’re praising the designs of another by making a representation of it.
“You should consider that Imitation is the most acceptable part of Worship, and that the Gods had much rather Mankind should Resemble, than Flatter them.” –Jeremy Collier and André Dacier
“Imitation is a kind of artless flattery.” – Eustace Budgell
“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” – Oscar Wilde
Well this is awkward. The line between imitation and stealing is the intent. Each of these quotes says essentially the same thing, but with different wording. If you want to imitate a great work of art, a costume, or a song, do it. That’s high praise indeed, but just make sure you remember where you got it from.
That’s the one. At the end of the day, the nerd culture is weird. It’s full of people who still remember being picked on and hiding their passions. Don’t come in here with your ego and nonsense and steal others ideas. Creating something is scary, people are judgy as hell out there. So to have someone create something for the nerd masses is awesome. To have someone else claim it for their own is not.
For us, we want to apologize for hosting stolen content. We also want to give an explanation as to why we don’t post as often as some sites. It’s hard bringing up original content every week. We have standards. We aren’t going to shovel out crap just to get clicks. If we even have just 3 dedicated readers, then that’s worth it for us.
So at the closing of the craziest year in a long time, I leave you with these words of advice.
Create things, try new things, branch out.
Buy that board game, invite friends over, and go to that place in Dayton you’ve been thinking about.
2017 will be here shortly, just keep your head down and pray for Betty White. Soon, we’ll be bringing you our very best articles and news that we can, regular as ever.
And if nothing else, we’ll have more pictures of sexy people, more BGNs and less crap.