As a parent, I teach my kids that stealing is wrong. That’s part of our job, right? We teach the abc’s, 123’s, tying shoes, riding bikes, don’t put your finger in the light socket, baseball bats are outside toys, so are basketballs, footballs, scooters, and so is the frisbee. Hitting is wrong, so is name calling, kicking, punching, spitting, stealing and don’t talk to strangers cause they could steal you.
At least that’s what I’ve been teaching for 16 (almost 17… holy shit batman) years now. How about you?
And I’m so very tired of telling the kids all of this but I do it day in and day out because I hope that one day, one of those very important things will stick in their heads and they will listen to dear old mom.
But you see, even grown-ups need to be reminded of these things, if not have it shoved down their throats until it sinks in, because right now, some of them, No, A LOT of them are doing it wrong.
Every day bloggers encounter people who steal content, images, ideas and our brands but nothing, NOTHING should raise the hair on the back of a parent or family blogger’s neck and make the color drain from their face more than seeing their child’s face on another website and that blogger had no idea it was happening.
But it is happening and right now, NickMom.com (I’m not linking them, I refuse) is the biggest offender. Amy from ResourcefulMommy.com wrote a wonderful piece that she has been updating that gives the full back story of how NickMom has stolen content, images, and branding from the guys at HowtobeaDad.com, Kelby Carr, and many other bloggers. And if you don’t believe that this is really happening even after reading Amy’s post, check out Kelby’s account of her interaction with NickMom and why she’s urging us all to Be Original.
And sadly some of the bloggers that were reached out to, don’t care. But they should and even if you’re not a blogger you should care, and I am going to tell you why because I wholeheartedly feel that it could happen to anyone who chooses to share their images or ideas in a public (internet) space.
I feel (and this is my personal opinion), that what NickMom is doing is no better than a pervert on the street, oggling your kids, your family, your moments, laying in wait to take them to do with as they wish.
Think on that for a minute, let it seep in and visualize yourself playing with your child at a park or in your own front yard while a sinister looking van sits 500 or more feet away with an unknown, un-named, person sitting inside capturing your moments on video or pictures and then taking those moments back to their secret place to change, edit or crop for their own nefarious purposes. And you’re non the wiser.
You wouldn’t let that happen would you? You wouldn’t stand by while someone creepily watches you and/or your children play. No, you would get out your phone, call 911, pick them up, take them inside, take a picture of their license plate or snap a picture of them and run to the police with it wouldn’t you?
And why would you do that? Because you want to protect your family.
Unfortunately, it’s harder for bloggers to do that same thing. We don’t know where our pictures end up or where our content ends up so we diligently put check marks in place to search out our photos, our content, our names. We rely on other bloggers to say, “Yo. I saw your kid on xyz.com, did you know he was there?” We watermark, Right Click protect… everything we can think of to make sure that what we put out there, what we want shared, is done with our consent, with our stamp of approval, and with our knowledge.
If we let sites like NickMom walk away with no more than an “Oopsie” on their part then we’re opening the door for other corporations to do it as if we’re inviting the stranger in with cookies and milk. Note: I do not eat cookies and milk with strangers.
As I was frantically searching last week for our own children on NickMom, my husband walked into the bedroom and said, “Now you know why I don’t want our pictures online”. He’s right.
It’s a real fear that they will end up somewhere worse than NickMom and for some other reason than websites like NickMom can’t come up with their own original funnies.
Around the blogger community there has been a lot of discussion and the one I find most ironic is that Nickelodeon network (parent of NickMom.com) claims to honor and respect the bloggers that they want to work with and they too think stealing is wrong (remember the iCarly episode, “iTake on Dingo”? Thank you Shannan for the hat tip on that!) The kids and I have seen that episode a dozen times and every time I get very preachy to the kids about plagiarism and stealing other people’s original works and why I gets so irate when I find my content somewhere else.
We have all talked this subject up one side and down the other, in and out and backwards again and we’ll keep on talking it until companies, brands, the content mills, scraping sites, and everyone in between gets it through their head that we’ve simply had enough: It is not enough or right to sit there and say, “we know we’ve done wrong but we’re only going to fix things when the copyright holders get in touch with us, and then… we’ll discuss it first.”
NickMom.com is coming to your front yard and kidnapping. It’s time to put an end to it.