I had a very unfortunate situation leading up to my last workshop. There was a writer who decided that she would “share” my content with her community, but never asked my permission or even contacted me beforehand. She took my blog posts, images, unrelated personal work biography with previous job titles and assignments, patched it all together and printed it out in her local newspaper that boasts a reach of 10,000 in Harlem and the Bronx. I found out from a friend of mine who saw it in a building she was working in and sent a photo of it to me. At first I was a bit flattered, but then I realized that she copied and pasted word for word from both of my websites and passed her story off as an interview that she never conducted with me. The images weren’t even credited to the photographer that took them, and now a bit of my personal information which I would have never disclosed for this story, is out there. If asked ahead of time, I would have totally agreed to speaking with her and giving her permission to use my content, but the opportunity was never presented to me.
I understand Google is a living and breathing thing and that we can discover all the information that we could ever dream of with it, but should we compile everything we find on a person and distribute it throughout their neighborhood without their permission? I think not, and it’s quite alarming when you think of it. And if you are wondering, yes I did receive an apology but it was more like a sorry, not sorry type, with an emphasis on trying to spread the word about my workshop over respecting copyright laws and my privacy. I enjoy sharing what I’m doing with everyone, but this experience has been a real eye opener for me. As a result, I will be putting even more limitations on what I do share online. Be careful out there folks!