Information and Education

I have recently received an email from someone who has complained that I republished one of their articles, in its entirety, without their consent.

Receiving this email really made me frustrated with people's mentalities regarding information and education. First of all, before I can dive into this subject, I should explain the background.

On “The Cradle to Cradle Portal” I post articles that I find all over the internet, in their entirety, while also mentioning the author and original source. The person who wrote the email is correct to point out that I did not ask for permission. I never ask.

Having said that, the reason why I am frustrated is because of this person's position on information and education which I think is a morally weak one. This person only believes in spreading his information through his website. I disagree with this notion. Education should be spread freely.

Here is a portion of the email:

“We appreciate the sharing of information, but the method you use does still amount to copyright infringement as you copied the entire post. By copying the entire article you take any benefit we receive from creating, and paying for, this original content.”

If you notice carefully, the argument he uses is a legal one and not a moral one. Copyright infringement is a legal issue. Plagiarism, however, is a moral issue, but one this person could not mention because I gave credit to the original author.

If you look at the second sentence, it talks about the benefits that they do not receive from writing the article. This point is correct. Some people will not click on the “original article” link because they have read the entire article on my site. The problem I have with this position is that, again, they do not want to freely spread information. Their main goal is not to inform and educate the public because if it were, they would love for people to re-post their articles. However, it is not, they want their BENEFITS. Therefore, they believe in sharing their information so long it is through their website. This is a morally weak position that does great injustice to the field of education.