Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fair Use

Blogging can be a mysterious process - I rarely know for sure who reads this, when it's read, or where in the world the reader is. This is not necessarily a bad thing - I purposely took down my hit counter so that knowledge of my readership wouldn't influence my writing. But the mind still wonders. I don't know who reads this (who are you?) and I don't know what my readers do with the words that I post.

So it surprises me sometimes to surf around the Buddhist sector of cyberspace and come across quotes from my own blog. For instance, one day I came across a blog called Bigfoot Zen, and found a repost of something that I wrote, like, four years ago. What's even more coincidental - dare I say synchronous? - is that Bigfoot's two most recent posts discuss the first two Zen books that I read after I started practicing. To this day, I've probably bought at least a half dozen copies of Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple for various friends. Maybe Bigfoot is my former self, brought to the present from 10 years ago in some sort of strange time-warp . . . . or maybe I'm really Bigfoot, somehow projected into the future.

("There is the theory of the Moebius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop.")

Then there's Cappella's Blogspot, "leeched stuff you people wouldn't know." His most recent post (at least at the time of this posting), is a snippet of a conversation I heard with Zen Master Dae Gok last summer, not the stop-me-in-my-tracks "But you already know about deception," but his "What would you call a conversation where both persons were not judging or weighing the words of the other?"

Don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no problem with anyone quoting me, whether they attribute it to me or not. In fact, I find it somewhat gratifying to know that someone, somewhere, actually read this stuff and cared enough to re-post my words elsewhere. And I'm in no position to judge - hell, this blog is nothing if not one big massive copyright infringement (I've given up altogether on tracking where my pics come from and now just download and re-post them willy-nilly). If you come across an intellectual property of yours here, please consider it a compliment as I do when I find mine.

Sincerity is the flattest form of mimicry.


Cappella said...

Hi Shokai,

*sheepishly look on the floor*

Yeah, you got me. :(

You are right. Our blogs are nothing if not for the fact that we take information around and put them together in our blog to convey a message.

But still, I will ask if you will like me to attribute, and if so, please let me know. :)


Shokai said...

LOL - no attribution necessary. In fact, it wasn't even my own words you were quoting - you quoted me quoting a third party. I listened in on a conversation and then posted a portion here without attribution. I'm in no position to demand credit.

"Fair Use" includes taking a portion of someone else's work and quoting it in a different context to produce a new and original work, sort of like sampling in music.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to take whatever you need or want!

- shokai

Cappella said...

Hi Shokai,

Thanks! I look forward to read more of your blog posts. :)


kanshin said...

The question on my mind is not who reads these blogs, but what motivates the bloggers to put their thoughts, feelings, experiences out into the blogisphere (is that a word?)???