Copyright protection for blogs and other online writing?

The discussion of copyright protection for work submitted to agents and publishers confirmed what I already believed, but what about protection of online writing such as blog posts? On other forums I've read of authors who had entire essays and articles stolen and posted on other blogs without their permission.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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As long as it's easy to copy and paste from one website to another, people will do it. I know some websites have some sort of copy protection that blocks you from copying, but I don't know that blogs are provided with any such thing.

I'm ambivalent about the whole thing. I don't copy and paste wholesale unless I'm copying to a file for my own personal reference. I'll link to blog posts and articles I thought were interesting. I'm not aware of anything I've posted that's been lifted for publication on someone else's blog, but that may only be because I'm not well known and my blog doesn't get a lot of traffic. If someone used my stuff to make money, it would probably tick me off.
In theory it should work the same way with blogs. The difference here is that generally blogging isn't done for money but for publicity. The more people see the blog and remember your name, the better. Consequently people usually don't care about their material cropping up elsewhere. In fact, they like to get lots of links. I notice that material from reviews in major papers is picked up by web sites here and there. My own posts are often picked up (whether I want them to be or not).
What exactly do you expect? A request for permission? Money? Or simply no copying at all?
Now if I run a short story on my web site, I would expect copyright to be honored. The short story can be sold to a publisher. I'm not sure that the average blog is written with that in mind.
I don't need your permission to report news on my website or anywhere else. I can lift your blog, say here's what Julie Lomoe said today, and I'm protected by the fourth amendment.
I'm not a journalist and don't know for certain that what you're saying is true, but given that even emails are coming to be considered copyrighted material, and that your blog can be shut down by the hosting service if you post other people's content without their permission, this may not be as true as you believe it to be.

Most of the sites I've seen use other content in a reporting scenario use only snippets and provide a link to the rest of the article or blog post, which a reasonable approach to this.
I think the key here is whether the copier is passing off the material as his own. I routinely copy small excerpts for my blog, but I always give credit, and the link to the original. For longer excerpts, I say what it's about, then provide the link.

I suspect copyright applies the same for blogs as for anything else. With the time stamps on blog entirs, it should be easy to determine which went up first. The real question is whether any real damage results. If I posted about what I had for breakfast today--which I promise never to do unless something damn entertaining happened--and someone lifts it without credit, I can probably only complain to their hosting service. I doubt I can recover any financial damages, since there are none.
"I think the key here is whether the copier is passing off the material as his own."

Exactly. If the New York Times reports we are at war with Canada, my blog, my newspaper, my national TV station can and will go on the air with the news. If I can't find my own sources, I will print the Times story verbatim -- or read aloud the first few graphs -- and attribute it to them. The New York Times reported today .....

The Associated Press, by agreement, does this for a living. Sometimes they rewrite, sometimes they don't.
I sometimes quote people, but I always toss in a link.

As for people poaching my material, well, I blog about a pretty arcane subject, namely the business side of popular culture, and the audience for that is way smaller than general politics or celebrity gossip, so the temptation to poach isn't all that strong.

I do get quoted occasionally but I always seem to get a link with it, so I don't mind the plugs.
You can write offline in Word, convert the file to a PDF and post that. Looters cannot copy and paste text that is posted in pdf format; they'd have to retype it. If you're worried about people stealing content, that's what you should do. Be sure to save your post in post script format first, then convert the ps file to pdf for the best text quality.
Thanks for the comments, everyone - you make some excellent points. Personally, I'm happy to be quoted and to have links to my blog show up elsewhere - as Ingrid says, it's more about publicity and building a name than about making money.

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