Usually, I stay out of discussions of what is best to use for any given computer or web technology need. I don’t consider myself a technology expert and usually just figure out what works best for me and leave it at that. Once in a while though, I will pass on information about a company or product I use that I think goes above and beyond in terms of functionality or service. I have written in the past about GSAK for geocaching, and have posted a link in this site’s sidebar to Jonathan Bailey’s Plagiarism Today web site. This time, I write about Numly Numbers. As with the others, I have no personal relationship to or financial interest in the Numly Corporation having just recently subscribed to their service. So far, I just like the product and the responsiveness of their president, Chris Matthieu.
Numly describes their company as a copyright and license management corporation, providing electronic serial numbers for all things digital. Although many different types of items can use a Numly Number, the service for bloggers and other authors mainly provides a means to prove ownership and time of publication of written material. I use WordPress and have installed the wp-numly plugin that automatically assigns an electronic serial number ID to a post when I publish. It couldn’t be easier, and I am more comfortable knowing I have the records if I ever have to prove anything I’ve written has been plagiarized.
Unfortunately all of us who publish on the web, no matter how small our sites or semantically challenged our writing, are vulnerable to having our content stolen. Many of us are fairly flexible about how our writing is republished, quoted or otherwise used. Even though some sites, like this one, publish a page specifically detailing attribution and copyright requirements, concerns are mainly for the “inappropriate” reuse of content. In my case, if the reuse of my content is by a human or company with a legitimate web site and purpose, I am most likely OK with it. “Fair Use”, good attribution, and asking permission with an email in uncertain cases, go a long way toward avoiding disagreements when content is reused.
In the end, I’m not sure anything, even methods and tools like those provided by Numly and Plagiarism Today, can prevent malicious content theft. But… with Numly in place and a resource like Plagiarism today, I hope we will all have the confidence to aggressively go after any sites that, for example, scrape our feeds.