I Choose "Business Ethics!"

May 31, 2013 Blogging 25

Howdy Bookworms!

Today will be my last entry for the DELIGHTFUL Armchair BEA, and I must say I’ve had so much fun participating! All the Armchair BEA-ers who have been hopping around and commenting have been so welcoming and fabulous. I want to give the whole darn internet a hug right now!

Today’s topic is a sticky one… ETHICS! I can’t help it. I hear the word “ethics” and my brain immediately recalls Adam Sandler in Billy Madison attacking his opponent with the “business ethics” category in the academic decathlon.

Seriously though. Blogging and the internet in general can be such an untamed jungle roars and posturing. Where are the lines drawn? I’ve heard a lot of stories from other book bloggers about plagiarism. Like, there are people trolling the internet just waiting to steal your awesomeness. What the what? Isn’t the point of blogging to put your OWN voice out there? Let your freak flag fly? Tell the world, “I like big books, and I cannot l lie!” See that right there? That’s a take off of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s CLASSIC tune, “Baby Got Back.” And see THIS? This is me, crediting Sir Mix-a-Lot. Alright. To be fair, “Baby Got Back” has reached ubiquitous pop culture status. It’s so obvious where the joke is coming from that it really doesn’t need crediting. Most book bloggers? Not so ubiquitous. If you borrow someone’s ideas, credit them. If they inspire you, let them know.

To my knowledge, nobody’s ever ripped off my writing to pass as their own. I’m happy about that, because DUDE. All the essence of Katie comes out up in this piece. Someone stealing my words would be like stealing my SOUL. Bad form y’all. There is a tiny piece of me that hopes some lazy high school student will try to plagiarize one of my blogs to use as a book report, only to have their teacher read my nonsense and chastise them. Serves you right, lazy school child! Read the book! Read it!

Listen to the angel penguin, Katie!

Listen to the angel penguin, Katie!

Image copyright laws confuse the heck out of me. I’m no saint when it comes to ye old google image search, but recently I’ve been making an effort to list sources of my images where possible. I like to find images on Wikimedia Commons because they’re posted specifically for the borrowing. A little courtesy goes a long way. If you see something cool on someone else’s blog, ask them if you can use it. Andi of Estella’s Revenge was incredibly gracious when I asked to borrow her image of a red alligator for my Swamplandia! review. Most people are only an email away, and EVERYONE appreciates being credited. Plus, you know. A little effort put toward good manners could save you from being sued down the line… And being sued? Ain’t nobody got time for that! (Sweet Brown said that. Her clip went viral, so probably no need to cite. I’m just making a point. POINT POINT POINT!)

Let’s see… More ethics. Oh! It’s super shady to say that you loved a book if you didn’t. I mean, you don’t have to be a complete jerk face about it, but tell the truth. Honesty- it’s a thing. Most book bloggers I know give the stink eye to the concept of being paid for reviews. Accepting a free copy of a book for review purposes? That’s standard practice. Being paid by a third party to provide an unbiased review? No problem. But being paid by an author or publisher to review their book? That crosses a line. Shoot, it’s not like any of us are going to become millionaires by book blogging. No sense in selling your integrity so cheaply.

Anybody else out there got any hot button ethical dilemmas? What’s your take on things? Where are the lines in the sand? And WHY haven’t you entered my contest to NAME THAT BOOK CLUB yet?! Go do that right now. Then come back here and talk about ethics.

25 Responses to “I Choose "Business Ethics!"”

  1. JoulesDellinger

    I occasionally do reviews on my blog and haven’t been paid to do the reviews but will frequently receive the item for free in order to review it. I’m always sure to be super clear about the fact that I got the item for free. It has only happened once that I absolutely HATED the item I was supposed to review — so I emailed the company back and told them exactly the reasons why I would not be able to give them a positive review and decided not to publish it on my blog. Part of me feels like I should have just printed the negative review… but the angel sitting on my Joules shoulder thinks it’s much nicer to not trash a company online unless they really, really deserve it!

    • Words for Worms

      You’re always really good about being transparent on those product reviews. I don’t blame you for passing on the review of the company whose product sucked. I don’t always give books glowing reviews, but even if it wasn’t my cup of tea, I try to pinpoint the type of reader it WOULD appeal to… But there’s something to be said for not saying anything at all. If a book stinks so much I don’t finish it? It USUALLY doesn’t make an appearance here.

      • Monika (@lovelybookshelf)

        Totally agree on passing when I DNF a book. I feel like it’s not fair to discuss if I didn’t push through to the end. What if the book got really amazing all of a sudden?? Or something review-changing happens in those unread pages?

        Great post!

        • Words for Worms

          Thanks Monika! I’m struggling through a book right now- I am so tempted to DNF, but I keep going and reading the abstract and it sounds so good in theory, I am having guilt setting it aside! I have to make the decision before I hit the halfway point. If I make it halfway I MUST finish. It’s a compulsion.

        • Words for Worms

          A “sourcey” link is a term I made up. LOL. I just meant that I put a caption that says “source” under some of my photos, and I add a link to the word so if someone clicks the “source” link, they’ll be taken to where I found the photo.

  2. Sarah Says Read

    Good thinking, mentioning the “I received this book for free in exchange for yada yada” thing. It’s not something I usually think about, although I’m pretty sure that the few times I did receive and review an ARC, I said as such. And yeah, honesty! Don’t tell someone a book is awesome if it isn’t, why would you do that to your blog readers who trust your judgement and taste in books?

    Ethics. So much of it is a “duh” thing, lol.

    • Words for Worms

      Seriously, so much is a “duh” thing! I do try to mention when I’ve gotten something from NetGalley, so I’m all transparent and stuff. If I don’t say otherwise, it’s from the library or I bought it. No agenda there, other than me possibly being disgruntled for spending money on something I didn’t like.

  3. Jennine G.

    I recently caught on to the issue of crediting pics I’ve found through google images. So it’s nice to hear of some sites specific for sharing images! And I find myself not blogging about books I didn’t care for – although if I had one I was doing for review, I would have to and I would post about it honestly. I wouldn’t want my readers to feel I had duped them.

    • Words for Worms

      I’ll tell people if I didn’t like something, but if I don’t finish it at all, I usually don’t mention it… Unless I’m feeling especially ranty. That’s part of the reason I don’t accept self pubs… I feel that a bad review would hurt them a lot more than it would someone with a publisher’s backing, you know?

  4. Jenny

    As my friend Whiskey Jenny and I have been working on putting together our podcast, we’ve been fretting a lot about fair use and copyright and things. Part of me wants to prop up fair use, and part of me is petrified of using a clip of a song or a clip from a movie or something and having the creators write me an angry cease-and-desist letter. It’s tricky! Use of a clip for critical purposes is supposed to be classified as transformative, but music and film companies can be really litigious and crabby about that. It is nervewracking AND I also want to be not a jerk about using other people’s work.

    • Words for Worms

      Oh goodness, the music industry scares me the most. When my husband was running his video business, he refused to use copyrighted music in the editing process. He could use ambient stuff, so the reception scenes had the right songs, but if you wanted “Going To The Chapel” playing during the getting ready sequence? You had to find a less paranoid videographer!

  5. Megan M.

    I guess I’m the only one who saw the title of this post and thought, “Business Ethics Book Club? I don’t get it.”

  6. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    Ha ha, I never thought about students trying to rip off reviews for a book report. That would be kinda hilarious wouldn’t it??

    I put the source (along with publisher/category/blah blah blah) at the top of all of my reviews. I hope that covers the whole FTC thing!

    • Words for Worms

      Pretty sure that covers you! But yes, wouldn’t it be hilarious if one of my readers were a teacher and a student tried to rip me off? That would be such a sitcom plot. Why do they not make these things into sitcoms?!

  7. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    You make a good point about payment for reviews. If the payment comes from a third party — a website, publication, whatever — then I think it’s totally fair and even good for bloggers to get compensated for their work. But if the payment is coming from an author or publisher? Bad form.

    I think there’s an interesting discussion to have about book tours. Obviously bloggers aren’t being paid directly by publishers/authors for them, but someone is being paid to set it up on behalf of a publisher/author. Is that publishers/authors paying for coverage? I don’t know.

    • Words for Worms

      I hadn’t thought about blog tours… I haven’t done one. I’ve turned them down in the past because the book didn’t sound interesting to me… Plus it’s always bothered me that there’s no escape clause if you end up hating the book… Confusing!

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