Friday, February 8, 2013

Incorrect assumptions about email ownership

        Many younger email/internet users have seldom or never experienced doing research from traditional sources such as  books, magazines or newspapers.  Older email/internet users who have had experience with non-electronic forms of information were most often taught about plagiarism, copying or otherwise misusing information and writing not their own.  Both of the aforementioned groups carry assumptions regarding ownership based upon many dynamics by and from which electronic data and capabilities have changed traditional values.

        The following  are some common practices many users from all demographic groups have misconceptions about and wrongfully use without any thought of possible wrong doing.


1.       [The use of someone's email or work with acknowledgement of an author's name and data location.]  Wrong, permission is necessary.

2.       [Blocks of text, photos or email can be cut and pasted into someone else's email, blog or other content.]  Wrong this is still another's content.

3.       [Ownership of internet email content created by another for marketing, newsletters or announcements is automatically given to the contractor.] Not correct, ownership is not automatically carried over unless contractually agreed to.

4.       [Emails sent to companies, groups or individuals which express sentiment or provide suggestions or information can be posed freely.]  Incorrect, ownership of the content is the author's and permission must be given.

5.       [Display of email or images from other sites is permissible when showing a specific relationship.]  This is not correct.  Permission much be obtained from the owner.


The instances noted above are examples of inadvertent Netiquette abuse i.e., plagiarism.  In traditional situations, these situations probably would not happen.  Indeed these occurrences reflect the importance of Netiquette education.

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