Around five years ago, a friend of mine started a technology pseudo-blog— “pseudo” because he really doesn't really write the stuff; he just copypastas content from technology blogs and news sites. One of these sources discovered my friend's blog after doing a test search for one of his articles.
Needless to say, the source was furious. And to make a long story short, my friend was virtually booted out of cyberspace in swift fashion. I have not heard from him in years.
(Of course, there should be other reasons why my friend has been missing from the Internet. But that's a pile-up that started with this episode and what happened next is a long story.)
After the viewing party last June 29th at the National Sports Grill, I had the chance to sit down with the administrators of what arguably are the most dedicated Philippine football websites and fan pages. A large part of our discussion revolved around the bad form of some Tumbler and Weebly users. The general sentiment was, at the very least, annoyance about how these users exploit our works: articles, photographs, graphics, and multimedia content.
I have no problem with copypasters, even with the bad ones who don't even have the decency to cite where they're getting their stuff from— although I do call them out some times. But my nonchalance regarding “intellectual property protection” is a personal choice that I have no right to impose on others. In PinoyFootball— being a collaborative effort and a product in itself—, I had to consider what our content creators thought is just right and tried to enforce that. And over the last few months, I have had to send letters to a few admins/web masters out there and fortunately, most of those matters have been resolved fairly quickly and amicably. I've actually gained a couple of new friends because of those letters!
Note that I wrote “fortunately”; because it appears that my admin friends have not been as fortunate as I had been in dealing with copypasters. They say that the recipients of some of their letters, while apologetic, have not actually done anything to address the issue. And they keep on doing the same shit after saying they'd correct the problem. Understandably, my friends are very unhappy.
Have PinoyFootball, SoccerCentralPH, the PHL Azkals and Azkals Facebook fan pages somehow left the impression that those websites are authoritative? That the information contained in their pages and notes is canonical; that others would so want to claim the information as their own creation and therefore, make themselves seem like authorities?
I can only speak for what had been* PinoyFootball. It's true that it has veteran journalists in their ranks and it might seem to many that if something is posted on that site, it must be true. But from the onset, PinoyFootball has always been a website by football fans for fellow fans— and yes, even professionals can be “just fans” after a long day at the office (and of course, there are the “unprofessionals”, whom we won't speak of).
The goal then was simply to let people know what we knew at the time, regardless of whether that is the only way an event can be told; and to initiate discussion on the website's Facebook group, on the website's comments section, in UsapangFootball, and wherever.
What some of those copypasting Tumbler and Weebly users don't realise is that their visitors either 1) have been to the original sites and groups already; or 2) will go to those sites, groups, forums, and pages anyway. There's really nothing wrong with that on those sites' end— a hit is a hit, no matter when it came.
But for a user to spend a lot of time scouring those websites for new stuff, copying, reformatting, and uploading them to Tumbler or Weebly, instead of spending that time creating something that reflects their own opinion about things, and sharing it to the world— now, that's pathetic.
Surely, there is some way that fans who have a genuine desire to share information about Philippine football can work together— or, at the very least, not get in each other's way. And to the more competitive-minded website operators: you really can't compete by leeching on the competition— because that way, you'll always be a step behind.
Wouldn't it be easier— and more fun— to just smash ideas against one another to see which is meatier?
* I am no longer invloved with PinoyFootball, and I don't know whether they will implement changes to information management and syndication policies when they get a new web master.