Another Look at Content Curation

[posted by Alice]

I have now been using scoop.it for a couple of weeks, and I find that it’s a helpful way to gather resources, much the way Pinterest enables users to pull together a collection of appealing images. But because I’m a supporter of bloggers and their right to make an income from the content they create, and a supporter of the National Writers Union’s “Pay the Writer” campaign, I decided to do some research about how content curation has affected bloggers and whether or not it’s considered to be copyright violation.

Bloggers’ opinions seem to run the gamut from Frederic Martinet at actulligence.com whose post “Curation — it’s shit” calls curation “revoltingly bad” to Kay McMahon at Kay’s Traffic Blog who has a more measured estimation in her post “Is content curation theft?” She answers that curation is not theft if it’s done fairly and legally, giving attributions to the original source and providing comments to add value to the curation. But even Ms. McMahon has a very low opinion of Pinterest, “whose very existence seems to depend on facilitating the theft and ‘sharing’ of other people’s content,” often making it difficult for users further along the line to track down the origin of “pinned” content.

At other blogs Pinterest seems to be regarded as the worst of the curation sites. The blogger at Resourceful Mommy, in a post called “Content (Curation) Is King,” gives examples of a corporate site stealing from independent bloggers. She shows that Pinterest makes this easy by obscuring the original source of images posted there. The Resourceful Mommy blogger says this kind of content theft matters because “When larger sites and companies take our content without permission or payment, they cut off a revenue source.” Comments at the end of the Resourceful Mommy post echo these concerns.

Though here at Digital Gloss, I’m trying to gather resources about digital publishing, I don’t want to participate in a trend that will undermine the livelihood of other writers. Therefore, I’ll use scoop.it as a private resource and nothing more, and I have deleted the “scooped” post mentioned in my September 23 post.