Sunday, March 30, 2008

You're welcome to use any of our data ... except this bit

As I've got work published in my name, and I had to conduct research to write those books, I am aware of copyright and how annoying it is to have others reproduce your work as their own. However in academic circles it is quite acceptable to refer to the work of others so long as it is referenced properly. Indeed, I would see it as a complement if someone referenced my words in work of their own. It is also common practice [these days] for businesses to publish white papers and/or research as part of their promotional efforts. Quite what Netfactual's business model is I cannot be bothered to find out, but I did come across their site when researching for my latest book. Their home pages says ' NetFactual's goal is to share factual information about the Internet for everyone to use. Any of this data maybe used as long as you cite and you agree to our data policy'.

While on their site I found some facts I liked, and was about to use them - referenced correctly, of course - but at the bottom of the pdf file that had the details I liked, it said: Exclusive & Proprietary. This Report is being provided with the understanding that Reader, agrees that the information herein is the exclusive, and proprietary property of In accepting this Report, the Reader agrees that all information herein will not be copied, replicated and distributed with any third party without prior written consent from'

Harrumph. Guess what Netfactual, I don't have time to contact every one I am going to reference, so your correctly referenced data - complete with link from the book's web site - will not get mention in my book. You know, the one that will be read by those working in - and hoping to work in - online marketing.

So make your mind up, if your content is part of your organization promotion, sort out your copyright issues.

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