Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulleth the edge of husbandry.

-William Shakespeare, Hamlet I, iii


Okay, soapbox time.  If you're not a webmaster, you should probably hit your "back" button and skip this. 

This is not directed towards all webmasters.  Most of you are fellows-in-arms and have to deal with this same problem.  Then again, if you are offended by my rant, then it probably IS directed towards you.

I am so fed up with thieves!!! 

I when I say "thieves", I do NOT mean people who download sound and picture files for  their personal enjoyment or e-mail to or post usenet files for fellow fans.  After all, that's WHY this site was created, to share with fellow fans.

I  DO mean people who help themselves to sounds, photos and interviews and post them on their own sites, never asking permission and often not even bothering to give a return link.  We even found one "fan" printing out our episode guide and goofs and SELLING it to other fans.  One posted large sections of Rozane's interviews (without her permission or even notifying her), then added two sentences of his own at the end, and thought that made it original.  I could go on and on...

It took four years of hard work to get the site where it is, not to mention quite a bit of time and expense.  I think we have accomplished a lot and I'm quite proud of how the site has grown.  I know we couldn't have done it without the help and support of our fellow fans.  If our page is one of the best, it is only because so many people have contributed to make it so.  In a way, I often think of myself as a caretaker, which might be why this bothers me so much...

I am so sick and tired of having to write to thieving webmasters and ask/tell them to remove our stuff, then 9 times out of 10 getting a freaking argument about it:

"but I said it came from your site"
Big deal, you should have ASKED PERMISSION first.  By the way, "no" means NO.  Not, "yeah, go ahead and use it."

"but I gave you a link"
Burying the link along with a bunch of others on a links page isn't acceptable when the majority of your content is from our site.

"but I didn't get it off your site, X sent it to me"
Oh, that makes it all okay then, it must not be ours if someone else stole it first.  After all, if someone stole my car and gave it to you, the police wouldn't  consider it stolen anymore, right???

We have had to deface almost all our photos so that they would be less desirable to thieves.  I HATE having to do that, mostly because I would like fans to be able to download the pics for their own personal use without having to see "Erika & Rozane's Emergency! Site" plastered all over them.  Sound files are just as bad.

I'm certainly not perfect.  I've posted things that I found out later were not free to be posted.  I TRY to make sure I'm not posting someone else's stuff, and if at some point the rightful owner contacts me and asks me to remove them, well, then, I'm out of luck.

We WANT there to be other Emergency! sites.  We're happy to help when we can, but we can NOT give out our stuff to use.  Maybe that sounds greedy but think about it -- What would be the point in us having a site?  Besides, so many things (like the goofs, photos, trivia, etc) are compilations from multitudes of fans that there would be no way I could ever track them all down and get their permission for it to be posted elsewhere.  There are plenty of E! sites out there that have their own original content.  It has been done. 

"But it's all been done, there's nothing new!"  Then why bother copying someone else???  Would you copy Shakespeare's plays?  Of course not, what would be the point?  They've been DONE.  They're available to anyone who wants them.  You would just be wasting your time.

Maybe I'm sounding like a <insert your favorite insult here>, but I've been fighting this fight for four years now and usually with the same people over and over again and I'm beginning to think cutting off a thief's hand isn't such a cruel punishment after all.

So, what has this little snipe-spree accomplished?  Probably nothing except giving me the opportunity to let off some steam.  After all, I doubt the people who are stealing stuff will let this bother them.  However, I am interested in ideas on how we might be able to deter this problem --  A "Hall of Shame" listing people who are stealing stuff?  A webmaster boycott (no links to pages with stolen goods)? 

If you're a webmaster who is tired of dealing with this problem, please e-mail us your ideas or just to let us know that we're not alone in our feelings.


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