Hi, everybody! I’ve gotten some emails & requests lately from people who are excited about Teachers Write (which is great!) and want to share the content with the whole entire world (which can be great or not-so-great, depending on how you do it.)
Here’s the thing… Material posted on blogs is protected under copyright. Copying and pasting an entire blog post and posting it on another blog or website or wiki, or turning it into a pdf and offering it for download is kind of like scanning a published book into your computer and uploading it to an illegal download site for book pirating.
When people do that with books & music, they are stealing from authors and artists. I’m not making any money from this blog, but the fact that you are here, on my website, reading my content is important to me. If the content that I share here (or that Gae shares on her blog or Jen on TMT) is suddenly published in a zillion other places, that makes it less special. It also makes it harder for me to defend the many hours I’m spending on this writing camp to my publishers when they ask when my next book will be done.
More importantly than that, though, I feel a responsibility to the guest authors who have been sharing their time and ideas here. I asked them for — and received — permission to post their mini-lessons and essays and prompts here, on this blog as part of the official Teachers Write camp. That’s all. They haven’t given permission for their stuff to be shared elsewhere, and while finding it in other places might be okay with some of them, it will most certainly ruffle the feathers of others, and rightfully so. Because the words belong to them, and it’s not what they gave permission for.
I totally understand that you are all awesome people who respect authors and artists and ideas, and I know that your only goal here is to share what you think is useful content. But please, please do that in a way that respects the creators of that content as well as copyright laws. Here are some guidelines:
OKAY: Writing a blog post with the writing that you created in response to a writing prompt or assignment, with a link to the assignment at its original URL.
NOT OKAY: Copying and pasting the entire assignment or prompt on your own blog or website.
OKAY: Copying and pasting the content of an assignment or prompt into a Word document to save in a file or print for a paper binder for your own personal use.
NOT OKAY: Copying and pasting assignments/prompts into a Word document and offering it as a download online. (Essentially, this is the file-sharing model used by Napster and other pirating sites.)
OKAY: Creating a “Best of Teachers Write” list with post titles and the original URL links to your favorite assignments and prompts, and sharing this list that you created on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you like.
NOT OKAY: Copying and pasting a guest author’s prompt that you loved into your blog, facebook update, or someplace else online.
When in doubt, don’t copy and paste. Link to the original content on the site where it was originally published.
Please don’t fret if you broke one of these guidelines before you read this. Just fix it if you can. I know that you are all awesome people, and you don’t need to email me to ask if I still love you. I do.
But really….these are good guidelines for any website or book or other artistic content that you like. Send people to the original source — the original website, the published book, the link to purchase the song on iTunes — rather than copying or sharing in a way that takes away from the creator of that work.
Many of you have written to me or talked in blog comments about wanting to have this Teachers Write content in one place where it’s easier to access. I hear you loud and clear, and one of the publishers I work with has already approached me about the possibility of putting together a Teachers Write book. I love that idea. I hope it works out and gives us that place to have all the lessons and prompts easy to access, and I hope we can include some excerpts of the great writing you’ve done this summer, too. But doing that the right way — writing to every author who contributed a guest post to see if they’d like to have it included or not — will take time. I’m working on it — I promise — and I do think we’ll end up with what you’ve asked for, which is all of the material in one place as both a paper book and an e-book. (I also have this fantasy that if it comes together & people buy it, I’ll be able to offer a one-time scholarship for teachers who want to attend a writing conference or retreat…but that is a post for another day.)
Anyway…I know you want all the Teachers Write stuff in one place.
I’m working on it, but I really want to do it the right way, legally, and in a way that respects all the authors who have contributed. In the mean time, all the Teachers Write posts will be here, on my blog, and you can bookmark any post and visit any time.
If you’d help me out with that by following the sharing guidelines above, I’d really appreciate it.