Brian Flemming/LA.com asked:
a) Free to link to blogging.la? If so, we will continue to link to entries at blogging.la that we feel will interest our readers.
b) Not free to link to blogging.la? If you prefer, we will no longer link to blogging.la.
After reading all the comments on the LAblogs thread, talking to all the blogging.la authors, and reviewing the Creative Commons license we publish everything under at blogging.la the official answer is C) All of the Above.
Lets back that up and start with the Creative Commons license. All content on blogging.la is published under a Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0 License which says a few things, including that anyone is free to copy, distribute, display, the work as long as they must give the original author credit, and they don’t use this work for commercial purposes.
Blogs, in general, are not commercial. They might have ads, but in rare cases do those ever pay for more than the cost of up-keeping the site. LA.com is a commercial site, there’s no question that the main goal behind it is to make money — the content of the site being the lure. Therefor, using our content on that site is a violation of the Creative Commons license. Because of that, we have to ask that any original content from blogging.la not be republished on LA.com. However, you are free to link to whatever content on blogging.la that you want.
Countless e-mails have been exchanged in the past few days between all of us at b.la about this and while everyone has their own opinion of the situation, the general feeling is that we and other LA sites were being used. This is in part because LA.com is NOT a blog. It’s a mega-media corporate site with a small section pretending to be a blog for marketing reasons. A blog is generally accepted to be a personal website, the same kind of thing on a major media site is an editorial column — not a blog.
Therefore, the “norms of blogging” which Brian keeps referring to do NOT apply to LA.com. They apply to Brian’s personal blog, but not to LA.com or the LA.comfidential section. We’d be having the same reaction right now if our posts were used in such rapid succession on LAtimes.com or any other big media site.
One thing that a lot of people are asking is a resounding “Why?” LABlogs is a site where anyone can log in and blog about goings on in LA. Blogging.la is a site where a selected group of regular authors blog about the goings on in LA. While different at the core, these two sites are working very hard to accomplish something and you can’t expect another site to come in and try to do the same thing and be welcomed with opened arms. We’re all getting the feeling that either A, you think you can do a better job, or B, you think we had a good idea and you want to steal it. Neither of those are very flattering for us, or you.
This isn’t limited to LA.com, and I’m not trying to stir up more shit here, but when we were contacted the other morning by LA Voice, a site where anyone can log in and blog about the goings on in LA, we (at b.la) had the same reaction. “Isn’t LABlogs already doing this? WTF?”
The only answer we can come up with in all cases is someone else is trying to get credit not due to them or to make a fast buck. Again, not so flattering. (ok, that was out of line. I’m a dick. sorry.)
The fact is, LA.com has way more resources and money behind it than any of our sites, if you take our ideas (per post, or overall) it doesn’t aim to help us, it aims to replace us. So what now? Brian said he wanted to use the site as a “force for good rather than evil.” Our suggestion is that you stop acting like it’s a blog and treat it like the editorial column it is. I’m sure both LABlogs and Blogging.la would be happy to work out a system where a feed of “most recent posts from …” could be included on LA.com which would give some content, but without any question of where it comes from. It would also be a great example of “all work[ing] together for the good of the online L.A. community,” where as repeating what we are already doing with a bigger advertising campaign certainly isn’t.