Monday, September 14, 2009

Final Proposal

"Just as with the early broadsheets, many blogs are published anonymously, or more specifically, pseudonymously. Blogging pseudonyms are generally not fleeting aliases but fixed public identities, which are strongly associated with a particular author’s style and ethos. The impressive proliferation of blogging as a form of writing has disseminated the category of “author” to an unprecedented level of true mass-culture participation, though the prevalence of pseudonymity in blogging suggests that “authorship” may be at once more influential and more disposable than ever before."

-- Anonymity, Authorship, and Blogger Ethics; By Amardeep Singh

The quote above taken from Anonymity, Authorship, and Blogger Ethics, by Amardeep Singh, sets the basic scope for this proposal. Blogs create an interesting atmosphere of sharing ideas, memories, events, and comments on the news. Since, the ideas of many are so often posted to readably accessible sites--where coincidental likeness between Blog enties/ideas and the unintentional and intentional borrowing of ideas from the environment, make it even hard to pin down author. Of course each blog entry is tagged by the author/poster of the blog, but because of the community atmosphere blogs create coupled with thousands of people reporting simular events and life stories--how is the author pinned down? Is there even the need of author when so much is borrowed or a like? Or is each blog entry, even with all it's likenesses to others and outside-the-blog sources, a personaly authored remix of events? How many remixes of the same idea can there be before it is no longer a reminx and instead a paraphrase of thousands of words writing in the past?

Reletive to the ideas of authorship on blogging sites, what of other writing forums. There a millions of hits on when one searches for "Online Writing Forum." Some of these includes sites like,, and All of these sites, in their Terms and Conditions, give the author/user of their forum full copyright and legal right of the work that they have posted for as long as it is posted on their site. But, how does this stop the borrowing of ideas for the users who read and give feedback to different people's work--especially when there are so many sites and so many places another author could hide stolen ideas from another. With or without copyrights or legal rights. How do we define author on sites that are so public with ideas that anyone can come by as they surf the web? What about collaborative creative writing sites like where the point of the site is to help give and take ideas from the community--do those ideas belong to the whole, or to the individual who first posted it, or to the individual who actually makes it into a story.

Authorship was created a few hundred years ago. According to Rafael Heller, "...the origins of our contemporary ideas about intellectual property date back roughly three hundred years, to a series of lawsuits amount rival publishing houses…. The most immediate goal, for the plaintiffs, was to prevent their competitors from producing cheap reprints of their bestsellers.” (Questionable Categories and the Case or Collaborative Writing). Heller defines the time period when single person authorship was defined, but not necessarily collaboritive authorship, web authorship. But, Rafael Heller continues to say that the debates that follow dealing with concepts of copyright, sampling, and plagiarism are also traced back to legal battles that help challenge the ideas of “intellectual property.” Maybe, another set of debates are needed to help define the "Commons" and the idea behind "Remixing."


Amardeep Singh. "Anonymity, Authorship, and Blogger Ethics." symploke 16.1-2 (2009): 21-35. Project MUSE. West Virginia University Libraries, Morgantown, WV. 2 Aug. 2009 .

Heller, Rafael. "Questionable Categories and the Case for Collaborative Writing." Rhetoric Review 22.2 (2003): 300-17. JSTOR. Web. 14 Sept. 2009.

"Published Books, Poetry - How To Get Published - WEbook." Book Publishing Companies - Publishing Books - WEbook Online Company. Web. 14 Sept. 2009. .

"Writing.Com: User / Membership Agreement." Writing.Com: Writers, Writing, Poetry, Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, Poetry Contests, Writing Contests. Web. 14 Sept. 2009.

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