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A wise person once said to me that nothing is new and everything is an evolution of something that already exists.

There is nothing truer than this sentiment when it comes to the web. Look at the more popular sites and lets use YouTube as an example. How many of the viral/popular videos are parodies or response videos to another popular video? Old Spice ParodiesSh*t ____ Says and more.  I just watched Kevin Alloca’s Ted talk about Why Videos go Viral and found it fascinating how many viral videos are parodies on parodies of an original viral video and how popular *those* videos are.

The web is filled with individuals who have the ability and the need to take existing content and make  it their own.

But what about the originators of the content? Shouldn’t we credit and acknowledge those that created the original content? Or at least the individual or group that spent time and effort taking existing content that inspired us to put our own spin on it be it a comment,  a tweet, a shared link, a blog post, a pin or a video?

I am a passionate proponent of attributing where you found the content that was shared. If it was important enough for you to share it, comment on it, make a parody of it, then it should also be important to allow your friends/family/visitors to see the originating source. As Maria Popova says in the NY Times article  mentioned below “Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor. When we don’t honor discovery, we are robbing somebody’s time and labor. “

Today the NY Times wrote an article titled A Code of Conduct for Content Aggregators. The articles highlights examples of content sites that hijack  popular content and re-publish it as their own. What this article fails to mention is that this is the way of the web from the monster content aggregators to the little itty bitty bloggers. Everyone on the web is guilty of taking content  and republishing it as if they were the ones to create it. Part of this issue is not just the actual content but the discovery process.

And here is where The Curator’s Code comes in.  They have created a web browser bookmark that allows you to participate in giving attribution every time you share a link. There are two different icons that you can chose from when sharing a link – one that is considered a “via” link and the other is a “hat tip” or better known as “HT” link.

As per the definition on their site, “via”  indicates a link of direct discovery and “HT” indicates a link of indirect discovery, story lead, or inspiration.

Hopefully this will help stop the endemic issue of taking someone else’s content or shared information and republishing it as  your own.

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