Limbaugh Stealing from Blogs?

Kevin Aylward has spread the word on a strange case of misapropriation. It seems that Rush Limbaugh’s website has uncovered a graphic created by Natalie Drest back in October and put it on their site without attribution. Steven Taylor has noted other examples of sloppiness in the use of material found on the Web on Limbaugh’s site. The Commisar has dubbed the phenomenon “blagiarism.”

My suspicion is that Steven’s explanation is the correct one: This is a case of people not knowing “the rules” of dealing with material found on the web. Both my academic training and the protocols of blogging have ingrained in me the need to cite my sources scrupulously. To most people, though, the idea likely never occurs to them. Pictures, logos, and that sort of thing that one turns up via a Web search are obviously in the public domain since they’re just “out there” for the taking.

It’s not inconceivable to me that a reader found the graphic on the Web (on Jessica’s Well or elsewhere) after hearing Rush mention the story on the air, and Limbaugh’s staff simply using the graphic. Indeed, the alternative explanation–that they wanted to somehow take credit for pasting a picture of the headline over a picture of a LIFE magazine cover as some sort of creative achievement–rather implausible.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.