Credit where due
Pictures with the fms silhouette logo are copyright © Frank M. Stajano. (Other pictures on this web site may or may not be -- for lack of time, I haven't yet marked all the pictures that I could or should have.)
As a scientist and an academic, I am very sensitive to the importance of quoting one's sources. Firstly, the quality, quantity and relevance of the references alert the reader to the amount of background research that the author performed: someone listing few or no references looks suspiciously unaware of important work carried out by those who studied the subject before. Secondly, but no less importantly, quoting and acknowledging useful work by others on which we base our own is, besides common courtesy, the principal currency in which scientific work is rewarded. Results that are widely quoted by the community of one's peers are important, while those that nobody quotes are forgotten. It goes without saying that reproducing someone else's results and passing them as one's own is simply plagiarism. So the code of honour followed by scientists considers it a grave misbehaviour not to give proper credit where due.
Sadly, experience taught me that writing about comics can be a rather more cutthroat business. In the past, photographs I took were reproduced in magazines without asking for any kind of permission and without even mentioning me; some prose I wrote was recycled almost word for word without any mention not just of my name but even of the title of the book it came from. Note that I was not after money -- just politeness and honesty.
For this reason I have decided to place my logo on any new photographs I display on the web. Of course this will not stop unscrupulous individuals to crop the logo away and reproduce the rest of the picture without acknowledging me, and of course it does nothing to protect text, but I'm just trying to make the offence more blatant. As a security professional I am familiar with steganographic markings and ways to defeat them, but I'd rather avoid having to waste my time in that kind of battleground. I'm just hoping that this will act as a reminder.
I'd like to make it clear that I am usually happy to grant permission to reprint my texts or pictures elsewhere, if I am asked politely and given appropriate credit (fortunately, this too has happened in the past). What I don't like are the freeloaders.
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