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Unaccredited: The Chronicle disses the Ubiquitous Librarian (again!)

July 16, 2007, 4:29 pm

Back in June I posted about Woodbury University in Second Life.  Long story short, the hypocrites at Linden Labs destroyed the campus because of misbehavior. The Chronicle of High Education reported about it here: The Death of a Virtual Campus. The online version of the article does not include photos, however if you look at the print version: July 13th (2007) p. A22, you’ll see something like this:

Secondlifechronicle (thanks Tara!)

Nice layout, but hmmm, those screenshots look familiar. Where have I seem them before? Oh yeah, they’re mine. On July 3rd The Chronicle’s photo editor emailed me:

"A reporter has requested that we get some images of the virtual Woodbury University to run with an upcoming story about Second Life. I’d like a variety, but specifically, one of the dorm rooms and some of the campus. I am on a very tight deadline, so the sooner you can get back to me, the better."

I suggested that she take a look at my Woodbury blog post and see if that was sufficient. Since the Woodbury U campus had been “removed” by the Second Life folks, those were all that remained. I followed up with a second email stating that I had found their new location (the Woodbury – North Campus) and could provide additional images if needed.

I received no response from either of my emails. So I guess the question is: do screenshots fall under copyright? Every editor I’ve ever worked with has sought permission from content providers in order to publish screenshots. I don’t mind that The Chronicle used my images, but it would have been nice if they had credited me, or at least cited the blog post from which they’d ripped the graphics. I feel a bit disrespected. You can see from the email that they were snappy toward me – we need this now! – and it wasn’t even from someone I knew.

If you’ve read my original post you’ll see that I worked like an internet anthropologist: I spent several weeks observing the Woodbury crew in order to gain that level of access. The reporter might have learned something by talking to me, someone who actually spent time on the virtual campus with these "griefers." What were they really like? What did I see? What’s the real story?

I guess The Chronicle has it out for me: they steal my shots and paint me as the anti-reference reference librarian. Oh well…

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