Thoughts on programming and more from an independent enterprise consultant and authority in Java and .NET technologies.
Recently, an email crossed my Inbox from a friend who was concerned about some questionable
practices involving my content (as well as a few others'); apparently, I have been
listed as an "author" for SysCon, I have a "domain" with them,
and that I've been writing for them since 10 January, 2003, including two articles,
"Effective Enterprise Java" and "Java/.NET Interoperability".
Given that both of those "articles" are summaries from presentations I've
done at conferences past, I'm a touch skeptical. In fact, it feels like those summaries
were scraped from conferences I've done in the past, and I certainly don't
remember ever giving Sys-Con (or any other conference) the right to reprint my presentation
as an article.
Then it turns out that apparently I'm
not the only one suffering this problem. Go. Read that article, then come back.
I promise, I'll wait.
(Seriously, go read it.)
Wow. Just... wow. If even half of what Aral's story is true (and I'm inclined
to believe at least part of it, given that he's done some pretty meticulous documentation
of at least his side of the story), then this is beyond outrageous, and squarely into
Now, I'll be the first to admit, I've not heard back from Sys-Con about any of this,
so if I get any sort of response I'll be sure to update this blog post. But...
Calling anyone a "homosexual son of a bitch", "terrorist"
or "fag" is so unbelievably offensive it staggers the mind. Normally,
I'd be a bit hesitant to just give either party the benefit of the doubt on that one,
given just how ludicrous the accusation sounds, but Aral includes screen shots of
the articles, which in of itself lends an air of credibility to the accusation—either
Aral is the world's worst Turkish translator, or Sys-Con's translation into Turkish
is a bit on the "edgy" side, or Sys-Con really did call him that. Which
implies that whichever way this goes, doesn't look good for one of the two parties.
But even if we leave that to one side....
Sys-Con is playing with fire by collecting my content and claiming me as an author. Sys-Con
never contacted me about becoming a part of their "Ulitzer" website. They
never asked me for permission to reprint my articles, though, I'll admit, I can't
find where the articles actually exist, nor links to the articles, so maybe they didn't,
actually, reprint the article, but just link to them... except I can't find the links
to the articles or the presentations, either. They never asked me for an updated bio
or photo, and in fact, they pretty clearly grabbed both bio, photo and "summaries"
from an old location, because that bio lists me as a DevelopMentor instructor (which
I haven't been for two years or so), and as living in Sacramento, CA (which I haven't
been for about three years or so). Let me be very clear about this: I do not
write for Sys-Con Media. I never have. They have never asked permission to reuse any
of the content I have produced. I am appalled at being included in such a fashion.
Note that I'm not opposed to being linked to, mind you—if I put material on my blog,
I generally expect (and hope) that people will link to it, and I don't demand permission
or even notification when it happens. But to claim that I've written material for
an entity does mean I expect to at least be asked if it's OK to use my likeness,
name, or material. No such request was ever made of me, so far as I can remember or
find (through my own email archives, which stretch back to 2001).
And I can say that I've thought about this issue before, from the other side of the
story—back when I was editor at TheServerSide.NET, we began a "blogger's program"
that would take interesting blog posts from around the Internet and "collect"
them in some fashion for TSS.NET readers. Originally, the thought was to simply reproduce
the content directly on our site, and I hated that idea, for the same reasons as I
dislike it when somebody does it to me. Regardless of the licensing model the blog
entries are published under, to me, a publication or media firm owes the author at
least the right of refusal, and a chance to be notified when their material is reused.
(In the end, we chose to ask authors if we could reproduce their material in the program,
and we never (to my knowledge) had an author refuse.) It doesn't take a real rocket
scientist's brain to figure out that asking permission is never a bad thing to do
if you want to maintain good will with your sources of material.
This is an open and public request to Sys-Con media: either contact me about using
my name, likeness and material on your website, or remove it. (I have emailed their
editorial and asked them to acknowledge receipt of my request.)
In the meantime, I will be making every effort to make sure that other content-producers
I know are aware of Sys-Con's practices, so they can act as they see fit.
If you are a reader, and find this distasteful as well, then I suggest you follow
some of the suggestions mentioned in Aral's blog post:
Meanwhile, I'm going to be talking about this to everybody I know at Microsoft, desperately
seeking to find out which department engaged the advertising with Sys-Con, and looking
to convince them that they don't need this kind of press or association. Ditto for
the contacts (far fewer in number) I have with IBM, and any other Sys-Con advertiser
Enterprise consulting, mentoring or instruction. Java, C++, .NET or XML services.
1-day or multi-day workshops available. Contact
me for details.