Is copying people’s work ok?

I know a guy who dislikes 9gag because the content are simply copy-and-pasted from somewhere else and credits are given to the 9gag author.

His main beef is that people at 9gag are getting credit for simply copy and pasting from somewhere else. I personally don’t see a problem with that. It is not that I do not respect intellectual property, but I think the content were anonymous to start with and it’s purpose was to spread. Take jokes for instance. A lot of jokes are anonymous, in a sense that we don’t attribute an author to it, although someone must have invented it. Jokes have also evolved and migrated over time, so a blonde joke at one place will appear somewhere else as a joke about another group.

However, that analogy falls short because his argument is not against the spreading and evolving of jokes, but rather giving credits for a work that is copied somewhere else. So the argument on jokes falls short because we don’t usually credit someone for the jokes he told. We usually see it as a carrier of the jokes, but not the ‘creator’.

A better analogy would be sites like reddit. It serves to provide links to interesting articles filtered by millions of people by category. It is quite common to see people quoting reddit as their source instead of the original site. Is there are problem with that?

I think that sites like 9gag serve as a content aggregator for internet memes. I admit that some of the contents are merely copied from somewhere else without giving credits to the original author but I also want to point out that some of the contents are, in my opinion, original work from the contributors. There are memes that are in direct response to older memes,

Secondly, given the vast amount of resources online, it is very hard to give credit where credit is due. This is because, like the case of jokes, most of the ideas are anonymous. I believe that if the original author wanted credits for his work, the people that are propagating the memes would gladly give credits. After all, there is nothing to lose by crediting the original author; they should be grateful for the author for coming up with such a good idea.

Question: Where does compilation books like “Damn you, Autocorrect”


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