27 September 2010

Blogger Code of Ethics?

Recently in my blog wandering, I stumbled across a blog that really disturbed me.  I consider myself an honest person.  I think most people are honest people.  But this blog, which I won't include the url for, actually advocated cheating Ancestry & and other pay site that you felt the need to use.

I guess the thing that bothered me BESIDES the fact that she was advocating cheating was the fact that she has the geneablogger logo on her website. 

I don't know anyone that has time to read every single geneablogger blog that is out there, I certainly don't.  But I do know that when someone gets "splogged" as they called it, everyone gets up in arms and writes alot of posts about it. 

Here's this blogger with the geneablogger logo, she's an affiliate at Ancestry and has supposedly won all these awards, Top 100 genealogy blogs, Kreative Blogger award etc., and its okay for her to post this "share the membership crap" on her blog?

Don't you think that as a blogger she has a responsiblity to at least attempt to have some ethics?  I found it interesting when I posted the question on Facebook, "Is it okay to share a membership at the online paid sites"?  I was suprised at how many people said it was okay.  Most basing their comments on the fact that they couldn't afford it, so that made it okay.  Some said Ancestry makes too much money.  That has no bearing on it,  they pay the salaries of the people who run the scanners, answers the phone, and do the indexing (even the bad ones!).  They pay taxes just like every other company.  Quit justifying your stealing with bad excuses, you don't steal from the electric company or drive away from the pump when you get gas. 

Sorry guys, even those of you who are my friends.  I don't agree with you.  Life is about choices, and we all have to make them.  Stealing is WRONG.  There is NO justification for stealing.  NONE.  And advocating it while wearing the logo of the geneabloggers is just plain out of line. 

My mom always said it doesn't matter if its a penny or a thousand dollars, there is no difference.  Stealing is stealing. 

What do YOU Think?


Dev said...

I completely agree! It's blatant in your face stealing and shouldn't be tolerated. It's no different than sneaking someone into a movie after you've paid, is it?

John said...

I do see a difference.

Would you question two people who lived in the same household sharing the same account (husband/wife or parent/child)-- or would you insist that ethically two accounts would need to be purchased?

What about a parent/child who lived in separate houses? Would it make a difference?

And if it's OK for family to share, why isn't it OK for friends to share?

If you would insist that a husband and wife purchase two accounts, then the other questions don't follow. But if it's OK for them to share, then a line must be drawn elsewhere.

And if people draw it differently, it doesn't mean one is more ethical than the other.

John said...

I don't believe that Ancestry's Terms and Conditions specify that a membership isn't transferable. Nor do I see other language suggesting that an account is only licensed for one person.

If they don't specifically prohibit it, it's not prohibited. And if you're not violating the terms and conditions, you're not stealing.


Randy Seaver said...

I agree, Karen. But I can't recall who did it! I must have passed over it in my readings.

However, I don't consider asking someone to do a one-time lookup in a database to be unethical. Do you?

Becky Higgins said...

It's really no different than pirating software which, BTW, is also completely wrong. I've had numerous otherwise honest people give me "deer in the headlights" looks when I've refused steal software.

You're right Karen. Stealing is stealing and wrong is wrong.

Karen said...

Thanks for all the responses. It's always interesting to see the different thought processes involved in issues like this.

While I don't agree with all the responses, as my husband says, I'll fight to defend your right to have those opinions.

One quick comment - If the thought process says, "Ancestry doesn't care, so it's okay".... Please call 1-800-ANCESTRY, Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and get their take on it.

Be sure to mention this is a "group sharing" membership. If they say fine, go ahead let me know. I'd love to hear about it.

John said...

A second read over of the ToS and they do include a passage (section 1.4) indicating that sharing the password is a breach of the agreement. I was somewhat surprised not to find it earlier.

In their FAQ they make reference to "individual or household memberships" which directly suggests they are fine with members of the same household sharing an account.

Whether or not this applies to college dormitories or other group-homes -- opinions may vary.

Ancestry isn't specific, and the burden is on the company to be specific since some companies are less restrictive than others.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

It seems to me that as I am the one billed for and paying for the account, it is intended for my use and not everyone else's. So I do not allow others to use my account, I don't share my password with anyone.

That said, I do do lookups for others. I did some pro bono work for the National Park Service in which I used my Ancestry account to access information about the family the NPS was interested in (a family whose ancestral cabin is on NPS property and used by the NPS for historical and interpretive purposes). I don't see anything wrong with my using my own Ancestry account to serve others, as long as it is me doing the work and using the account, not someone else.

GrannyPam said...

I absolutely agree, stealing is stealing.

Ancestry can certainly see what IP you connect from, and the user name for each IP. At one time, I did find I needed to sign off on my "desk" computer before I could access my account with my laptop. That means one connection per user name, which is a perfectly reasonable limitation.

Many people still forget that the cost of digitizing the records, maintaining servers and space, servicing the accounts and providing support is no small potatoes.

Whether or not we agree with the for-profit model that Ancestry follows, The company does provide resources that bring records right to our homes. I think it is reasonable to pay for access if one uses it.

Tracy said...

While I have also done a one-time lookup for someone, I did the work myself. It sounds as if what you are describing is a blatant attempt to circumvent the TOS with Ancestry. I think that's wrong and unfair to those of us that pay a full subscription price.

And for those that complain the subscription fee is too high for their budget, go use the website at the public library. They can take all the support they can get these days.

Apple said...

I have a friend that would love for me to give them my password so they could work off of my account. I'm happy to log on and help them when I visit, but I will not simply give them unrestricted access to my subscription (when I have one.) I am currently without a subscription to Ancestry but I would never ask someone else to allow me to use theirs. I have benefited from the occasional look up by others. I give access to my trees to cousins that have never had a paid account and they can see what I've found. That seems to be within Ancestry's rules so it works for both of us.