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Content reuse, a nice deja vu

Patience of the Grates
© CC-BY-SA Flickr’s pinkbelt

I just got into last.fm, a web.20ish site about music, and so have been trying to figure out how to train it up to know what I like. The only way I have figured out is by downloading a program that pays attention to what music I play on my computer. A window pops up with some pictures, tags and an intro bio to each musician as you play. When I played the Grates’ 19-20-20, I couldn’t help thinking the text seemed oddly familiar:

The Grates are a three-piece band from Brisbane, Australia, comprising Patience Hodgson (vocals), John Patterson (guitar) and Alana Skyring (drums). They have been lauded for their catchy songs and enthusiastic and energetic live show (Patience spends much of the show bouncing around, even while singing). They are frequently described as fun: “We just wanna have fun and hope other people do too.” (Patience ). Their sound has been compared to the Ramones, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and be your own PET. In March 2006 they played at the South by Southwest trade music fair in Texas.

Hmm… I went looking into the Grates’ Wikipedia article history and found my first edit to it. Since then I have only made three other edits to it, one to insert a chart position, one to revert vandalism, and one just today to replace the photo (with the one linked above). The article has had a hundred or so edits by other people in the year and a half since then, but the lead has hardly changed. The first moral of the story is: take the time to write a decent lead, and it can really stick around.

Back to last.fm. The blurb on this window linked to last.fm’s wiki. At the bottom of the article there is a note indeed crediting the text as GFDL and a link to the history. The original was definitely “forked” from Wikipedia, but the attribution is sadly lacking. It’s not too surprising that last.fm users aren’t as anal as Wikipedians about attribution.

I am not too sure if the moral here is that Wikipedians should take a leaf out of the last.fm users’ book (in the spirit of sharing ‘n all that) or vice versa. Unfortunately I think the Wikipedians are fighting a losing battle.

The Grates19-20-20

08 September, 2007 • , , ,

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