Attribution & Originality
Common questions that often arise relate to the originality of content, whether you can teach a technique that you've learned somewhere else, and how we cover topics that have already been taught in many other places.
The baseline, obviously, is that we don't infringe copyright by copying content. This is a legal obligation.
Copyright covers only specific expressions of an idea (text, images, etc.), not the idea itself. However, as in academia and in journalism, we have an ethical obligation to not present the ideas of others as our own.
At the same time, we're participating in the free exchange of ideas. Every idea comes from somewhere else! There's no need to worry that somehow your content could be contaminated by your being exposed to others' ideas. In fact, your ideas can only be made stronger by drawing on and connecting to others.
Here are a few simple guideines to follow:
- Don't be afraid to learn from educators on other sites or mediums.
- If an idea or technique is widely known in the community - part of the discussion, as it were - it doesn't need attribution, regardless of where you first saw it.
- If an idea or technique can be uniquely identified with a particular person, it should be attributed to that person.
- If you could only have learned an idea or technique from a particular other person, it should be attributed to that person.