Free Enterprise?

You know, I don’t have a problem with entrepreneurship–as a matter of fact, I love it. Nothing makes me feel better than dealing with someone who is working for themselves, building a small business.

However, when you decide to build it by, in effect, stealing the words of others, I think you’re a scumbag. Perhaps I’m a bit biased since I write a lot, but I know how much time and effort go into writing.( I do it for you folks for free, but hey–you’re serving as a combination of free therapy and guinea pigs for my work. Love ya!) is reporting that a company named Brandimensions is using technology to scour the Internet, gathering “word of mouth” type information on various TV shows, then aggregating and selling it in the same way various pollsters take polls and sell the results. According to, Brandimensions

…used its proprietary technology to gather written comments from Internet chat rooms, message boards, blogs and the like in order to determine which new shows boast the best–and worst–buzz.

You know, this is just flat wrong. Of course, I’m sure Brandimensions would disagree, citing a “fair use” exception, or claiming that they’re not reselling our actual words. Given our legal system (hey, it’s the best money can buy), they may be legally correct.

However, when someone like Nielson asks me if I want to participate in a poll, I have a choice. I can say yes or no as the spirit moves me. In this case, my opinions may be taken without my permission and used to make them money.

Just because technology and the law allow something doesn’t make it right, and Brandimensions is wrong.

But I doubt they care about that particular opinion.

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