Should bloggers start a union?

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Countless professions have a union, but bloggers are one of the ones that don’t. Daniel Scocco over at Daily Blog Tips wants to change that, and he has suggested that a “Bloggers Union” be set up. Good idea or not? Well, I think it’s a good idea, in principle anyway.

Bloggers, like any other worker, can always use some protection. Use my situation as an example: I spent most of today dealing with two plagiarists who stole content from a Web site where I am the manager and publishing editor. One of them eventually took down the page after much cursing and shouting, but the other is going through bureaucratic channels at WordPress, where we had a surreal conversation about the precise meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now if there was a union, with members who were lawyers, they could advise other members who were victims of plagiarists about the best way to deal with the situation. The lawyers could supply the correctly worded letters, legal advice and even offer to represent fellow union members in court.

Scocco also suggests that a union could gang up on people who are scamming another union member by blogging about the offender, and hurting their reputation in the process. I am strongly against that one. For a start, there are the legal implications (libel), and secondly, you don’t risk damaging someone’s reputation without knowing all of the facts first and without getting both sides of the story. What Daniel is suggesting is NOT responsible journalism!

The only negative I can see with a bloggers’ union is: who runs it? Who maintains independent oversight of any finances? If they are collecting dues from members, what’s to stop any stealing of the money? If they end up having members from all over the world, who watches the watchers?

It would be very easy for elite groups to spring up and for pompous, self-important individuals to get too full of themselves. So as long as any union officials were subject to re-election say every 12 months, would that address my concern? It would make it nice and neat, and would stop people in positions of importance from getting too comfortable and from lining their pockets with members’ money.

What do you think? Is a bloggers’ union a start or a stupid idea? If you’re interested in the idea, just head on over to Daniel’s site and contact him. Meanwhile, I am interested in what you have to say about the whole proposition.

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7 Responses to Should bloggers start a union?

  1. There is no way that being a professional blogger has been around long enough to figure out a uniform way to regulate it. There are so many different types of bloggers covering thousands of different subjects, one uniform code for them all to follow to keep union benefits would be a nightmare.

  2. I personally can't stand unions, and I would hope that the freedom of the Web doesn't become overly regulated by communistic-type organizations trying to control and equalize every post and click.

  3. What if one chooses not to join the union? Will the union DoS the scab blogger's hosting service? Is the Internet, or at least the blogosphere, going to be a "closed shop" where if one wants to post their thoughts on a web page they have to pay union dues? What if a blogger can't make enough ad revenue to pay their union dues? What are we going to do when the bloggers' union goes on strike? Are they going to march around the front of their house aka their employer's business?

    If they wanted to create a trade organization so individuals can pool their resources to handle DRMCA issues, that's one thing. But making the Internet a "closed shop" where one has to be a member of a union to be allowed to work is a different thing.

    As for who will run it, since unions are a collectivist socialist organization, the policy leader will be a Marxist and the Mafia will handle the finances. Just like every other union.

  4. Looks like many people are misunderstanding my idea. When I used the word "union" it was not on the strict sense of term. This is has nothing to do with getting people to pay or anything like traditional unions. Perhaps it is more a kind of association.

    Then you said: "Scocco also suggests that a union could gang up on people who are scamming another union member by blogging about the offender, and hurting their reputation in the process. I am strongly against that one. For a start, there are the legal implications (libel), and secondly, you don’t risk damaging someone’s reputation without knowing all of the facts first and without getting both sides of the story. What Daniel is suggesting is NOT responsible journalism!"

    Well, for one thing, as long as the bloggers just report the facts, there is no case of libel or slander. Here is the definition:

    "In law, defamation (also called vilification, slander, and libel) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressively stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image."

    On my post I also said:

    "Obviously all matters would need to be taken seriously and not lightly. Each problem would need to be evaluated by a board before actions were to be taken."

    There would be lawyers involved to regulate. It would not be like some blogger got a bad deal from a hosting company and we would all spring to bash that company.

    All said I appreciate you mentioning the issue though, we will see how this will evolve :) .

    • Hi Daniel

      I appreciate you coming over to respond.

      When I said I was against the idea of other members blogging about a company who was giving a union member a hard time, what I meant was it was overall a risky thing to do, because you can't write about a situation in which you don't have all the facts.

      You made it sound as if everyone would be getting together and writing lots of negative press about the other side to get back at them. But would you give the other side a fair hearing and a chance to give their side of the story? Would the resulting blog post be balanced and fair?

      To quote your own blog post :

      "I would think twice before messing around with such large group of bloggers. Combined we could reach millions of people on a matter of days, and probably hurt the reputation of some small businesses for good."

      OUCH!

      I think your idea of a union is a great idea but I would lay off the idea of business bashing. If I were you, I'd stick to general support and advice for bloggers.

  5. Unions ARE and always WILL BE the bully-boys of whatever industry they get involved with. The members become the 'victims' of the jumped up twat who declares himself the leader.

    We in the UK 'almost' banished all unions to the scrap-heap in the 80's. A few remain, and are constantly causing headaches for the public AND their members.

    I'm not saying ALL unions behave this way, as many don't. But PLeeeeease let's keep the internet out of their 'grabbing' little hands.

    They are a communist ideology.

    Reason enough I think.

    Pete.

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