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.