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Do We Need a Copyright Symbol for Sharing?

Found a funny cat photo online? You can post it on Pinterest, tweet it, Tumblr it, or Facebook it—but Maria Popova, the blogger behind the popular Brainpickings website, says you’d better be sure to cite where you found it. Popova spends hours each day finding links to share with her audience, and argues that curating others’ work makes her just as much a creator as the people she blogs about. And just as deserving of credit. “Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor,” she said to the New York Times. “When we don’t honor discovery, we are robbing somebody’s time and labor.” She’s proposed the “Curator’s Code” to standardize attribution on the Web, with two new characters that would work much like the © symbol used to indicate copyright:


Stands for “via”; use it to credit the source when retweeting or reposting something without altering it

Stands for a “hat tip”; place it alongside content taken from elsewhere and then altered significantly (such as adding analysis to someone else’s chart)

But surely there are more than just two ways to discover content! Consult this handy guide next time you share anything online. (And don’t forget to credit the author of this article with a ↬, thank you very much.)

The Expanded Curator’s Code


I found this in a New York Times article



Saw it in a Pitchfork album review


Chain e-mail forwarded from Uncle Seymour


Overheard in Starbucks


Saw it out my window



Ancient proverb


Today’s horoscope for Capricorns


Quote from a Tim Burton Movie


Scrawled on a bathroom stall


Hippie Dad quote


Tip left by a Foursquare Mayor


God told me


WebMD diagnosis


Lyric from Dashboard Confessional


Quote from last night’s Bachelorette



I can’t remember—and may have

totally just made this up


Daniel is graphics director for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferdaniel.

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