I started penncanmall.com in 2005, and syracusenostalgia.com in 2007. This was before Facebook and Twitter. I believe MySpace was still in its infancy. At the time, there was pretty much no other place online to view old photos and videos from the area. Actually, that was one of the reasons I started the sites in the first place. I couldn’t find anything posted online from the Syracuse area from the past 40 years or so.
When Facebook started to get more popular, I started to notice several pages popping up that were using my photos. This was kind of annoying, but also understandable. People were enjoying the photos and wanted to share them with their friends. I didn’t mind that, but just wanted some credit. After all, it did take a lot of work to find and gather all of these pictures (and videos), scan them and then post them online – not to mention the cost of running a site containing hundreds of pictures. By the way, I do all of this for free. I have ads on my page and sell merchandise to help balance the web hosting costs. These things don’t bring in a lot of money, I usually end up losing money at the end of the year. Anyway, I quickly edited all of my photos and put the “Syracuse Nostalgia” logo on them. I originally didn’t do this because I figured it would be cool to see the original, unmodified photo. I also edited all of my videos to include “Syracuse Nostalgia presents” before each clip. I then created a Syracuse Nostalgia Facebook (and later Twitter) page so I could post content myself, instead of having other pages post my pictures and videos.
It’s been a lot of fun hosting the Facebook and Twitter pages. I try to post something timely every day – whether it be an anniversary of a news item, or a video from that day 20 or 30 years ago. The pages have become quite popular. It’s great to see people’s reactions and have them share the posts and sometimes post things themselves.
However, I have recently noticed something disturbing related to my Facebook and Twitter pages. In the past year or so, a section of syracuse.com was created that was called “CNY Nostalgia”. I thought the name seemed a bit familiar, but also thought it would be cool to see what they were going to post. Well, I soon found out that they would often just copy what I had posted. Oh, it would not be word for word or anything but what was happening was very obvious to me. I’ll give a few examples.
- On March 25 I made a post about the 40th anniversary of Penn Can Mall. On April 1st Johnathon Croyle posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the 40th anniversary of Penn Can Mall. In the article, he clearly copied a lot of the information that was included in an old newspaper article about the opening of the mall. He even switched tenses in the middle of the article, first talking about opening day events in the past tense then talking about them in the present tense. This makes me believe that he just copied this old article word for word. This old article has also been posted on my site for several years. Now, I know he could have gone back into the Post Standard archives and found the article but I have a feeling he just used what he found on my site. Oh, and seemingly just to annoy me, he called my favorite mall “Penn Call Mall” in the article. I guess an editor was not available that day.
- On February 12, Jacob Pucci posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the history of Sweetheart Market. This article greatly resembled an article I wrote about the same topic years ago on my site. A lot of the information in this article was directly quoted from a video interview I did with Sweetheart Market owner George Gelsomin that has been on my YouTube page for several years. The CNY Nostalgia article also features a Sweetheart Market commercial that, you guessed it, came from my site.
- On April 9 I made a post about the 38th anniversary of a University Ave fire that took the lives of four fire fighters. On April 11 Johnathon Croyle posted an article in CNY Nostalgia about the same fire. Now, this post was more personal to me because my uncle, Robert Schuler, was one of the fire fighters that passed away that day. If CNY Nostalgia had posted this article on the actual anniversary of the fire, or if they hadn’t done this sort of thing several times in the past then it would not have been so annoying to me.
Now, I obviously don’t mind if people share my photos, videos or articles. I encourage it and think it’s great. But, what syracuse.com has done with CNY Nostalgia several times is very inconsiderate. Like I mentioned, I don’t get paid at all for what I do with the site. But, the writers at syracuse.com certainly get paid for their work. For them to so blatantly copy my work is frustrating to say the least. If syracuse.com wanted their own version of Syracuse Nostalgia they should have contacted me. I would have gladly taken the position.