Boy, is this ever becoming a problem!
I don’t claim to be among the best writers on the internet, but when I write something and publish it on my blog, it belongs to me! It is immediately protected by copyright, and no-one has permission to copy and use it for any purpose not protected by Fair Use.
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
Sploggers are almost certainly the most prolific plagiarists on the Web. A handful of determined and capable sploggers can swipe content from literally thousands of different sites, scraping their RSS feeds and taking their content as their own.
It’s plagiarism, pure and simple. But what can we do about it? I wrote to one person requesting that he remove my work from his blog. He wrote back and said, ” […] sue me or shut up.”
I told him that I was going to write about him, and expose him as the “serial plagiarist” he is. His reply? “Think what you may, but watch what you say.”
He also threatened me with a lawsuit! Can you believe the audacity?
Quite frankly, I am sick of these thieves stealing my work and using it, whatever their reasons. But what do most of us do when we get pingbacks from these parasites? Delete them and move on. That is, if Akismet doesn’t delete them for you automatically, in which case you may never even know (I check mine just to make sure no legitimate comments get filtered by mistake).
Well, starting right now, I will no longer look the other way while cheats and thieves rip me off. They thrive on the fact that bloggers like you and me generally do not respond to the violations they commit against us by stealing our work. While the pingbacks generally get caught in our spam filters, this is not spam in the traditional sense. It is a notice to you that your work has just been stolen! Don’t ignore it!
Lorelle VanFossen has written an excellent article entitled What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. Notice she did not say “if”, but “when”.
As the number of websites and blogs grow, especially splogs, the demand for content puts more pressure on website administrators, who may resort to stealing content in order to fill space on their sites and attract traffic. Website hijacking, as such an example, is on the rise. This is the blatant use of part or all of your site’s content on another site without permission. This is also a copyright violation and needs to be dealt with accordingly.
I highly recommend reading the entire article. There are steps we can take to deal with this increasingly problematic issue. Lorelle has done a beautiful job of comprehensively outlining those steps. Taking action is really not as difficult or complicated as you may have previously thought.
One thing that Lorelle seems unable to stress strongly enough, however, is that revenge tactics are not the way to go! They are very likely to backfire on you:
DO NOT SEEK REVENGE: Spamming, publicizing, or abusing the content thief will only bring suffering back to you. Stay professional. Defacing someone’s website, targeted spamming, and even publicizing the copyright violation can lead to criminal and legal action being taken against you. Even if legal action is not brought against you, your reputation may be ruined by such attacks. Be professional. There is a time and place for public outcries. The beginning of the process is not the time to go public.
I’m so glad I found this article when I did! Right or wrong, I could have ended up on the wrong side of a court room!
Please see my new page, Copyright Notice. Make one of your own as well. But don’t stop there — read Lorelle VanFossen’s article and follow the steps toward stopping these content thieves. Remember, they thrive on the fact that far too many of us look the other way.
Also, the copyright stamp at the bottom of this post links to my new Copyright Notice. I will be adding it to all of my posts from now on. When my posts are scraped, the link will be scraped along with them. It won’t stop the scrapers, but it does give me at least some immediate control over the content that is stolen from my blog. From there, I can begin the process of dealing with it.
Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On