Monday, January 11, 2010

Stolen Content: An Urgent Plea to Bloggers

It saddens me that I have to write a post like this, but unfortunately I feel I must. Today I happened to find a blog that was stealing content from other blogs, two of which I am familiar with. I'm not going to link to the blog because they don't deserve to get a hike in their numbers, but I feel I do need to speak out.

I happened to come across this because of a Google Alert I have set up with my blog name. One of the stolen blogs had written a post mentioning my blog name and so it showed up in the same Google alert as under a different website. It was obvious as soon as clicking over that this blog DID NOT write the post in question (as well as every other post there) and did not give credit to the people who had written the content.

Please, please, please if you ever notice a blog where posts appear to be stolen, contact the owner of the original blog right away. It may turn out they were reposted with permission, but it's better to play it safe than sorry.

Stealing someone's posts is WRONG. It doesn't matter if it's on the internet, that post still belongs to the person who wrote it and is protected under copyright law. The thing that really gets me mad about this blog is one of the feeds they are stealing from has a copyright notice written into each and every post to prevent this from happening. And although they didn't remove it, they did twist it around so it meant something completely different. Quoting someone and linking back to their post is fine (and I think should be encouraged) but do so with the permission of the person who wrote it. We bloggers are a pretty friendly lot (generally speaking), and a quick email just to check will suffice.

Now, if this has happened to any of you reading this, what did you do to respond? I've been looking for things all day, but I have yet to find a good, definitive source on how to take care of this sort of thing. If anyone has any links/suggestions/etc. please leave them in the comments.

We're all in this together. Let's help support our fellow bloggers and keep our eyes open for stolen content.

Okay, plea over. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

19 comments:

Jan von Harz said...

Stopped by as part of my comment tour via Mother Reads. Great post. I get queasy picking up ideas from other bloggers for fear I am stepping over the line. When I do take something, I always mention the blog in my posts. This is the not only a courtesy, but the right thing to do. By the same token, ne bloggers (like myself) are never sure of all the protocols. Maybe that is a good post too.

Brigid said...

This has happened to me several times and it is frustrating. It's not a paragraph or two, it's entire posts, every day, obviously picked up by an automated bot, not a blogger who is reacting to my comments with opinions of their own.

If you can figure out who is the owner of the blog, the first step would be to send them a polite but firm e-mail asking them to stop. This seldom works. The second step is to file a DMCA notice with the provider. This is a formal complaint of copyright infringement; you can find the form by Googling it and fill it out yourself. It's frustrating because you have to list each post separately—you can't just say "this blog steals my content every day." The DMCA notice has to be faxed or snail-mailed; you can't send it electronically because it must be signed.

I did this with someone who was reposting my work on numerous blogs, all hosted on Blogger. There were about 400 separate posts involved, and my words were being re-posted next to other obviously stolen content, hard-core porn, and links to downloads of pirated movies and games. Although almost everything on the blog violated Blogger's terms of service, they would not take down the blog—just the posts. However, I was persistent and eventually whoever was doing this stopped stealing from my blog.

Finally, these sites are always supported by ads, so you can also contact the ad provider with your complaint. I have done this as well.

Good luck

Ladybug said...

Great post! I agree with you. It must be very frustrating to see posts that you know have been stolen and I agree that it is good to take action.

I sometimes quote other book blogger but I never copy their posts. I always make sure to state where the quote is taken from and leave a link direct to the post in question. Here's an example on how I do it, I hope no one considers it to be stealing :)

brizmus said...

HOW TERRIBLE! I can't believe that people actually do that!

Sheryl said...

HOW TERRIBLE! I can't believe that people actually do that!
I have recently been reading about this happening and I also cannot believe that people do it... particularly since I do not understand why. What does reposting another's blog content in its entirety gain the reposter?

I am sorry that it has happened to you, Brigid!

jacabur1 said...

Wonderful post, sad to say people do not seem to respect all the hard work it takes to put out a good blog and think it is okay to pirate from others. I copy and paste things but make sure that the person who originally did the post is mentioned and leave their link when using their work to enter drawings or show others how to find some of the cool Meme's and stuff.
Thanks for addressing this and just wish the world of Internet was a little more conscious of what is right and wrong it would make things more pleasant for everyone without theft of any kind...

jackie b central texas

Natasha (Wicked Lil Pixie) said...

That's horrible! I do have an idea though, maybe a post for bloggers on how to find out if your content has been stolen?

fredamans said...

I don't know how I would find out if someone stole my posts, and frankly do I care??
I can't say for sure that I do.
You take a chance on the net, putting anything out there.

Thanks for the heads up though.

Alyssa said...

Natasha,

That is a great idea. I'm hoping to put together a series of posts on this, so thank you for the suggestion.

misskallie2000 said...

I really don't have an active blog but I think to steal from another blog to push your own blog is dispictable (can't find in dic). I read some of the other responses and they have some good answers for you and maybe the solution. Good Luck and I do enjoy your blog.

Amanda said...

That's just horrible. As far as I know none of my content has been stolen. If it was I don't know what I would do.

Mandy said...

It really is disappointing to see someone acting in such a way. Stealing blog posts? What do you gain from that?

a. fortis said...

I'm sorry that happened to you, Alyssa. That happened to us once before that I can remember. Because it was a Blogger-hosted blog, I was able to report it to Blogger via a feedback form - it was obviously an automated spam blog. If that's the problem, here's the page with the info: http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/request.py?hl=en&contact_type=spam

I'd recommend reporting it to whichever service is hosting the blog, because it is probably a violation of their terms of service. The blog hosting company sure wouldn't want to responsible for a copyright violation!

Good luck.

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

Part of what makes the web so fun is all the many threads we get to follow. But it's no fun when we can't follow the gossamer line to the original poster to start or follow a conversation of interest. great post and something for us all to be mindful of.

Haleyknitz said...

that's awful. it's like plagiarism. people copy and paste wiki and turn it in as an essay, and people steal posts and claim them as their own. sin is an ugly thing...

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

Awesome post!

Wow.

I can't believe the nerve of some people. Wow. I really don't understand how people think they can get away with mooching off of other blogs. I've seen some New Release lists and things like that taken off of blogs without permission but not whole posts.

Thanks for writing this post, I'm going to be paying more careful attention to these sorts of things from now on :)

April said...

Yeah, that's f-ed up.

I know I work so hard on my posts and generating content, being a blogger is such hard work and I don't think people realize that, or when they finally do, they resort to stealing the posts of others!

This really does irk me, and I bet for you to see all of your hard work end up on someone else's page with just a copy-paste must really piss you off, and ya know, I don't blame you.

I hope whoever is stealing your words rots in hell. I know that's harsh, but hey so much of who we are goes into our blog-posts, it's just WRONG.

Natasha (Wicked Lil Pixie) said...

Thanks Alyssa, I haven't the slightest how to find out if my contents been stolen so I'd love to read how to!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you! I haven't found any complete postings, I have found links to my posts on sites I didn't expect though-nothing terrible just different. (I reviewed some Judy Blume books and they were linked on a site that recognizes anything with the word Blume, which was odd.)

I did find a blogger who wasn't stealing exact reviews, but the exact formt of another blogger I like-the style, information included and ratings were the exact same.

But I would like to see more discussion on this and how to catch it and what to do.