In response to my plea to bloggers about stolen content, the comment came up that someone didn't really care if their work was stolen. I respect that perspective, but I do want to respond to this in a new post, hence today's addition. I've found out a lot of things as I've researched this topic, and I want to share what I've learned/think with everyone else
I also want to take a quick moment and point out that I am specifically talking about posting someone's entire post (or a great part of it) word for word without giving credit or getting permission from the author. Quoting a small bit of a post and then linking back to the owner is not stealing, and it doesn't apply in this situation.
So your blog content has been stolen. Does it really matter? That's a compliment right? That someone likes your work enough to steal it?
Wrong. Most of these sites (usually called "spam blogs" or "splogs" for short) are completely run by automated software. It's not a compliment to your hard work at all. Your blog just happened to be the one picked out of literally millions of other websites to be slurped from. In the event that the site isn't automated, the blog owner happened to find the right combination of keywords to get his/her blog higher in your post, and that's why you were chosen. It's not a compliment, it's just bad luck.
Why would someone be looking for certain keywords?
The name of the game is money. Many of these blogs use things like Google AdSense to make money. By using certain types of keywords, these sites can appear higher in search engine ratings (this is called search engine optimization, or SEO). Higher SEO = more traffic, and more traffic = more money.
So why should I care about that?
Well, maybe it's just me, but how do you feel about someone making money off of something you created instead of you? If that doesn't bother you, then I guess it's kind of a moot point. Personally, if someone's going to be making money off my writing, I want to be the person making that money. Also, the splog in question may be beating your blog in the search engine results, meaning you're getting cheated out of blog traffic you worked to create.
The money doesn't bother me, so it doesn't matter. After all, you take a risk when you post stuff on the Internet.
That is true, you do take a risk when you post stuff to the internet. You may think lightly about someone stealing your content, and that's fine. But that doesn't change the fact that it's just plain WRONG. Would you feel the same way if someone broke into your house and stole your computer/TV/iPod/etc.? So maybe that's comparing apples and oranges a little bit, but it's the idea behind the act that counts.
I once heard a quote (can't remember who from) that said "the only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to stand by and do nothing". It's the same way for this. If we want it to stop someday then we need to stand up for our rights. And it is a right. The content your write for your blog is automatically protected under copyright laws. You ARE the owner of that content. It's against the law to steal your content. But if we don't stand up for our rights as protected under that law, does it matter if the law was broken? And if no one stands up for a law, then is it effective? A law that no one follows isn't a law anymore.
Let's face it. Most of us would feel awful is something like this happened to our own blog. But there are (and always will be) some who it just doesn't matter to. So if after reading this you still don't care if your content is stolen, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and I respect that. But I feel that I would be standing by and doing nothing if I didn't point out the reasons why I care. I am willing to fight for my rights as a blogger, even if I am alone in thinking that way.