Wednesday 3 December 2008

Copyright Infringement

I’ve spent part of today scrolling through 70 odd pages of a Wordpress blog looking for stolen articles of mine. Early this afternoon I checked the Constant Content forum and found a furore. Someone had discovered this blog which had posted hundreds of the showcased bits of articles from the site without buying them. We were all asked to search for our own articles and email their titles to CC support so that they could deal with the infringement of our copyright.

The site had 649 pages so it was a daunting task. But after 70 plus pages the material on it changed – it wasn’t from CC. I checked a few random pages and they all looked as though stuff had been hiked from sites like myLot and similar forums.

Some CC authors had up to 50 articles ripped off. I was one of the lucky ones. I only found three of mine on there.

Now it gets stranger. In the CC forum thread about this, someone published an apology for violating our rights and said it was the fault of a robot. Now I’ve heard of robots on the web but I don’t understand what they do.

CC are now reviewing their security measures, and I don’t know if this will affect my subtle efforts to market my work. There’s a link to it in my sidebar and in my email signature, but that’s not going to be much good if they limit access to the general public.

Anyway, all the offending articles have now been removed. I’m not going to give a link to the site because I don’t think it deserves any clicks. But if anyone is worried about it and needs to take a look, get in touch and I’ll let you have it privately.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried using Copyscape? If you put the offending blog's address into Copyscape, it should tell you where it has been copying from. Or you can put in your own address and see if anyone has copied it.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can figure out, bots are an automated way of searching sites for content.

I've had sites link to me taking excerpts of my post, but they usually have a link for their readers to come to my site to read the entire post.

The one's I'm the most watchful of are the one's listed as "curl" in my server stats, which will grab the entire post. As far as I know, the only way to stop them is to ban their IP address.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling. I had a poem of my stolen and entered into a contest on It's terrible but these things happen very often. You could also try the website copyscape which will check out your blog and website pages and let you know if they've been published anywhere else.

Unknown said...

Thanks for comments, folks.

Sheila - I do sometimes use copyscape, usually to see if I can find work that has been sold and to make sure the buyer has complied with the type of rights bought.

I know some authors at CC pay for Copyscape to protect their work continuously.

I once had an article stolen and put up on Associate Content, but that was soon dealt with.

It was the scale of this theft that was so unusual. The robot thing was obviously the only way it could have been done - all on the same day - November 18th.

Lea - I will be investigating robots now. I like the idea of sites taking excerpts and linking back. That's a compliment really. I also need to find out how to get stats on my blog.

jodapoet - that's horrible about your poem. Even worse than articles somehow. Poems are so much more personal.

Jena Isle said...

That's terrible Jean. How could someone claim something she hasn't written. Are there any legal laws against these persons? It should be considered a crime.

May I know in private? Thanks.

Lidian said...

That is terrible - I had no idea that this sort of theft went on on such a scale.

Unknown said...

Lidian -I do think this was an unusual case because of the volume. But it shows what can be done with these robots, and perhaps doesn't bode well for the future. The person at fault said he was testing the robot. I understand all the CC pieces have now been removed from the site and we have an apology.

Jena - there certainly are copyright laws. But I'm not sure how you deal with them on an international scale. The perpetrator was in China, the site is based in the US, I am in the UK and other authors come from all different countries. It would probably take an expensive legal expert to sort it out. We were lucky we could leave it to Constant Content.

I will send you a private message via EC.

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