Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Ripping off my content

Well, you might have heard by now that there was a web site out there (quiltpatternspro.com) that copied content and images from a large number of quilting blogs. The web site in question has since gone down...hopefully never to raise its ugly head again (but I doubt it, probably will change its name and picture and pop up again in a few months).

I had planned to do some quilting yesterday but instead was exploring this in some detail. Earlier in the day yesterday I did get an email from a very kind reader (thank you again, Nicole!) informing me that my content was on that web site. When I had a look I was absolutely stunned...not only was my current post on there, but at least 7 - 10 other posts from the last few months. I felt really defeated, I must say. While I was aware of these programs, I obviously did not realise the extent of he issue.

My blog is a fairly modest affair...I blog for fun in my spare time and enjoy interacting with other quilting bloggers out there. I have a small following which I value greatly...when a new follower comes in, I usually go and check it out and more often than not discover great new blogs and new inspiration and along the way "meet" some nice people. I have set up my blog in a way that is hopefully interesting to people and when they come in I hope that people will have a bit of a look around and find some stuff that is of interest to them and return on a regular basis.To look at my carefully constructed posts on this other web site with no link back to my original post amongst a multitude of ads was quite disappointing, to say the least and plain offensive.

So, I went to work on trying to figure out what to do about this...from what I knew by then, the choices were fairly limited. I had read previously that if you incorporate several links within the text of your blog post that this would act as a deterrent in terms of copying from your blog...well, obviously not...this website copied the whole posts with all the links in it...

I used Who is Hosting This? to get to the host of this web site and then did some further searches in the evening (with the help of my husband) to drill down to several email addresses, including the offending web site. I did not bother with them but went for the host instead. I wrote a very formal letter of my objection of having my content and images copied. I particularly liked this part of the letter:


I am the sole owner of copyright in http://thequiltyarn.blogspot.com.au.  As the sole owner of copyright, I hold the exclusive right to reproduce, modify, post, and distribute those materials and to grant others permission to exercise one or more of those rights.  I have not authorized quiltpattenspro.com to reproduce, modify or distribute any of my materials in whole or in part. 


Anyway, send that of and then also contacted Google and filled out a form about having my content scraped. Will this protect me...no not really, but it certainly felt good to respond to this. On my exploration I noticed that other bloggers had become aware of the problem. Read the approach that The Bitchy Stitcher took or head over to another blog, Molly Sparkles , who really let loose...really enjoyed reading this.

So, what can be done to prevent this from happening again:

1. When you search on the internet around having content stolen from your blog, you will find several tips and suggestions...it really depends how far you want to take this. At the most modest level you can put up a copyright notice. In reality that really does not do anything much other than state that you hold the copyright (which incidentally you hold whether it is written on there or not). Going a bit further you can implement the idea promoted at the Bitchy Stitcher, i.e.she talks about including a graphic at the end of each post that links back to your blog. I have seen a similar thing on the Blogologist ...he is using the RSS Feed Footer in Blogger. Basically every post that you write will have a link back to your home page. While this will not prevent copying, it is likely that the offending web site will not be sitting there editing the links out of your blog post, as I believe this is an automated thing, so readers still can link back to your original site.

2. You can go further and investigate whether to disable the option of copying either the images or the text or both on your blog. I only went over this briefly and cannot give advice on this as yet, as I myself will need to read a bit more about this...however, this involves inserting additional code into the HTML code of your blog, so that people actually cannot copy anything. Now I cannot comment as yet on whether this works or not or how hard this is...sounded very technical to me, however it seems an option.

3. Be vigilant around your own blog and the blogs of other quilters...this example yesterday was a great show of strength from the online quilting community in terms of rallying around their intellectual property. If you see a blog post that might be copied, let the owner of the blog know and spread the word! As we have seen yesterday, it works.

Karin

1 comment:

  1. I found my posts on that site as well. I have no idea how they got away with it. I find anything to do computer related with my blog as user unfriendly. Nothing is easy! I'm going to have to look into the preventions you wrote about. I hope we can do something to protect our blogs.

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