Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Post Lifting - This is Not On!

Artistsgarden (thanks Karen) has just let me know that a rather rude website has lifted my Arte y Pico award posting from 12th July, including all the links to the blogs I mentioned. I do hope this doesn't cause any problems for those of you I linked to, but you may find a nasty surprise in your web statistics :(

I do not condone this kind of thing at all - particularly this kind of website. I'm rather upset about it actually.

I have to go out now, but rest assured I will be doing everything I can on my return to do something much more positive about this. Any advice you can give me will be gratefully received.

Update - 5.30 pm 5th August and 3pm, 6th

Hi everyone - thanks to those of you who've stopped by with supportive comments today or emailed me directly. It's been much appreciated and needed. I'm also glad that I'm VP here rather than using my real name as this kind of thing makes me very nervous about identity theft. This is what I've found out/done so far:
  • I've alerted everyone I'd linked to in the scraped post, just in case they get any unwelcome messages or links to their blogs. Hopefully one of them will also be able to trace the website's ISP as I haven't had anything come through on my webstats
  • I can't trace the site from my own webstats because it's either one of the 'Unknowns' that crops up in there from time to time OR the content's been taken from one of the websites I feed into. Looking at their site I think it's the latter
  • There's no link in my site's Technorati stats, so either the site hasn't taken the content directly from Veg Plotting, or it's not registered with Technorati
  • I've checked out the site (yuk!) and it looks like it's in breach of Blogger's terms and conditions for adult content (there's no warning message re offensive content before entering the site, nor is there an offensive content flag on the site itself), so I've sent a formal complaint to Blogger (you can get to the relevant info via Blogger's Help). Yes, it's a blogspot site. Intriguingly one of the people I linked to has checked out the site (that's just the blogspot address only, not the direct link to my lifted post) and they've not got adult content, but loads of adverts for site optimisation instead
  • I'm also going to complain to Blogger re breach of copyright (again you can get to the relevant info via Blogger Help), but there's quite a complicated process to go through (or at least it seems that way at the moment), before I can post my complaint off to California
  • I've read up loads on copyright this afternoon and it seems rather a minefield. If they've scraped from a website that I happily feed into where do I stand re copyright? They've also linked back to me in acknowledgement of my authorship - is this enough to keep them immune from copyright breach complaints? I don't have a copyright notice on my blog, does that affect my complaint? Would it make any difference to any future content theft if I do put a copyright notice on here?
  • Copyscape is pretty useless (or at least the freebie side of it is) since the advent of blogs taking feed content into their blogrolls. Your last 10 copies are bound to show just these. However, they do seem to have quite a lot of useful guidance for when this kind of thing happens, so I'll be using this site again as I plough on with trying to get something done about this situation. NB Try the URL of the actual post lifted as this may fall within the 10 returns - my offending post just returned 6, all of whom were bona fide feeds
  • The Whois domain locator website (mentioned in the Copyscape blurb) isn't helpful in this instance, because the search looks for Blogger (the blogspot.com portion of the website address) rather than the actual website domain
  • I need to investigate wholinkstome a bit more to see if this will help
  • One of the recommendations for preventing content scraping says using lots of links in posts should help prevent it from happening. It may have helped lessen these events in the case of my blog, but as you can see it hasn't made me totally immune
  • A lot of the advice re copyright breach says you should try to contact the offending party first to try and resolve the matter. In this instance I can't do that as there's no means of doing so from the offending website. I also don't think it's a good idea if I did so this time as I'm sure they'd then start contacting me directly with all sorts of 'offers'!
  • I've also contacted some of you guys that I seem to recall have had this kind of problem in the past, to see if you have any advice for me. If I've left you out, it wasn't intentional and any help will be gratefully received!

21 comments:

  1. Hi VP
    Just to let you know that I found out as this "rude" website showed up as an "incoming link" In my Wordpress blog stats, and I have also had to delete one extremely explicit comment. With lots of links - so obviously computer generated. Fortunately Wordpress seems to have an effective spam filter and it did not get onto the blog.
    Worpress blog stats are very basic compared to those of you that use other stat packages - so I have no idea of the effect it may or may not have had on that front.
    Regards
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really feel for you, it is horrible when something like this happens. I do hope it doesn't put you off blogging as I do enjoy your posts.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi VP - sorry to hear about this I suppose it is only a matter of time before we all get hit by this sort of thing the internet being what it is. I cant understand how they can lift a post though!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So sorry to hear this, its really irritating.

    I know Niels and I have both had our posts lifted too, and placed on other websites, albiet not rude so much, but to lift their hit rates as they generate income from advertising.

    Unfortunately I doubt much can be done about it, although I notice that quite a few people use a tool called Copyscape, which I understand helps prevent and locate such copywrite breach.

    Sadly there are unscrupulous people on the internet who have no qualms about making money on the back of others efforts.

    Big hugs

    Zoë

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a shame VP and a shock too I imagine. I know how angry I am when I recieve spam email with a crude content. Sadly there are some people/ organisations with few morals but do try not to let this incident get you down. Sorry that I am unable to offer any practical advice. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi everyone - thanks for the kind thoughts thus far. You're right, it's the first direct bad experience I've had from blogging, so it does make you question what you're doing it for - so to have such supportive comments from you guys is a great help. Now I'm getting over at being upset and am very angry, so I'll do everything I can to make sure these scumbags don't get away with it.

    I'm sorry if you've been affected too from the results of them nicking my post. I'll be writing personally to those people I linked to, just to give you a personal warning about this sad state of affairs. Helen, I'm afraid that includes you.

    Karen's also sent me a couple of useful links, which I'll also pass on, just in case - that includes the copyscape site you mentioned Zoe.

    I also remember a couple of the sites I read regularly have had something about this in the past, so I need to go back to them and check to see if they have any more useful sites/advice etc.

    I'll keep you updated on what happens next.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just to add - I seem to remember reading somewhere that posts using lots of links are relatively immune from this kind of theft. It's obviously not the case in this instance...

    ReplyDelete
  8. A list of every single posting for ESTHER IN THE GARDEN was put on a strange website, a couple of months ago.

    All the links provided clicked through properly to the proper ESTHER IN THE GARDEN postings - but there were also adverts for meeting women. (I didn't try clicking them - I now realise that was very unscientific of me because it means I can't tell you where they led!)

    I've come across another trick too . . . I googled a blog by its title and clicked onto what purported to be, not the blog itself, but a review of it. It wasn't.

    Instead, I got a strange little paragraph in French that didn't make sense but alluded to things I wasn't interested in. (!) I ex-ed it!

    But, after that, I began to get spam (lots of it) that had never arrived before - and only to the email address which was open when I did that click.

    (And the spam that comes to that address . . . sometimes I laugh . . . sometimes I feel sick and distressed by it . . . it's so repetitive.)

    Lucy
    PICTURES JUST PICTURES

    ReplyDelete
  9. I wish I could give you some advice, VP, but I'm still struggling with trying to figure out spacing on blogger, let alone something of this magnitude.

    It's unfortunate that some people are so unscrupulous to do this sort of thing. I've always been hesitant to post personal pictures or give too much personal information because of my wariness about internet "stalkers."

    I've never had anything like this happen to me, but I'm not too surprised. People who do this sort of thing are nothing more than thieves!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's a good idea to distinguish between people nicking stuff off your blog and people nicking identities. People nicking identities are doing it carefully and advisedly, and need lots of information and addresses, dates of birth, etc, to do it.

    The nicking of content, on the other hand, to other websites is mostly done by robots, not by people, as Artistsgarden points out - automated computer programmes which comb the internet for things which seem to be attracting a lot of attention. VP, I think the best possible approach on your part is to feel flattered, as it means that automated spybots must think you are popular enough to draw attention to their page!

    And everybody should remember never, never, NEVER open spam emails. Don't even be tempted! The minute you open one, you signal to the person on the other end that you are a "real" email address, and you will multiply the number of emails you get by huge amounts. You can almost always tell what is spam from the title, but I know there is a key stroke combination for computers using Microsoft code which allows you to see inside the email without opening it, just in case. Using this one technique, I have never ever had more than two spam emails a week. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm sorry you have to deal with this stuff. I'm not a copyright attorney, but here's my best understanding of copyright law. Anything you write on your blog is protected by copyright laws, even if you don't explicitly say so. Even copyrighted material is subject to fair use exceptions (a parody is a classic example), & proper attribution will usually prevent a copyright violation. I strongly recommend against following Lucy's lead in googling the name & clicking one you don't recognize. Such websites often are viruses & can screw up your computer. I know because my husband clicked on one with a lot of gibberish when he was looking for sheet music & now his side of the computer won't display his wallpaper. It could have been much worse.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes. I strongly recommend you against following my lead too!

    The trouble is, you don't realise at the time . . . you just think 'that looks interesting' . . . . and . . . oops!

    But I also like (consciously) to keep track of how my material (and my name) wanders round the internet and I continue (cautiously) to check - and Google is useful when doing that.

    Lucy

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow vp, that stinks. So sorry you have to deal with this. As a garden blogger, I feel almost immune to internet ugliness. We all need to be careful.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't know the precise nature of your particular problem but whatever it seems while you should be a little concerned, if you practise safe surfing you won't be *too* badly affected.

    You ask "where do I stand re copyright? They've also linked back to me in acknowledgement of my authorship - is this enough to keep them immune from copyright breach complaints? I don't have a copyright notice on my blog, does that affect my complaint? Would it make any difference to any future content theft if I do put a copyright notice on here?"

    If they have actually acknowledged you as author then they haven't actually abused your copyright as such. Putting a copyright notice on your blog makes no difference. You own the copyright irrespective, a notice merely reminds people. The USA situation is slightly different.

    Since they linked back to you, they were easily traced and they've probably by now had their blog suspended, but these people are a damned nuisance.

    Don't let them stop you - just take care.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi VP, I am so sorry this has happened, and glad that you are not as upset by it. It is an annoyance that you can take some steps to stop, not cannot prevent it completely from happening. When it happened to me, it was one of the more popular posts that was lifted, maybe that is what they are looking for, as you say. I really don't go looking for this sort of thing for several reasons, not the least being the tracking back to my email or computer. I am not trying to make any money by blogging, I do it for the pleasure it gives me, and they, the bad guys, cannot take that feeling away by stealing my words and pictures. The copyscape has no teeth, but at least lets them be warned, also a statement about it being your property and not to use it without consent, at least makes one feel a little better about the whole thing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think that most bloggers who've been around for a while will tell you that they've had posts lifted, but you seem to have been targeted by the worst possible type. They go, in order of nuisance value, from those who lift the first paragraph of your post but then link back to you (often no èproblem, but why the hell don't they ask first?) to those who republish as if it's their own work (this happened to me - I retaliated by leaving comments saying the work had been stolen and alerting other writers who did the same - after a couple of weeks the site owner turned the comments function off) to your situation - where your posts are used in a way that disgusts. Sadly, the reporting process is horiffically complicated and many people give up. In this case I hope you don't. But anyway, you know you have all our support. Do what you can about it, protest as you have, but don't lose sleep. I learnt from what happened to me, and as I said it was minor in comparison, that you'll be the only one who suffers. The site owner certainly won't.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Whoops - that's problem and horrifically.
    Incidentally, if anyone wants to check if their posts have been lifted, just paste the first sentence into Google, in inverted commas, and when the results come up click also on the "show similar results" option at the bottom of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good Grief - have never heard of content scraping or post lifting. Don't let it worry you!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This just makes me sick. Some people are so in the gutter. Sorry the vile touched your good work.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I know it matters, VP. But don't you also think it's quite funny?

    Lucy

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for your support and comments. They're much appreciated.

    I'm not quite at the seeing it as funny stage as I'm annoyed that blogfriends have been put in the (potential) position of seeing something unexpected and nasty.

    I'm a lot calmer now and striving to be flattered by the attention of a robot! Apparently they only go for the relatively popular sites!

    ReplyDelete
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...