Over on that other blog of mine, content theft is nothing new. It’s been happening, on a regular basis, since practically Day 1.
It’s annoying as hell. You work hard, try to compose witty and engaging prose, and some knucklehead comes along and steals it.
Usually when this happens, I just ignore it. A full-time job would ensue if I tried to stop it all. And I have enough full-time jobs at the moment. When I do reach out and touch a content thief, the two most typical responses are:
But it’s on the internet, so it’s free to take; and
My web guy did it, it’s not my fault!
1) No, it’s not. You are violating federal copyright law if you copy/paste someone else’s work into your site. And no, it doesn’t matter one iota if you attribute the original source. Did you not learn in third grade that it is wrong to copy off the kid sitting next to you?
2) Wrong again. You are responsible for what is on your site. It matters not who put it there.
Today a friend pointed out a rather ironic swiping of my content. A “real estate law site” is copying articles — in their entirety — that I’ve written. What makes this particularly frustrating is this sites “About Page” states, “If you would like your information displayed on our website or removed, please contact us.”
And of course there is no contact information to be found…
This is a “scraper site”, plain and simple. They steal other people’s work and plaster adds all around it. In theory they get traffic, people click on the ads, and they get money.
Meanwhile, the people that actually did the work creating the content get nothing. To add to the madness, they not only stole they stole the text, they stole the image used and don’t even have the common decency to host the image on their own site. So anytime someone stumbles across their site and sees the stolen image, bandwidth that I pay for, is used.
It’s a bullshit thing to do but it’s prevalent, perhaps epidemic, across the internet.
Prevalence, of course, doesn’t make it right.
Stupidity is rampant.
Thanks, I feel better now…