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Ethical Blogging, re-use and stealing

Interesting things happen when your blog starts getting noticed by the internet masses. Some people leave comments, or ask questions, or give advice. These are all good things, as there’s nothing more rewarding than a message saying you helped someone make the right decision or solve a problem. Other people take whole articles and post them on their own sites with little or no mention of who created the content.

I noticed in my wordpress dashboard yesterday an incoming link from ipodfans.org. At first I thought this site was little more than a collection of RSS feeds, but on investigating a bit more I found only two of my posts copied completely on the site. The small news piece on my use of iJailbreak 0.6 was the first, and the second was leopard vs xp vs vista vs linux part 2, copied from here. This is not an RSS feed, since wordpress feeds do not continue past a <!–more–> tag, and that’s clearly visible. So the person who put the article on ipodfans.org copied the article from Basshead Tech and put it on that site. I wouldn’t object to this if it was made clear who the author was, but since I spent a few hours doing the testing for the article I object to the heading saying ‘Original Feed link at the end of the article, after the icons for submission to a range of content sharing sites.

Let me just say that again. Icons for submission to a range of content sharing sites. So I could click one of these icons and submit my article on Basshead Tech to Digg or Newsvine or del.icio.us? Think again. Clicking one of those icons submits the article on ipodfans.org to those sites. So the content I created could end up proving popular on a sharing site, and generating a lot of hits for ipodfans.org. Some of those readers could follow the original feed link back to the source, but when you have already read the full article is there any point?

I left a comment on the copied articles asking for a prominent creator credit or link, or for the articles to be removed. Surprisingly there has been no response, so it looks like the site is little more than a hit generator with advertising links, using other peoples content to try to make money. So how do you describe using content for financial gain without the creators consent?

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  1. March 28, 2008 at 3:37 am

    It’s pretty ridiculous, I know. I don’t have a big website, but on occasion I do see my site popping up in odd locations, and I’ve never really managed trackbacks or anything like that.

    I suppose it’s just part of the world of the Internet. Personally, I find it a bit annoying, but information gets around in different ways. If you think about before the Internet one would share information mouth to mouth, you can imagine how quickly the originator’s name got lost. In some ways we might be lucky, considering that with the copy and pasting going on, at least we can track down our content!

    Great blog, go hackintosh!

  2. basshead
    March 28, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Hi Joel, thanks for the comment.

    I agree that this is more an irritation than a problem. If the site using uncredited content was pulling in a lot of hits and making lots of money from advertising I would take my complaint a lot further, but I don’t think their methods will have much success.
    I did find an interesting comment at

    http://workerbeesblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/wow-this-version-of-blog-theft-is-new.html

    concerning issuing a DMCA notice on the site host, and a site at

    http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/

    that focuses on content theft. Interesting ideas and perhaps useful links to remember if I ever get a more serious problem, but for now it’s like using a sledgehammer to crack an egg.

  3. April 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    If you want to know who is copying your content, try this :

    http://copyscape.com/

  4. basshead
    April 13, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the link. I tried it out on the copied article and it was found very quickly. Definitely one to remember.

  5. accidentalsexiness
    April 25, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    omg they did the same thing to me!

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