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You don’t get what you don’t ask for

I have seen a lot of content theft from Reality Me. Yes, I publish full RSS feeds because I like to read full RSS feeds and you get what you give. But that makes it easier for robotic blogs to steal the content and present it as their own. The only way I know about the theft is that I allow trackbacks in my comments. Fortunately, many of my posts link to other information on Reality Me so when someone steals my content I instantly know. That also puts me in a quandary. Technically, these sites are helping my page rank and validating my blog by giving links back to me. On the other hand, they are diminishing the quality of the content (as viewed by the search engines) since the content of the post is duplicated in its entirety. So, do I ignore the theft valuing my time and the links to my blog more than the theft of my hard work? (see comments 6, 7 and 8 on this post that I composed over the course of a week) Or do I waste valuable time tracking down the owner of the blog and pursing legal recourses to stop the infringement?

When I noticed that another post was stolen on June 30, I decided to follow Lorelle VanFossen’s advice and contact the thief. I posted the following as a comment on the other blog:

This is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of XXXX article at XXXURLXXX is originally from my website/blog called XXTITLEXXX at XXXURLXXX. This is original content and I am the author and copyright holder. Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws.

Please take one or more of the following actions immediately:

* Re-write the post to include excerpts with a link to the original content.
* Credit the material specifically to me, as author, and my website [be specific].
* Provide compensation for use of my copyright protected material of $XX.00 USD paid via [payment method].
* Remove the plagiarized material immediately.

I expect a response within 5 days to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter.
[Source]

Naturally I filled in all the Xs appropriately. Surprisingly it took less time to do that than it is taking to write this post. And in just about as much time, the theft had turned to honorable blogger by changing the post to a summary and giving an appropriate attribution. I was pleasantly surprised and no longer harbored ill feelings toward the other person. I even followed up with a thank you comment. I feel we both win this way.

Lorelle VanFossen has more fantastic insight into the problem of content theft explaining image theft, feed scraping, and website hijacking. She also explains what to do when you become a victim of content theft.

4 thoughts on “You don’t get what you don’t ask for

  1. I saw a link today which made me think of this post. Good breakdown on the web, copyright, and what a blogger can/shouldn’t do. Excellent for reference, and of course, it’s Smashing Magazine.

    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/07/07/copyright-explained-i-may-copy-it-right/

  2. […] Reality Me – You don’t get what you don’t ask for […]

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