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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Anyone want to do a group project? October 5, 2007 10:26 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Programming, Software, Technology, WordPress
, trackback

I’ve never done an open source project before. Here’s my proposal. We write a WordPress plugin that helps create a blacklist of known content thieving IPs. When an IP from the blacklist requests the RSS feed or direct link from the WordPress blog, we deliver an anti-theft of content notice instead of the actual content. The plugin will have the ability to deliver a custom message allowing people the personal choice of making the payload as obscene or marketable as they like. I have some thoughts on implementation since the splog delivering the content might have a different IP than the scavenger. For instance, the plug could alter the comment interface to include a check to mark a comment or trackback as potential content theft. The plugin would then have to examine the server logs to try to draw a correlation between when the real content was posted, the IPs that requested the RSS or post, and the time the stolen content was posted. With large samplings to a single database I think we could be very effective at blocking the thieves. Now, what’s the abuse potential here?

After getting this working on WordPress, I think we could extend it to other platforms.

Update: Looks like Owen Winkler (Antileech) has already written this! Kudos! Lorelle gives an overview and also recommends Digital Fingerprint Detecting Content Theft WordPress Plugin.

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1. Jonathan Bailey - October 8, 2007

Interesting idea, a few points.

First, you might want to take a look at Copyfeed, I know I mention it everywhere I go but it is open sourced and has some of the functionality you describe already plus some. Might be better to not reinvent the wheel as they say.

Second, I don’t know how you plan on maintaining a centralized service here, this is a war on akin with the virus/antivirus war. Spammers are constantly building new networks, Also, many sites use the same IP among different blogs, such as Blogspot and WordPress.com, and you can mix both legit and illegitimate blogs that way.

You would have to have a system to not only accept new IPs, but outdate old ones and ensure you don’t ensnare good sites. It could take a lot of work in the maintenance department.

Finally, you have to have a system to deal with abuse. I could report a legitimate aggregator to get them blacklisted in your service and hurt their business.

Just some thoughts on the matter.

2. Doug McCaughan - October 8, 2007

Yes, definitely no small task. I’ll gander Copyfeed. Not sure I want my mission in life to become “spam fighter” but I bet I could put a hurt on them. Now if I could get some R&D funding 🙂