May 3, 2007

Blog Herald Today: If You See This, The Content Is Stolen

published this at 6:16 am

Sometimes Irony Is Sweet

As a writer, I’ve always taken the idea of owning my work seriously. As a publisher, I’ve always understood that no one can copyright an idea. As blogger, I’m tired of seeing people steal what my friends and I have spent our time working on, tired of watching sploggers toss ads up alongside our work to make their money.

Read the whole feature in today’s Blog Herald by clicking the logo.

The Blog Herald

It’s about blogging and real life.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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17 Comments to “Blog Herald Today: If You See This, The Content Is Stolen”

  1. May 3rd, 2007 at 7:21 am
    Deb said

    I’m forever finding content posted on blogs. In most cases the offenders respond to a simple cease and desist but sometimes I have to get mean. One person refused to take content down after several requests and letters to Google, Blogger and anyone else I could think of. It wasn’t until I publicly called him an “Unethical Blogger” and pointed others to his splog that he took down my content.

  2. May 3rd, 2007 at 7:29 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Deb!
    Welcome! That’s the saddest part — that it makes us think and do negative things. Maybe that’s why I’ve started to think that the first response is to contact the blogger and say that I’m about to do a story on the blog in question, would he or she (but, quite frankly, only once has it been a she) like to comment or provide a remedy for the situation? Then I offer the article title which includes the phrase “stealing my content.” That has every time lead to an offer to remedy the situation.

    One might suggest that my blog gets a better response than a smaller blog might . . . but I’ve had friends with far fewer links get the same reaction in response to this approach.

    Thank you, Deb, for sharing your experience on this lousy topic. You’re not a stranger anymore. But then, you knew that. :)

  3. May 3rd, 2007 at 8:10 am
    Pankaj said

    I am relatively new to blogging and still learning and observing. I subscribed to this blog only couple of days back and have already learnt quite a few things. Anyway, I want to ask Liz and everyone else that what exactly is content stealing? If a person reads lots of blog, learns something about a particular topic and then writes as he understand or learnt in his blogs, will this also be considered as content stealing or copyright issue or is it just about copying and pasting the entire posts (might have changed few words here and there)? If learning and then writing his thoughts considered to be stealing, then I think about 80% or may be more are actually involved in the act of stealing.

  4. May 3rd, 2007 at 10:15 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hello Pankaj,
    Welcome. That is such a great question, and you are a good person for asking it, because surely others wonder too.

    Content theft is copying word for word, paraphrased, or ideas from someone else without giving credit.

    If an idea is accepted wisdom throughout the population, then there is not a need to credit it back. If it’s something newly introduced by a small group of people, it is a sign of respect and good reporting to show where you found the idea and whose idea it was.

    This particular article is about a plugin that scrapes entire posts word-for-word, that seems to be the most prevalent type of content theft in the blogosphere at the moement, perhaps because it is the easiest to automate.

    Different countries have different copyright laws — this is part of the problem that will only get bigger. A great blog to follow on this subject is written by Jonathan Bailey it is Plagiarism Today at http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/

  5. May 3rd, 2007 at 11:25 am
    Whitney said

    So, Liz, what do we do? Make it a third or fourth job just to trawl the Web to find and deal with content thieves? Forever hold back our best material…that which would help set us apart…and work sooner on that book that some of us know our content would have eventually become?

    Has the problem grown big enough that it’s now become a plausible deterrent for new or re-committed bloggers?

  6. May 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Whitney,
    The scary thing is that the easy answer would be to hire folks to keep an eye out, but oooh, the idea of blog police is even scarier. I think we need to dump the scraping software with a law.

    I do know a friend who’s taking up a legal focus in blog law.

  7. May 3rd, 2007 at 12:15 pm
    Michael A. Stelzner said

    Hey Liz;

    We must be on the same cloud today.

    I just wrote an article about what I call contentjacking on my blog today, where folks take your words as their own.

    This is a BIG problem.

    Mike

  8. May 3rd, 2007 at 12:58 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Mike!
    It’s either that wonderful blogger synchronicity or what you wrote about the other day — the “dark side of blogging” getting louder.

  9. May 3rd, 2007 at 1:43 pm
    Pankaj said

    Liz, Thanks for clarification but I if you don’t mind, I would like to extend the discussion little bit further. Let’s say some person got to know about an announcement of a service in one of the news site and he has also read the review of the same service from one of the blogs he reads. Later he puts his own thought for the same service after doing his part of research and it has so happened that his review of the service is pretty much similar to what he has earlier read. Will this be considered content stealing? Will he still needs to give credit to the blogger whose review he has read earlier? Does he also need to give credit to the news site?

    Little twist to the story, what if the guy actually got to know about the service from one of the blogs he is subscribed to but later does his own research and write the reviews which could be biased as he has already read something on the topic.

    I hope I am not extending it too far by my questions  but I think this is very common in blogosphere

  10. May 3rd, 2007 at 2:01 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Pankaj!
    If something is pretty much common knowledge, then there’s no need. If you heard about something from one place only, then it’s courtesy to say [via xxx] and to give that person a link for having foound the information first.

    If the ideas that you are reasearching are something on which you are basing an argument and you found them somewhere else . . . it makes your work stronger to cite your source and it’s good reporting.

    If yous eee the same idea in three places or more, then there probably is not a reason to link back to anyone.

    If a guy is biased about something he’s reviewing because of something he read, he’s not a good reporter. :) He should state the fact that could be in the mix and cite its source, if that worries him.

    I don’t mind this dicussion. I invite folks who have a different opinion. Mine is by no means the end all and be all.

  11. May 3rd, 2007 at 2:44 pm
    Pankaj said

    That I completely agree people with strong biases are not good reporters :-)

    On another point, I am sure there are many software of this type and I happen to know about theblogsolution which I assume just crawls the web (blogs) and add posts on your blog actually written by someone else. I am assuming this is what scraping software are all about and in my opinion too they should be dumped with a law. Unfortunately, these software are being sold and people are actually using it. I think only thing they can achieve by collecting peoples articles/posts is to earn money but not credibility. Even there I believe the benefit is only in the short term but definitely not in the long run. Since ultimately if one wants to earn money by blogging, he/she needs to write original content or reviews and wait for fortune to come.

    Content scraping is truly for the noveau flashy bloggers.

  12. May 3rd, 2007 at 2:46 pm
    ME Strauss said

    I think you said quite well, Pankaj.

    Steal my silver and sell it on the street. It’s the same thing.

  13. May 3rd, 2007 at 6:01 pm
    Robyn said

    Thanks for speaking up on this issue, Liz. I so agree with what you say.

  14. May 3rd, 2007 at 8:25 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Robyn,
    I keep coming here to reply to your comment and then getting distracted. So sorry. Thank you for the support. It’s a nasty issue that needs to be brought up every now and then to remind us not to stay quiet.

  15. May 7th, 2007 at 3:09 pm
    All About Pingbacks and Trackbacks | Ask Pankaj & Arnab said

    [...] in his post Contentjacking: The New Cyber Crime. There is also an intresting conversation on content stealing at on Liz Strauss bog post. Another reason for using trackbacks and pingbacks is to introduce the [...]

  16. January 5th, 2008 at 6:31 am
    All About Pingbacks and Trackbacks « Theagarwal’s Weblog said

    [...] in his post Contentjacking: The New Cyber Crime. There is also an intresting conversation on content stealing at on Liz Strauss bog post. Another reason for using trackbacks and pingbacks is to introduce the [...]

  17. October 5th, 2010 at 9:26 pm
    Quick Links – May 3, 2007 said

    [...] you been finding your brilliant ideas and amazing writings all over the net? Check out what Liz Strauss at Successful-Blog has discovered on this very [...]

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