All About Romance was a victim of plagiarism a week or so ago. A new blogger had taken some reviews of theirs and posted them as her own. This is actually more common than you may think. Many times, blog sites called scrapers will take your RSS feed and republish it entirely under a different name, generating ad income from your work. It’s bad and shouldn’t be done.
Fortunately for bloggers, we have the same rights as other owners of copyright. Under the DMCA, an internet hosting site only has protection from being sued for copyright infringement if they act quickly to respond to complaints of infringement. In fact, some argue that sites are too quick to take down content even when the content is not infringing.
Because of that, you need to follow each web hosting service’s rules for notifying them of infringement. Here is an example of Go Daddy.com’s copyright policy.
An electronic signature of the copyright owner, or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive copyright that has allegedly been infringed.
Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works on that site.
Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit Go Daddy to locate the material.
Information reasonably sufficient to permit Go Daddy to contact the Complaining Party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the Complaining Party may be contacted.
A statement that the Complaining Party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the Complaining Party is the owner, or is authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Google/Blogger’s DMCA takedown procedure is as follows:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act – Blogger
You can file a notice of infringement with us through our online form. Submitting a notice online ensures the quickest handling and processing of your request.
To submit a notice by fax and/or mail, please use the following format (including section numbers):
1.Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. This post must include identification of the specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by the permalink of the post. For example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on http://example.com/test/2006_01_01.html#2106.
2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above.
YOU MUST IDENTIFY EACH POST BY PERMALINK OR DATE THAT ALLEGEDLY CONTAINS THE INFRINGING MATERIAL. The permalink for a post is usually found by clicking on the timestamp of the post. For example, "The blog where my copyrighted work is published on is http://copyright.blogspot.com/archives/2006_01_02_example.html."
3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit Google to contact you (email address is preferred).
4. Include the following statement: “I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”.
5. Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”
6. Sign the paper.
7. Send the written communication to the following address:
Attn: Google Legal Support, Blogger DMCA Complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
OR fax to:
, Attn: Blogger Legal Support, DMCA Complaints
This is a tedious step by step process but if you follow the instructions, the web hosting services are quick to take down the infringing information.
Scraping someone’s content will not stop but there are tools that we can utilize to ameliorate the effects of scraping. Using these tools are a blogger’s first and best line of defense.