Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stop Copying Me!

I am having a bit of a dilemma here, and I'd like to ask for your input.
I experienced a bit of a traffic spike the last couple of days, which was a wonderful surprise! Thank you to all of you who come to read katiedid!
I was curious to know if there had been a link to my site that was directing a bit more traffic my way so I could thank whoever had been so nice.
Which brings me to a couple of questions. Technorati used to provide the answers, but doesn't seem to give as much information as it used to.
So I put the question out there to Google. Where else might I check who had linked to the katiedid blog? Up came information directing me to Copyscape. This is a handy little site that lets you know if there are any websites out there lifting copy from your blog or website.
My original quest had been to find out if there had been a helpful link to my blog, but I was curious about Copyscape, so I tried it out. Lo and behold, I found a site that is lifting all of my blog posts directly from my site, pictures and all. They do refer everyone back to my site as the original source, so at first I thought, just more exposure, right? But then, I realized, there is a LARGE amount of advertising on this site. So in essence, I am exerting a huge amount of effort to line someone else's pockets! Sooooo not right!!!
But is it considered plagiarism, since they list katiedid as the source?
Has anyone else experienced this? There are other design bloggers who have their hard work posted on this site and they may not know about it. I certainly didn't!( I will be letting these bloggers know, believe me!) The site even lists my blog in their sidebar as a "news source".
So what does one do? Copyscape does provide quite a bit of advice, but the website in question is owned by someone who has 288 other domains....so not likely to respond to my letter to "quit it".
It just occurred to me that since it appears this site automatically uploads all of my blog posts, THIS one will show up too.
So Mr. Copycat...you know who you are....STOP COPYING ME!
Anyone who has any information about this sort of thing, I would love to hear it!! Thanks all!

45 comments:

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Wow, I'd be interested to see if anyone with a legal background chimes in. Link or not, how can this be ok?

Jess said...

If they are lifting huge amounts of your stuff word for word, I'd say that plagiarism or at the very least unethical, and may well violate the terms and conditions of their hosting site. I know that similar things have happened to other bloggers in the past, and Blogger has been very responsive about taking these plagiarizing blogs down. I would contact the platform the blog is hosted on and let them know about the issue and see what they say.

Good luck!

Cote de Texas said...

omg! i never heard of this. i am going right now. there are bots - i have several bots that use my material. there's nothingn i can think of to do about it, so i just ignore them. after all, they don't have feelings, - they're not human!!! just bots!!!!
Joni

katiedid said...

Hi Suzie....it would be great if a lawyer would comment!

Hi Jess!
Everything is lifted just as it appears on my blog....every blog post. The site is hosted by WebRing (not familiar with them). I tried to figure out how to contact this host and it is next to impossible to contact them. Probably why they are the host for this site! So frustrating!

Joni!
You are probably right! It seems like an automatic set-up...so is that a "bot"? The frustrating thing is that they are earning $ from doing this.

Tamra said...

There has got be someone out there who's savvy about this. It's one thing to be plagiarized but for profit is a just rotten.

Love your site Katie, hope this works out for you. Keep us posted.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Katie thank you for this helpful information for all of us bloggers. I am just sorry that it's happened to you. I have heard of one other blogger (wish I could remember which one?) that had this happen last year. Someone else was robbing her blind so to speak. I'd be so ashamed if it were me. I wish you all the best for kicking their sorry a_ _ . Yes, keep us posted.

Kerry said...

That totally stinks. I write for Examiner.com too and they are very strict about plaigiarism which includes a cut and paste of any portion of someone else's work or direct paraphrasing. So, yes it is illegal. What to do about it is another question but if you know the domain owner I'd guess you could sue.

white flower design said...

wow, that is really strange. Never heard of such a thing. Hope all turns out well for you. I am very curious how this happened. Sad you were used because someone can't have an original thought. Lori

Polly@MakeMineBeautiful said...

Katie, I wonder if it would help if you right-click disabled your whole site.

You can register with a 'free copyright' site to protect everything on your blog. If you do this, and then they still continue to lift it, it is definitely illegal. I haven't read everything on your sidebars, but do you have a disclaimer on here saying that everything is the property of KD, and that nothing can be copied without permission/ If not, I'd get one up there.

The other problem is, if this site is lifting your content automatically, they may not even read it, therefore they may not read your post.

Can you comment over there? Personally, if it happened to me I'd let everyone know who it is so that everyone could bombard them with comments telling them to stop it. Heck, I'd tell who it was anyway so that other bloggers can see if their content is there as well.

I know a few people this has happened to in the past few months, and they have all contacted the blog ans asked them to stop using their information. As far as I know, they stopped.

I find it hard to believe that someone doesn't realize this is wrong to do. If they are making money off of other people's content, they should be sharing it with those they steal it from.

Anonymous said...

You need to assert copyright on your website in a visible way so that it can be easily discerned. Once you've done that, you can determine the owner of the website that is lifting your content by contacting an internet registry (you should Google "internet domain name registry")that will give you the legal name and address of who owns the website and that you can then use to file a lawsuit.

Amanda said...

That is totally crazy! I can't believe they are lifting every post verbatim. I guess it makes sense that with these new digital frontiers opening up, there will be new crimes. Thanks for the heads up...I'm going to look up my blog now!

vez said...

Sorry to hear about this. I don't know much about the legal stuff, but I work in IT security, so I thought I would give you some basic information on the site owner.

The site is part of a webring that includes several sites: http://www.webring.com/hub?ring=wilsongrouponlin

Here is the contact information for the guy who appears to own these sites:
http://www.whois.net/whois/hairandbeautycare.info

Let me know if you need more. Maybe just a simple email/call asking him to stop would do the trick? Good luck!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

They're doing it through the RSS feed.

You know the bloggers who only let a small portion of their posts show up in your RSS Reader? That's the strategy used to counter these mirror sites. Of course, you may lose traffic with that move.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

I just did mine, interesting. Same situation as yours. all sorts of off blog names lifting my posts. Thanks for the awareness and Anon. comment above me is helpful.

Southern Aspirations said...

Cameron at Defining Your Home had this problem-- she is using copyscape to protect the page and I believe has instructions here: http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-automatically-add-your-blog-name.html

I think that some of the issues are international "bots" in countries that do not have the same (read: none) copywright laws that other countries have- but I'm saying much more than I really know.

Best of luck though! And I think you could email Cameron and ask her thoughts too on how to prevent this.

Southern Aspirations said...

Cameron at Defining Your Home had this problem-- she is using copyscape to protect the page and I believe has instructions here: http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-automatically-add-your-blog-name.html

I think that some of the issues are international "bots" in countries that do not have the same (read: none) copywright laws that other countries have- but I'm saying much more than I really know.

Best of luck though! And I think you could email Cameron and ask her thoughts too on how to prevent this.

Lavender and Lilies said...

Really? I didn't know about this!

Tish said...

I ended up here because I googled "pheasant feathers" but then your website is so cool that I want to keep reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie - I found your blog from a post of yours on Facebook. I love it - I shared it with someone I work with who has worked extensively in marketing communications and design and is now taking interior design classes.

I would suggest you start adding a copyright on the bottom of all of your posts. Here's an example:
© 2010 Katie Denham (or your company name). All rights reserved.

If your work is copyrighted, then someone would have to ask permission to reprint it (at least in theory).

Hope you get it worked out. I want to keep enjoying your posts.

Mary Anne

Jess said...

This is really not good and does seem ethically if not actually illegal/wrong. I think you got a lot of good advise up there, so I'll only add that I feel mad for you. If there is anything that your blogreaders can do to help let us know!

Anonymous said...

Lawyers must be careful about what we write, especially when something can be posted on the web. Therefore, rather than send to you the original long explanation of copyright law that I wrote, my thoughts on the other website and how to write a DMCA "takedown" letter to both the website owner and service provider that the website owner uses, I decided it is best to refer you to the U.S. Federal copyright office website, www.copyright.gov and in particular the FAQ section. An intellectual property lawyer can assist you with handling this matter.

Renae said...

Interesting, I checked it out. So sorry this is happening.

beachbungalow8 said...

oh yes. I know of one Doppleganger. Her name is Kristy someone. her blog is moonbeams and polkadots or something. She lifts my posts constantly. I've said nothing to her, mostly because it's become a strange fascination for me, and also because I think it's only her church group friends and family that read her blog. It's so weird.

I'm off to check out this new resource.

Mbini said...

Unfortunately there isnt much we can do about this. But be comforted by the fact that, people who steal from others, NEVER win. At the end honesty wins.

It happens all the time and Southern Aspirations is so right. Some countries have no laws against this.

Penelope Bianchi said...

go look what an aesthete's lament did!

Now I can't print out his articles. RATS! I wasn't copying them......I was just putting them in my notebook!

Penny

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Well Geez Louise!

You got some good info from commenters!
I looked up my URL and found several "supposed" copies (but could not find them on the actual site or post)...I did see that copyscape would like to charge me per search though. Are you sure copyscape is on the up and up?? Ya just never know anymore!

Mbini said...

Hey Katie,
Beautiful blog, beautiful website. Inspiring indeed for someone new in the industry.

Southern Aspirations is so right, most countries don't have the copywright laws. There is not much you can do other than hoping the perpetrator has some concience and will stop after reading this post.

Be comforted by the fact that, cheaters never succeed. They can try but never get anywhere. It must be very boring being that un-original.

Great job,
Mbini

selle and amy said...

Katie - Wow this is just wrong. I am new to this blog world and it takes me a very long time to post one blog and my time is valuable as well as yours! This is crazy and I'm sorry for your trouble but I'm glad that you have exposed this proble. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above gave you the best advice...you're using a simple, free format medium that "hosts" you only. You should assert a legal claim to content and give notice of that to all if you are making it public (although that is not necessary legally, just makes a stronger protection)....these blogs dangle out there for the world to see, like airing your laundry, and many only repackage another's copyrighted material. My concern is that if the bulk of your content on the blog is other copyrighted material, even if you get their permission for reproducing it (NOT a simple attribution stating your source), wouldn't that possibly be depriving the magazine of income from readers who might otherwise have bought it? It would weaken your own assertion of copyright over the material I would think. On the other hand, I have seen posts by several of you that only showed enough to intrigue me--thus, I've gone to that movie/bought a fabric/or magazine (so you've not adversely impacted the original copyright and strengthened the possible income value of your own.) So, be careful of your content source (get permission and attribute), it wouldn't hurt to add a disclaimer, do searches to see who is copying you after that and send them a letter saying they are infringing your rights (and likely giving you a cause of action for money damages on ANY profits made from it.) It wouldn't hurt to make yourself a form letter for this, and if you're losing money go get an attorney consult for the exact laws they're infringing--so those letters you send out have punch. (BTW--I am NOT a intellectual property lawyer.)

Michelle said...

Yes, I have heard of this. Patricia experienced the same thing. I don't know what you can do about it. Maybe their advertisers would rather advertise on the origianl content...YOURS!!

This blog world is a strange place sometimes.

Best...and good luck
Michelle

caroline said...

ask the people at mashable or some other geek site.ask people who actually know how to make him stop or retaliate.of course this is piracy if only for that he is making money on lifting your content directly.it could be much worse:)i refuse to give anybody any ideas by listing how.
best of luck to you.

annie said...

I am sorry to hear this...taking things without permission is BAD!
Is there comment space on the site??? We could deluge it with commentary!
annie

Willow Decor said...

Hi,
I have had the same problem both in the US and on international sites. I usually try to contact them and leave a message that they need to link me - most have complied. But, the US sites just take my entire post and do not even link me. It is so frustrating and I have not known how to stop this. Thanks for tips - heading to copyscape right now!
xx-Gina

Karena said...

Katie, I had not heard about this... I will see what I can find out.
Thanks for the heads up!
Karena

Taylor said...

that isn't flattery- it's piracy! this is insane?! i agree with others about the copyright...then you'd perhaps have a legal stance to take action.

hi-d said...

That really stinks! I don't know much about copyright laws...but there is a site (someone already commented about it)...
http://www.copyright.gov

Hopefully you'll be able to get some answers to this.

Take care!
hi-d

katiedid said...

Hi all!

Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice!

A little more info.: The owner of the site seems to live in the US. As one commentor mentioned, I think my posts are just automatically uplifted through an RSS feed verbatum, pictures and all. Many of the photos on my site are original. It is not legally necessary for one to show a copyright on original work. It is automatically copyrighted, but I agree....it would probably add that added note of warning. I just never felt it necessary to do it before. Everyone who has ever used a photo (to my knowledge) has graciously asked permission and I gladly have given it. I plan on continuing to share photos with all of my blogging friends that are kind enough to link back to me. What I do NOT like is the verbatum lifting of copy. So I will be looking into how to guard against it in future.

Thanks for all of the great advice and resources! I so appreciate it!!! I hope Copyscape turns out to be a good resource for you all. It was certainly interesting for me!

Anonymous said...

Photos of my home were posted with my permission on a design blog with complimentary gracious text written by the blog author regarding my design style.

Subsequently, another design blog author lifted those photos with a scathing, destructive commentary of my home. It certainly was an eye-opening experience of the real evil that exists on blogs. Not to mention hurtful as many joined in the bashing in feedback comments.

It was a real learning curve experience. The many including yourself who are creatively honest are often shadowed by the "mean girls". Sad but so true. I sincerly hope you can "out" the offender.

Boxwood Terrace said...

That is a shame (not to mention a sham!) and I hope that you can get some good advice and find a solution that protects your work and blog from this kind of thing.
Deborah

Polly@MakeMineBeautiful said...

I just came back to say that I've spent a lot of time looking through archives on other blogs yesterday (been laid up sick.) In doing so, I came across a very popular blog who listed 10 helpful things for new bloggers to know. One of them was to download a program, which I will not name here, that allows you to pick up pictures that have a copyright and/or right-click disable on them.

She went on to state that if they didn't, they would be missing out on a lot of great pictures to share on their blogs. She also said something to the effect of "how do you think I get all of my fabulous pictures"?

So I guess that no matter what we do to try to protect our content, there is always someone else willing to tell others how to take it anyway. Can't win for losing, I suppose.

Meander said...

Good to know! Thanks for sharing this link, much appreciated!
I'll email you if I ever post a link or one of the pictures from your lovely blog.
Have a fabulous Valentines Day!!! =)

Rachel said...

When I saw the title of this post I thought for sure you were talking about everyone copying your kitchen, lol. I got a lot of ideas from your stunning kitchen. I was wondering how your honed marble is holding up, you mention that your daughter bakes so I know it is being used. Would you recommend it to a family of growing children?

Mrs. Blandings said...

Katie - thanks for the heads up on this, and I will check it out as well. Based on these comments you know more about copyright than I do, BUT as far as sourcing traffic Google Analytics is great at identifying sources. You install it just like site meter. Good luck.

Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

What an alarming discovery!! I would feel violated. I've noticed that some bloggers put a tag on all their pictures that states their website or some indicator of ownership.
I am a first time visitor. I read Life in a venti cup and you are listed in the sidebar as one of the blogs that she follows.
Good luck with your situation!

Jackie Von Tobel said...

Copyrights are very easy to infringe upon and almost impossible to protect. What this site is doing is absolutely infringing upon your rights but the only way to enforce your copyright is to take them to court which will end up costing you a significant amount in lawyers fees and take months or years of time . Even if you commit to this and go forward
with a lawsuit it is very hard to prove infringement and if you did win what would be your compensation? How much could they make from their blog?

I would out them by name on your blog and ask your blogging friends to spread the word on their sites. I would also write them a formal letter telling them to remove your name from their blog and to cease and desist from lifting any information from your blog. You can also report them to their blog host if they are using one of the big ones.

It's not very satisfying but that's about all you can do.
Good Luck!!!