I just got another Dear Jo Email that touched on a wine blogging subject.
Here’s the question:
I need to know what you know about a European website Polskiewinnice.eu.
I have found all my post and many other wine blog posts copied and posted on this site.
I am listed as a contributor and so are you and some other well know bloggers. I have never, to my knowledge given anyone permission to this, other than wine social networks listed on my blog and I see no links to this site from your Wine Blog. This site gives no way of removing or deleting as a contributor or even contacting. If you are not aware of this, please let me know. If you find a way to delete from this site let me know.
Here’s my answer:
Great question, because this is always a copyright infringement issue.
Basically, if someone has used my writing (or images) without permission, it’s copyright infringement.
At the bottom of my Website, I have written: Copyright © 2010 Wine Blog All rights reserved. That means what it means, and it also means that at any point I can ask someone to stop using my content.
The letter of the law states that anyone who lifts another site’s contents (words and/or images) has infringed on the rights of that person. I find my content enriching other people’s sites all the time. Right now I have a list of 22 places where I’m a contributor. I’ve only been asked by one site if he could aggregate me.
How do I feel about the other 21, including this one that you’ve now pointed out to me?
I’m okay with it, because my name and a link to my site is also there. This means that others can find the origin, and that’s the most important part of this process. These aggregates are building your image and the content for which you’re writing. It’s currently mutually beneficial.
Will this go on forever?
Probably not, because these other sites also have ads, including Google ads, so they’re making money on your content and you’re not. There will come a day when this behavior will tick off someone to the point of a law suit (when Goggle ads pay more than peanuts) And then, a law will come down that these aggregators will have to first ask permission of the author as to whether or not she or he wants to be aggregated.
I’ve had to stop people twice in the past. In both cases, it was just plain ripping off my content. Imagine finding the image of the typewriter that your grandmother gave you and the first camera that your grandfather gave you… and the story of how it all came together… one someone else’s site… No link, no name, no nothing, and putting HIS name on it as the author!? As I said, this type of infringement has happened several time to me with content and images.
How did I stop thi guy?
To find the author of a site, go to this Go Daddy URL. Type in the URL that’s using your content.
I found the following:
I gave him everything from name, address, phone, other websites, Email… Everything about this person, including the country.
Now you’ve got everything you need to pursue him if you want, as I have others that have illegally aggregated me ~ without permission and without using my name or URL:
What I wrote to both of these guys who had ripped me off was this, supplying them with their name, address, phone numbers:
“I know who you are, and I know where you live. Please cease and desist immediately, or I will be forced to seek legal counsel for your copyright infringement.”
In one case, the entire site came down. In the other, my portion of it came down.
With this guy being in Australia (48 number), he might not care.
He might also not like it if you begin to leave comments on your posting. WannabeWino did it with one guy… She left a comment on every one of her posts, saying that she was the author and didn’t appreciate being used. She also came down quickly, but the guy still kicked and screamed “foul” for the way she did it. She only did it that way, because she doesn’t know about this other way. I wouldn’t either, but my husband’s a Webmaster. I know a lot more than the average person, because my husband shares information with me.
There are ways to make it stop, if you want it to. If you’re building you as a brand, you may not want it to… as long as you’re given credit.
As I wrote, if it’s a site that’s giving a link back to me, I’m okay with it, unless it’s a cesspool of a site. Image is also part of it. So far, so good.