Rare Rant,Wine

How do you feel about plagiarism ~ Is it worth getting in a twit about it?

DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) exists; although it’s on the owner to police his or her own words, and then take action.

I’ve heard some wine bloggers say that they don’t care if they’re information and images are used elsewhere on the Internet; others aren’t appreciating it at all.

I’ve written about being aggregated; now, I’m writing about pure and simple lifting of our intellectual property. I’m still disturbed by hearing – from a fellow blogger – that he doesn’t mind having his words being used elsewhere. I believe it’s only because he’s not be taken advantage of, yet. When that happens… find his words with another author attributed to those words… this person’s opinion is going to change.

When your words and images are stolen, consider this constant example that I live with, because I put out the first real Petite Sirah leaf on the Internet, ever, and it’s now the standard, with no attributing the original source.

I took this one below for the PSILY logo in 2001, and then renamed it with psleaf… When I see it on the Internet, I know this image is mine. It’s very annoying to me that it’s become public property without my permission. Why? It’s my intellectual property and work, period. Because I put it out there, it didn’t just become public property.

The two below; I just found the one on the left, again for the umteenth time, on another site. Yes, I love people talking about Petite Sirah, but I still have issues with my image being used in its raw form. Notice that mine, on the right, is less pixelated, because it’s not a copy. Copies of images lose pixelation as they get re-saved each time. My image is becoming distorted, and I don’t really appreciate it.

I took this image in 2001 at K-J’s demonstration vineyard. It has now made it all over the universe, with several name incarnations to suit the thieves. This one on the left is called petitesyrah-333.jpg. Petite Sirah with a “y?” I’ve been all over that  one for years, since the TTB has said, “No more Petite Sirah with a “y” in the word Sirah.”

I’d like to be magnanimous, and just say, “Hey, have at it!” However, it’s the logo for PS I Love You, for starters, and it was my time devoted to thinking about how I wanted to take it, finding it, traveling to take the picture, taking it, processing it, and making it public for the first time.

This reminds me of the story of the Little Red Hen. “You did not help me thrash the wheat, you did not help me grind the wheat, you did not help me make the bread, and you will not help me eat the bread.” It’s just life in karma zone.

Try taking an image from Getty Images. See what that will get you.

On Getty images, a 56 KB image [170 x 113 px (2.36 x 1.57 in.) – 72 dpi – RGB] is $10.00.

My image is 87 KB [23o X 208 px (3.194 x 2.889 in.) – 72 dpi – RGB]. This image is worth at least $10.00 to me, and this is why it is irritating that it’s being used without permission. I, too, am a business person trying to make a living.

I’d settle for a mention when my images are used, honestly. I spend a good amount of money to purchase other people’s work to upload onto my blog, or for clients in their point of sale materials. A mention is at least respecting that this image was created by me and is still my property.

Plagiarism is worth getting in a twit about, when I asked my Twitter pals. Here are the responses.

@SoCalWineNews: To write your tail off and then someone lifts it as their own without giving due credit is yella belly low. It’s theft, pure & simple.

@cheers2winecom ~ When my content was totally copied by a blog consisting of just my content I complained to Google (blog had google ads)

@SFDoug ~ that’s just plain wrong. Probably illegal, too, but enforcing copyright is difficult. But it is theft, pure and simple.

@LarryTheWineGuy ~  Same as I would feel if someone burglarized my home. It’s theft.

@innkeeperLynne ~  it’s not fair but the problem is if one is to police the web, beware of the unintended consequences.

@winotone ~ Bad form.. use a portion of my content, then provide a ‘more’ link to my site, otherwise it’s just copyright theft IMHO

@mmWine ~  I think it sucks. It’s stealing. Actually, sites that DO give my name & url, but don’t ask, are about crossing the line!

@wineevangelist ~  Not happy, especially when it’s so easy to give recognition. Deal with this all the time w/ Wine Boot Camp trademark.


@grapes_of_sloth ~ How would you know if someone was stealing your content? How can you avoid it?

My answer: Search on some really unusual phrase within a wine blog posting, and you’ll perhaps find your words somewhere else, where someone’s lifted all of your words and images.

What do I do in that case?

  1. I search on Whois.net.
  2. Type in the domain name of the site.
  3. A page will come up and tell you who owns the site, the person’s address, phone number, Email, etc.
  4. I’ve got the person who has stolen my work, and I send him an Email that tells him I know who he is, and where he lives.
  5. I order the person to cease and desist… or else.

It has always gone away, because right is right. with the Internet, as easy as it is to steals someone else’s work, it’s also easy to out the person. But… it’s such a pain to have to be doing all of this,w hen all we really want to be doing is self publishing our work… not policing it.

Here’s how to write that  cease and desist letter…

DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Notice of Copyright Infringement – Sample Template

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9 Responses to “How do you feel about plagiarism ~ Is it worth getting in a twit about it?”

  1. Loweeel says:

    Jo, digital images are not like successive generations of photocopies — they actually don’t get more pixelated as they propagate. That’s the nature of digital information — it allows perfect copies (assuming no errors in transmission or recording). Rather, pixelation comes from images being resized (usually shrunk then expanded).

  2. Loweeel says:

    I’d also add a link to “Terms of use for content” on PSILY.org and here, which will spell out very clearly how the images may be used and under what conditions (attribution, link, permission from you each time, etc.)

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Loweeel, thatks for taking time to try to make me feel better about this.

    In a semester PhotoShop class, we learned that saving a jpeg *over* a jpeg instantly reduces the quality of the image.

    So, I work in PhotoShop always to begin, then create the jpeg image from the PhotoShop document.

    Resaving any jpeg or tiff, because they are *pixels,* not a vector image, is then slightly less quality than the original.

    Wish is wasn’t so, but it is…

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    “Terms of use of content” … Good one. I’ll begin to write that one and have Jose put it into the footer. Thanks!

  5. Loweeel says:

    Jo, that’s true only insofar as you open a .jpg in an editing program and save changes to it, because by so doing, you’re re-applying the JPEG compression algorithm (which is lossy) to already JPEG-compressed image data. Simply saving a digital file or moving it around does not in and of itself make pixelation. (It’s also possible to use uncompressed JPEG or TIFF files, but those are not the norm)

    The terms of use for content should also provide the specific images that may be used by others (and specify that no others may be used without requesting and receiving permission), and that they may not be altered to remove or obscure the attribution. This way you could have a PSILY leaf with your copyright information in the image, and that’s the only one that can be used.

    The terms should also spell out the specific procedures you’d like for articles about PSILY, special terms of use governing your blog-posted images in blog posts commenting on/linking to/responding to those posts, etc.

  6. Jo Diaz says:


    Yes, that’s all true… moving doesn’t change it, unless the person who has imported it decides to call it another name… Now, they’ve saved over an already saved jpeg file…as is the case with this leaf example. The person who took it, renamed it (with a “y” in the Syrah – HORRORS), also made it slightly larger… All things that change the integrity of the original work.

    All good copyright information. Thanks.

    Yesterday I had a blogger ask to use one of my images for an upcoming story. I not only said, “Of course,” but I also gave the image to him in a bigger pixel format, with a small copyright on the image. This way, he doesn’t have to even say that he has my permission, if he chooses not to. I do respect, very much, that he asked.

    I don’t mind sharing anything… People just ask.

    Last week, I had a wine brand ask to use a Sauvignon Blanc Leaf that I’ve photographed and have on this blog. Same thing for her. I sent the image with a copyright.

    People are beginning to ask, and that’s why I’m ragging on this… Not everyone is, yet. People need to know that because it’s on the Internet, that doesn’t mean that copyrights have gone to hell in a hand basket. They’re still important… Every time I’m infringed upon, I’ll sound the alarm… 😉

  7. I think I’m the person you’re referring to! It’s not that I don’t care. I do, but it’s just not worth the time and hassle to fight it. Besides, a federal judge ruled last week against Viacom and in favor of YouTube (which is owned by Google), in a case that seems to protect Internet “thieves” at the expense of original content providers like you and me. See http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2010/06/a_federal_judge_dismissed_viac.html. The Supreme Court will have to sort through this, but someday, you might not even be on sound legal ground when someone steals your content.

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Hi, Steve,

    Nope, you’re not the one I was referring to… ;^)

    I don’t want to know that I’m writing for free, so someone else can steal my thoughts, style, and intellectual property.

    RE: “you might not even be on sound legal ground when someone steals your content.” I’ll tell you what… the day that happens, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

  9. Webfool.com says:

    There was a wine column in the Wall Street Journal in the Friday Edition a few years back. You may remember it. The article was written by a married pair – Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. They’ve written a book or two. I appreciated the comments and suggestions about how to buy, drink and appreciate wine. I don’t think it would be appropriate for anyone to steal a writers words and present them as their own. If I didn’t feel the writers were talking to me authentically, I may have never taken the first step toward enjoying my first sip and thousands since.

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