Monday, January 18, 2010

Stopped stealing my content

I'm no stranger to having my content taken without permission. Usually it's done by someone who liked what I wrote and thought it was OK because the writing was already online. I tell them it's not, and they take it down.

This, though -- this site had taken the RSS feed for my blog, looped it into theirs, and used it as their "Jersey Shore" coverage. I have my name on a google alert, which is how I found out.

I don't mind when people link to my blog. That's how the internet works. Sometimes sites will take the first paragraph and run it on their site, but they link to this blog, so people have to come here to finish reading. That's fine. What really ticked me off this time? Not only were they using full text and photos from my blog, but they were selling ads around the content. They were making money by taking my work, and they did it without asking me.

As of this morning, that site no longer exists. I didn't set out to destroy it, but perhaps all the content was stolen, and they were spooked enough by my response that they took it down.

Here's what I did:

1. Find out who owns the site. There was no direct contact information (red flag). So I put the blog address into WhoIs, which tells you who bought the domain name. Now, remember how I said they were selling ads? I clicked on the Paypal link that they used to sell those ads, and found out who those ads dollars went to - the same company that registered the domain.

2. Tell them to stop. I sent a strongly worded email through their site's contact form, and to the email address registered on the blog site. Then I tweeted the CEO of the company and demanded their remove my site from their feed.

3. Embarrass them. I wrote this post, which as you can see, ended up on their site.

There's no way I can police everyone who lifts my work, and internet stealing is rampant. But If I could get one company to stop, which lead to the shut down of their site? That's a win for us little guys.

Digg this


Justin Gaynor said...

You were lucky in this case that they were lazy and automatically pulling/syndicating your content via RSS. I've had people steal a number of my photos on Flickr before and the process of getting them removed is a real pain. Good job in this case!

Claudine M. Jalajas said...

I have to say I giggled when you wrote that blog and then it automatically pulled into their site. DOH! Good one. ;)