February 27, 2007

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria

"Sorry, no posts matched your criteria, please try and search again."

I've seen those words about 50 times today, and believe me, they are music to my ears.

After having those stolen content problems last week, I set up a few Google Alerts. This is a case of using technology to fight those who are using technology to steal your work. Instead of me wasting my time searching for unauthorized use of my articles, I let Google do it for me.

If you are a blog author, I recommend that you do this, too. I'm setting up an alert for every article now. Don't use your title, because they sometimes change the titles. Don't use your first paragraph because many spam blogs (splogs) use the first paragraph only and that would probably be considered "fair use" by copyright laws as long as they include a link to your site.

I set up a Google Alert with one or two sentences from the second paragraph of an article, surrounded by quotation marks, and Google scours the internet looking for those exact sentences. I set them up as "As it happens" alerts. I usually get one hit immediately, reporting my own blog. Then sure enough, more hits started coming in. And boy, did they come in.

Some jerk in Thailand had copied dozens of my articles in their entirety, including photos, hundreds of times! Of course, not only mine but numerous other blog authors. (I didn't see anyone else I know.) He included a link merely saying "blogicit" in tiny letters at the bottom of each article.

This guy has hundreds of blogs on the ddneo.com domain. They have names like loa, lob, loc, lo2a, lo2b, lo3a, lo4a, and seem to go on and on forever. Each splog that I found had from one to three of my complete articles and photos.

I began reporting each blog I ran across to Splog Reporter. I guess I overwhelmed them because they shut down the service the day after I started using the site!

I also reported the copyright violations on about 40 of the blogs to Google ads. After all, the only reason that people do this is to earn money on ads, so "hit 'em where it hurts" may be the best tactic. This takes a lot of time, though, and who knows if the giant Google pays any attention to these reports.

The only humorous thing about this is that my article about blog content theft with the big red announcement that said "Notice: The author of this blog steals all of his material....." was republished on several of his blogs, too!

Finally I found the domain owner's email address and I wrote the guy. He wrote back today to say:
From: nattapon nimakul totizy@gmail.com
Date: Feb 27, 2007 6:01 AM
Subject: Re: Notice of copyright violations
To: La Gringa

I have remove all content from you web site(" http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/");
And stop repost from you web site.
If you see post from you site appear at my web site, Please contact me any time.
I will remove post as soon as possible.

sorry again.

I'm leaving out a lot of details, since it may not be of interest to those of you who don't have blogs. I spent many hours and was pretty depressed about the whole thing. Some, including El Jefe, would say, "So what? You can't stop all the plagiarists on the internet." That's true, but it just felt like such a violation. I spend a lot of time and work hard on this blog! And for someone halfway around the world to be copying all of my work to make money on it....well, I just couldn't let it go.

For those who say, and plenty do, that it is a compliment − No, plagiarizing one's work in its entirety is theft and against the law. This is a compliment:

Chiriquí Chatter (Panama)

So is this case, where the person requested permission to reprint the article in advance:

Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator (Guatemala)

And so is this, where the site has permission to use my gardening articles, links to my articles, and lists a blog link on each page:

Garden Voices

And it is really an honor to be included on this site:

Global Voices

Those are examples of how it is perfectly appropriate, and yes, a compliment, to use or refer to someone else's work. I'm happy to see my articles quoted elsewhere and happy to even give permission to use an entire article as long as I get credit for my work!
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