I mentioned that I was having issues with content theft the other day, however I did not want to name names until I had received some form of response from the perpetrator.
After 5 days I have finally received a reply from them and I am now more than happy to name and shame.
As regular readers to this blog may know I also maintain several other blogs on specific themes.
One of them is ISquattedYour.EU, which deals primarily with domain industry related content.
I am involved with several registries (we're an accredited registrar for several) and keep an eye on movements at ICANN, so it was only natural that the financial issues that may impact on the .travel registry would catch my eye. On that basis I wrote a short article on this on the I Squatted blog:
Tralliance in Trouble - .travel could die
Which was published on 20th May 2007.
Two days later DomainNews.com published an article entitled "Is the .travel Registry broke?" which bears more than a passing similarity to my article, as it's basically a direct rip of mine.
I had been in contact with the editor of DomainNews.com previously and had explicitly told him that I did not grant them permission to republish my articles:
With regard to my blog posts I have no issue with you referencing me, or quoting me, however I do not grant anyone permission to republish my posts in their entirety
(email 3rd April 2007)
I will respect your wishes not to copy entire posts from your site of course.
Yet, when I became aware of their recent infringement of my copyright it took them 5 days to reply and the reply that I got was hardly satisfactory:
Actually I did not get that article from your site... someone else must have copied it and posted it on their site where I got it from.
(email May 30th 2007)
Interesting. So basically they don't admit to ripping the content from my site, but from someone else's?
And where is the reference to the source in the republished article?
Could anyone be expected to believe that anyone other than DomainNews wrote the article?
Have a look at a screenshot to see what I mean (sorry if it's a bit big):
To add insult to injury the ripped off article is now being cited as the source by several other sites that cover the domain name industry.
Of course their attitude does make you wonder how much of their content is their own and how much they have been blatantly stealing from other blogs and websites.
Their attitude to copyright is laughable:
Many sites do not put copyrights on their publications and I was unaware that this article had a copyright.
(email May 30th 2007)
So what are you meant to do?
Put a great big "hands off" on all your content?
Since when do you have to do this with original works?
I am not a lawyer and would not pretend to be one, however my understanding of copyright and fair use is quite clear on this point.
My interpretation would also seem to fit with that of professional journalists, such as the comments on my previous post on this subject by ENN's Ralph Averbuch and The Sunday Business Post's Adrian Weckler.
Copyright theft is wrong. There's no two ways about it. And what makes it even more annoying is when you know that other people are profiting from your work (ie. selling advertising on their site based on your content!)
While this may not be as abhorrent as the recent case of a 14 year old's photo ending up on the cover of an adult DVD, it's still morally indefensible.