Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog Content Theft

It's happened again - my blog content at the California Genealogical Society and Library blog has been stolen. I remember my first thought when it happened last February: why would anyone want to steal my content?

Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on Wordpress has the answer:
"The joke about size doesn’t matter applies to blogs. Some splog scrapers don’t care about who you are, what you blog about, or how “big” your blog is. They grab what they can, when they can. And they republish it as theirs or as if they have your permission to republish. They are using and abusing your hard work and making money on it."

The first time I discovered the theft accidentally. I stumbled onto the California Genealogy Headlines and Idaho Genealogy Headlines sites and was dumbfounded when I found several of my articles. (I know, Idaho?!) The theft was pretty blatant – full formatting and photographs were taken with no credit to myself or the society. I contacted the web design company in Phoenix, Arizona, told them to "cease and desist" and they took everything down right away. The response I got was "I was simply trying to provide another avenue for genealogy researchers to get the information they may be looking for. I was not meaning to 'Steal' anything." As you can see, they do now credit each post but they don't link back to the original. I guess that is progress. And yes, they do have a site for all 50 states although they aren't posting to all of them yet.

After that experience I set up a Google Alert to look for any mention of the CGSL blog. That's how I found out today that another "genealogy blog" is stealing content from me and from many other genea-bloggers. I contacted Thomas MacEntee at Destination: Austin Family right away. Thomas is much more knowledgeable than I about the workings of the "internets" and whose posts were among several that I recognized. Thomas has posted the full details of the interloper.

Lorelle is the Queen of Blogging and she has written extensively on copyright infringement and what to do if your content gets scraped. Some of her relevant posts include:

The Growing Trends in Content Theft: Image Theft, Feed Scraping and Website Hijacking

Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringement

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content

Stop Content Theft Buttons and Badges

One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs - the Dark Side of Blogging

I'm guilty myself of not following all of Lorelle's advice about posting copyright information and warnings. I'll be correcting that omission right away, and adding a anti-theft badge as well.

1 comment:

looking4ancestors said...

Excellent information, Kathryn and Thomas! Thanks for looking out for us genea-bloggers.