Today is my first day back to my office after taking time off to escape to the beach for a mini-family vacation. It’s taken hours to clear away the email junk that I will never read, answer immediate questions and respond to blog comments that were waiting approval. It was that last task that brought me to my first positive moment of the day.
Lorelle VanFossen has written What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. It’s timely. It’s detailed. I love this:
The second step in dealing with content theft is clearing up some major myths about copyright, copyright violations, and the Internet.
- Going after someone for theft and copyright violation is NOT time consuming or expensive.
- It does NOT require a lawyer.
- It might NOT require anything other than some simple actions.
- The protection of copyright laws should NOT be left to the â€œcompanies with the moneyâ€.
- Protecting and defending copyrights is NOT complicated.
- WRONG: The companies with money think nothing of violating copyrights, so there is nothing to do about it.
- WRONG: Everything on the Internet is/should be free.
- WRONG: You put it on the Internet, what do you expect?
When I worked for Verticalnet, back in its heyday during the roaring Dotcom years, company site design copycats were sighted all over the Internet. Not only that, many “Vert” web designers had web sites of their own, and were finding their personal site designs replicated on other sites; some of them down to the very source code, including stealing meta tag information, image file names and directory structures.
Every time a rip-off was found, lawyers were contacted and letters were sent out. In a few cases, the thief fought back. Google’s cached pages, as well as the Wayback Machine have been helpful in proving birth dates for web pages. We didn’t have Google back then and the lawyers…well, I got the impression they had better things they wanted to be doing.
Site stealing, content copying, mirroring blog posts to make it seem like it’s your own blog content…all of this happens. Some of it occurs during a learning process. I don’t worry so much about those instances, especially if the wrongdoer takes responsibility for their actions. It’s the pathetic examples of what lengths some people will go to in an effort to manipulate search engines that causes puzzlement, followed by anger.
It’s like watching somebody standing out on a train track, screaming to be noticed. You know they’re going to be squished eventually and you wonder what in the heck they can possibly be thinking?