Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Protect your rights.

© By Othmar Vohringer

A little more than a week ago Kristine sent me an email with which she alerted me to a blog that had some of my articles posted. Kristine asked if I was aware of it and I was not. A link to that particular blog was thankfully provided with the email and so needless to say, I wanted to see with my own eyes what was happening. My jaw almost dropped to the floor when I discovered that every second article on that blog was a copy and paste job off my blog. The fake links back to the original article did not work.

The blog featured an extraordinary amount of advertising that led me quickly to the conclusion that this whole blog was a scheme to garner income from advertisers but without doing any of the work to earn that money. There was no contact information to this blogger and I use the term “blogger” very loosely here. I made a comment on his blog about the fact that this article had been posted without my consent and would the publisher please remove it from his blog. The next day when I checked the article was still up but my comment was gone.

Once again I posted a comment on that fraudulent blog but with a stiff warning added this time, that if not all my articles were removed within 24 hours I would take steps to have it shut down. Again, when I checked back the next day not only were all the articles still there but the guy actually stole yet another one from my blog and posted it on his. And so, true to my warning, I contacted the blog providers (Maxblog.Eu) and let them know about my problems with a copyright violator on their blogging net. Within two days I got an email from Maxblog.Eu informing me that they looked into the matter and consequently shut the offending blog down.

We may not often think about the fact that what we write on our blogs is our intellectual property and protected by the National and International Copyright law. But when people lack the most common manners and think that they can just take whatever they want without asking first we have to defend what is ours. Besides having the blog shut down, another good thing came out of all of this: I remembered a neat feature that I installed on my blog. It’s called Copyscape and it is a script that lets me check in a matter of seconds if my articles have been published elsewhere without me knowing about it. In the future all the articles that I write will carry a copyright plus the Copyscape banner as a warning to potential copyright violators and as a reminder for me to use that neat tool more often.

Interestingly enough my wife last week wrote an article about the intellectual property rights of a person who has passed away. In my wife’s case the bulk of her intellectual property is artwork and photography. It is short but well written and thought provoking piece that is relevant to anybody who posts content that is publicly accessible in print or on the Internet.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


Jon said...

Wow! Someone like that, I would like to wring their necks! What jerks!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Jon that makes two of us. ;) As you can see I came out laughing and he is without a blog. So it worked out just fine. The reason I wrote this piece is to make other bloggers aware of a real problem that does exist on the Internet. For bloggers that write for the joy of writing it might not be to bad but for the bloggers that make a living of writing, or try to, such theft can have a negative financial impact.

Having said all that I don't like thieves, whatever there reasons may be, period.

-Othmar Vohringer-

-Othmar Vohringer-

Anonymous said...

As I said on the OBS blog, I'm so glad you were able to get that blogger shut down. It made me really angry that he was stealing your stuff.

Othmar Vohringer said...

So am I Kristine and thanks again to alerting me about it in the first place.

The good news about all of this is that there are things we can and should do to protect what is rightly ours.

-Othmar Vohringer-

deerslayer said...

great work Othmar and great job of handling it so professionally. If folks can't come up with their own post don't still them. They're really lucky being shut down was all that happened to them, they could have ended up with a lawsuit against them. I'm glad we're all friends here and watch out for each other with respect for everyone's hard work. Keep up the great work, I'm going bow hunting in the morning (opening day).

Matt said...

Good work Othmar, and good information. Thanks for sharing this experience and what you did about it.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Deerslayer and Matt – Thank you for the comments and the support in this matter. As I said elsewhere in the comments, it is important to be aware that plagiarism does occur but we (writers) do have the means to put a stop to it.

Coincidentally, my wife discovered just the other day that someone has copied some of her photographs and artwork to post it on a website. Fortunately my wife has a big copyright across all her images and photos that she posts on the Internet.

-Othmar Vohringer-

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