© 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.