It’s going great, however, lately we’ve been constantly dealing with people stealing our work. Lara’s website – dormant at the moment but soon to be back better than ever – has been ripped off so many times it’s frightening. Amusingly, today I saw a post stolen from her on a site that always rips off her stuff that we haven’t had time to get taken down. The post was about stealing content from her site.
But increasingly people are taking our content, including images, and slightly reworking it and linking back to us. It’s theft. So when one guy went to the trouble of capturing screenshots of a set of my images and took chunks of our content and placed inverted commas around them to create a ‘feature story’, I snapped.
Eventually I tracked this guy down, who said he ‘might have overstepped the line’ on Twitter and he finally gave me his email address – mainly because we had contacted the advertisers on his site and told them that they were advertising with a guy who steals content. Here’s my email to him:
We love people linking to our content. However, we don’t like people stealing our photos and appropriating half the story that we’ve taken the time to research.
All material on our site is copyright and will form the basis of a book that has been commissioned. No reproduction of any content without permission.
Funny thing is, if you were a legitimate site that had a decent ranking we would have been happy to give you an interview and a photo.
This kind of link is appropriate: <redacted to protect the guilty>
Either take the post down (you’re not really generating any hits for us so we don’t really care) or modify it to something as above.
We’ve already been in contact with your advertisers on the site. They’re awaiting your response from us.
Please respond within 24hrs as to what you’re doing about this.
This is the response I received. I believe I hurt the guy’s feelings.
Why are you bent on ad-homonym attacks? “if you were a legitimate site with a decent ranking” where did that come from? I will discount your outburst to frustration and think no more of it. I’m also flattered that you would consider a two week old web-site enough of a threat to contact our advertisers (although, as you noticed, we have no significant traffic yet).
I’ve adjusted the post as you have suggested,
<redacted to protect the guilty>
In the spirit of cooperation, I hope that we can put this episode behind us, and that we can continue to link to your well written and researched articles in the future. Our goal, after all is to promote the sights, sounds, and tastes of <redacted to protect the guilty>, and not to steal anyone’s content or profitability.
<redacted to protect the guilty>
Here’s the response I drafted but never sent, because I don’t want to have an email exchange with this guy.
1. Look up ‘ad homonym’. Seriously. Find the more common spelling of it first, it will make it easier to find a definition. Then understand the concept. I am attacking the ‘man’ (if I can call a callous asshat that steals content a ‘man’) because you ‘wrote’ the post on the site that stole our content. If you can consider that an attack on you personally, all the better. It’s telling that you disconnect yourself from your actions. It’s like, “I swear officer, that content just wrote and uploaded itself!”
2. ‘A legitimate site with a decent ranking’, refers to the fact that your site looks like a content scraping site. Unfinished content, placeholder images, no email addresses, no easy way to comment, poor graphics. Plenty of other sites’ content turned into ‘posts’ and ‘features’. In other words, just another anonymous, anodyne site that only exists to get cents from clicks of poor suckers that mistakenly end up at your site. You’re a waste of bandwidth and a decent URL.
3. Don’t discount my frustration. You have wasted an hour or two of my time trying to track you down. I’m furious with you.
4. Don’t be flattered that we contacted your advertisers, we contacted your advertisers to find out who you were. Most content scrapers like you don’t leave easy-to-find email addresses. You’re just one of many scumbags we’ve dealt with. Now your advertisers know you’re a scumbag. I call that ‘win-win’.
5. You’re a threat? To us? Please! We checked out your ranking to decide whether it was worth sending you a bill for reproducing our content without permission to make money. You’re not worth it. But a threat? Firstly, we don’t accept advertising. Secondly, we don’t even write about <redacted>! Thirdly, a content scraping site is hardly our ‘competition’. Lastly, we don’t reprint other people’s content and proclaim it as a ‘feature’. Seriously, at best, you’re delusional.
6. There is no ‘spirit of cooperation’ between us. I loathe people like you, you waste my time that’s better spent researching, photographing and writing content. You stole copyright content, tried to make it look like you didn’t, was caught out and only paid attention when your advertisers contacted you. The only spirit of cooperation you’ll get from me is that I didn’t bother sending you a bill for stealing my content to make money.
7. If your goal is to ‘promote <redacted to protect the guilty>’, start by actually writing your own content instead of copying other people’s copyrighted content and going to great lengths to steal their copyrighted photographs. You’ll feel much better about yourself after realigning your moral compass and producing original content you’re proud of.
8. Please don’t bother linking to our site in the future, you make so many typos it’s embarrassing and you’d probably get the URL wrong anyway.