I know many bloggers have to deal with the issue of scraping. Another site will copy your content, hotlink your photos, and try to sell it as their own. Often times there is no link back to the original site and sometimes it may rank higher in search engine results than the original article. Scraping can be done in a very automated fashion between RSS feeds and bots. I know I have had a few experiences with it. I’ve had generally good luck expressing my copyright and getting the site to remove the content though not always.
It’s one thing to have your articles copied from your website to another but I can imagine the pain and fury when a local newspaper copies it verbatim, slaps it on their front page, and prints it without giving your site a byline or any credit at all. That is exactly what happened at All American Blogger earlier this month. On May 1st, Duane Lester published an article analyzing the audit results of a Missouri county. Ten days later, a newspaper (that ironically claims to be First with the News) republished that article with no credit to the original author adding a single paragraph to the end, and removing a word from the headline.
After consulting with a lawyer, Lester decided to assert his copyright and hand-deliver his letter and invoice for damages. He wrote about the experience on his blog but even better, with camera in tow, takes us along for the ride where the editor of the newspaper had quite a shouting match over being caught.
Props to Mr. Lester for standing up for his rights and not letting his content be taken freely just because it is published on the web. It was a tense situation but the blogger walked away with $500 but more importantly stood up for principles that all bloggers can appreciate.
(The memo line for the check read ‘Bull Shit’. Classy, Mr. Ripley. Classy.)
You can read and reference the assertion of copyright letter he used in case you have need for it to defend your own works.
Image credit: AllAmericanBlogger.com