I recently watched the movie Network and in it Howard Beale has a mental breakdown live on the 6:00 o’clock news. When this movie was filmed, in the 1970’s, everyone watched the network news at 6:oo or 11:00. In this scene, Howard encourages people to open their windows and shout “I am as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” This inspired people all over the country to open their window and express their anger.
Why am I telling you this? Last night I checked my email and had a notification that someone had linked back to my blog. So I checked the link and was absolutely shocked. This person had not only linked to my blog, they copied my whole entire post with photos, formatting etc. Can you say copyright infringement? The reason that I got the pingback was that I had linked one of my other posts as a reference in that post. I contacted this person via tweet (she did not respond) and by email.
Her email response was this: “My apologies. I am using software to auto-post curated articles, and I did not realize the code that generated the attribution link was not functioning properly. It was including a back link to the source, but did not list the author’s name. I have modified the code so that this should not be a problem going forward. If you would prefer that I exclude all your articles in the future even with the attribution and back link, please let me know and I will configure an exception.” So in her world, this credit at the bottom of the post “This curated Social Media article was written by: Peg Fitzpatrick, as published at Social | Business 2 Community” gave her permission to run my post. Unbelievable!
So, I did some research on her blog. She had no original content at all (100% copyright infringement) and is taking posts from Business2Community (which syndicates posts with permission from the authors) and the biggest majority of the posts were from Mashable and HubSpot.
And I am mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore! Are you?
Not only was she “curating” this content for her blog, she was tweeting is as her content, she has it set up through RSS Graffiti to populate her companies Facebook page. You tell me, does it look like this post was written and published by HubSpot?
I contacted HubSpot and Mashable to let them know about it. Mashable has an extensive page for reprint permission and I couldn’t find HubSpot’s republication guidelines.
So the cautionary tale for you?
- Check all the pingbacks to your blog.
- Learn about copyright infringement. There are resources! This is very clear text on Plagiarism.Org.
- Have clear republication guidelines on your blog.
- Don’t let people get away with stealing your content or other people’s content!
I am as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore! Are you with me?
Some notes on copyright infringement:
Here is some information from Google on Blogger Copyright Tips. I love this part: “The way to ensure that your blog doesn’t infringe someone else’s copyright is to use your skills and imagination to create something completely original. If it’s all yours, you never have to worry about the copyright—you own it! If you want to republish content from another author or creator, make sure to get their authorization first.”
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Featured image courtesy of Alva Chien via Creative Commons.