Copyright thieves

Over the past few weeks, I have had to fire off an increasing number of notices to other websites who choose to reprint my blog posts or photos without bothering to ask me for permission first.

Now, as it happens, most of my photos are already available for use free of charge by non-commercial websites under a Creative Commons license. It is easy to check if a specific photo is available for reuse by checking the details on the Flickr website where I host them.

However, I do not release the blog posts for reuse, and certainly not – as happened last week – for someone to edit the content to make it sound as if they were the author, not me.

Frankly, I am getting a bit annoyed – as it takes time to chase down these idiots and when they do remove my content, they never apologise for their antics.

If it was just a silly scraper site reprinting my RSS feed, I doubt I would worry, but these are people picking what are (I think), usually my best blog posts – so there is a human editor making a conscious decision to steal other people’s writings and photos. That’s is not on.

In future, if you want to reprint my content, just ask me. If your cause if good, I might say yes.

Named and shamed

Thanks to Annie Mole and others who send me emails letting me know when my content appears where it shouldn’t be.

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

Posted in rants
7 comments on “Copyright thieves
  1. katherine says:

    Neat! I haven’t tried the name and shame tactic but looks good. I usually just send an takedown notice email to them saying that the next email will be to Google and their ISP – and that the site make get taken down as a result of copyright infringement. 100% success rate to date

  2. Mike Peel says:

    Can I be pedantic, and point out that it’s copyright _infringers_ not thieves. The difference being: thieves take something from you, but infringing your copyright doesn’t take that copyright from you. It’s also the difference between criminal (thieving) and civil (infringing) law.

    That said, you have my sympathy; it’s never nice when this happens. Most of my works are under CC-BY-SA, so all they have to do is attribute me and share derivatives under the same license, yet I still find people infringing them. People just don’t seem to care about other people’s rights nowadays. :-/

  3. Bonsai says:

    Dear pedant, myself and many others will carry on calling people who use without permission someone elses work a ‘thief’.
    I fact it is adding constant insult to injury when people insist that copyright theft is somehow different because ‘nothing is taken away’, when in fact, as your own examples illustrate, the main benefit of copyright, i.e. your control over publication has been taken.

    Just like ‘anti-social behaviour’ is often just a nicer word for violent abuse, planned cynical ‘infringement’ as described above is simply theft, whether the law agrees or not.

  4. Ronnie says:

    Cant you add a bit of basic html code to stop right click copying, might prevent some of them from copying the blogs. Threaten court action as well. :)

  5. Lynn says:

    As a fellow content-creator, I’d like to know how you found these infringers; do you use Google Alerts? How would that work for photos?

    • IanVisits says:

      I don’t pro-actively track the issue. It usually emerges when someone sends me an email or I notice when researching something that my own content is appearing on other websites.

  6. Nigel says:

    Ian, I entirely concur with what you say. I’ve found in almost 95% of applications that the originator will nearly always permit copy or publication of his work or article, it’s just common courtesy and decent kindness to acknowledge his or her work or photo, anyway what’s the harm in asking?


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