Monday, January 11, 2010

Blog Theft Part 2: A Learning Experience

robbed Thank you so much for the help and support you gave me about my blog theft. I started to name everyone who has commented on this blog, plurk, twitter, and facebook but there were so many, it took up half the page so I decided against it. So many of you have given me great suggestions and even went so far as to help investigate the perpetrators. Please read on to see the suggestions from Richard, the response from Hostgator, and at the end, my own response.

Here are some details that Richard was so kind to share with me. I also want to thank some others who had sent some of the same information also but his added comments also helped me and I think others would benefit from this information too.

“1. Try to determine if the person is doing it maliciously or innocently. This is important because it influences how I take my next steps. Determining this can be tricky, but generally if the blog reusing your content doesn't allow comments, uses a lot of inappropriate advertising, or uses a proxy server to register their domain they are intentionally stealing your content. In some of my cases I've had teachers/ principals reuse my content innocently because they didn't understand fair use.”
2. Run a WHOIS search using
Go Daddy (or other sites according to another email from Richard)) to see who has registered the domain. In your case the person used a proxy to hide their contact information. Legitimate bloggers don't use a proxy for registering domains. When there isn't a proxy in place it's easy to locate the contact information for the person who registered the domain.”
3. If you can't get a response from step 2, do what you've done. Publicly "out" the content thief. I've only once had to do this, but it was effective. My content was removed from the blog thief’s page.”

Hostgator response to my email:

“To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon (for example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on") or other information sufficient to specify the copyrighted work being infringed (for example, "The copyrighted work at issue is “Intellectual Property: Valuation, Exploitation, and Infringement Damages” by Gordon V. Smith, published by Wiley, ISBN #047168323X").

2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above. You must identify each web page that allegedly contains infringing material. This requires you to provide the URL for each allegedly infringing result, document, or item.

An example:

Infringing Web Pages:

3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit us to contact you.

4. Provide information, if possible, sufficient to permit us to notify the owner/administrator of the allegedly infringing webpage or other content (email address is preferred).

5. Include the following statement: "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."

6. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

7. Sign the paper.

8. If via postal mail, send the written communication to the following address:

HostGator LLC

Attn: Abuse Department, DMCA Complaint

11251 Northwest Freeway, Suite 400

Houston, TX 77092

United States of America

OR fax to:

(281) 476-7801, Attn: Abuse Department, DMCA Complaint

Regardless of whether we may be liable for such infringement under local country law or United States law, we may respond to these notices by removing or disabling access to material claimed to infringe and/or terminating users of our services. If we remove or disable access in response to such a notice, we will make a good-faith attempt to contact the owner or administrator of the affected site or content so that the owner or administrator may make a counter notification.

We may also document notices of alleged infringement on which we act. As with all legal notices, a copy of the notice may be made available to the public and sent to one or more third parties who may make it available to the public.

In order to ensure that copyright owners do not wrongly insist on the removal of materials that actually do not infringe their copyrights, the safe harbor provisions require service providers to notify the subscribers if their materials have been removed and to provide them with an opportunity to send a written notice to the service provider stating that the material has been wrongly removed. [512(g)]

If a subscriber provides a proper "counter-notice" claiming that the material does not infringe copyrights, the service provider must then promptly notify the claiming party of the individual's objection. [512(g)(2)] If the copyright owner does not bring a lawsuit in district court within 14 days, the service provider is then required to restore the material to its location on its network. [512(g)(2)(C)]

If it is determined that the copyright holder misrepresented its claim regarding the infringing material, the copyright holder then becomes liable to the OSP for any damages that resulted from the improper removal of the material. [512(f)]”

My thoughts and response:

After talking this over with my husband and reading the many responses I had about this, I have decided to let it go. I know that by doing this, I’m letting someone get away with stealing my stuff, but life is too short to let this blip control my life and emotions. I feel energized and inspired by the people who encouraged me to continue writing so I will keep plodding on. I realize that I was not losing any money, and this thief was not making any money from my posts so I really was not “damaged” financially, other than my feelings were hurt and I felt violated.

Yet, I learned so much from this experience. I learned that I have many friends out there who shared this hurt and were so willing to help me. I learned that many people value what I’m writing which I guess was surprising to me. I learned that obviously someone/something felt I had written something of value if it was worth stealing. I learned that blogging fulfills a need that I have to share my experience and knowledge and no one can steal that feeling from me unless I let them.

So, there aren’t words that express my appreciation to all of you who have read my blog, sent your prayers my way, and went out of the way to offer help. Thank you!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'And then, our train was robbed.' by: Joe Philipson


Mr. Byrne said...

I think you came to a conclusion that many of us in the same situation have struggled with. I think the important thing to note here is that, as you pointed out, you weren't losing any money and the other person wasn't earning any money. If the other person was earning money from your work or you were losing money I might urge you to pursue the case.

The Book Chook said...

I just came by to say I totally understand and respect your decision.

I love being part of the blogging world. Yes, there's a downside like content thieves. But as you pointed out, Pat, there is a wonderful benefit as well - knowing that your community appreciates and supports you, wherever in the world they are.

Pretty darn cool, I say!

loonyhiker said...

@Mr.Byrne I am letting it go but when I think about it, it still irks me that someone gets away with this. So, I will stop thinking about it. :)

loonyhiker said...

@TheBookChook I think I'm hooked on blogging! :)