Content Stealing Scumbags

Well, my low opinion of humans in general was reinforced several times this week. The first incident was my first significant experience with straight-up content theft. Anyone who has read a lot of my posts will know I have a fairly liberal attitude to copyright. I am more than happy for people to use my content on their site with the appropriate acknowledgement and link back to this blog. The more my stuff gets out there the happier I will be.

You have to do a combination of very specific things to piss me off on this front and this week someone perpetrated the perfect combination of everything I regard as the worst possible behaviour. They stole an entire post. There was no commentary or additional contribution from them. There was no link back to my blog or attribution of the source. And all of this was on a site plastered with advertising. In other words, they stole my work for their own personal commercial gain. Or put another way; they were slimy, miserable worthless fuckers.

Oh, and on top of that, THEY WERE DUMB AS SHIT!

As Tom put it, why would they steal something that was free? The full story: the post in question was the one about my voicemail prank. In the post, I included a grab from Tom’s Pigeon Weather blog that was the inspiration for my post with a link to the source (see kids? that’s how you do it!) The losers who stole just did a complete copy and paste which picked up the link to Tom’s blog. Tom got a referral from this in his site log and followed it back to check out the site. There he discovered the wholesale theft being perpetrated and tipped me off.

I politely suggested (seriously, I was quite polite) that these dumb fucks provide an attribution if they were going to steal my stuff. They took it down altogether and put up same lame comment along the lines of how it wasn’t funny in the first place. That’s their call, they didn’t have to take it down. I specifically said taking it down wasn’t necessary, if they provided a proper link and attribution I’d be a lot less pissed off. Truth is, I think they realised what a seriously fucking stupid thing this was to do and they panicked because they thought I was coming after them.

One of the things that made them really dumb was that they were using my work to make money without my permission which did give me a legal avenue if I wanted to go after them. What made them really dumb was that they were doing this on a Blogspot hosted blog. Now I didn’t read the terms and conditions of use (who does) but I’m pretty sure there’d be something in there about this sort of behaviour getting you shut down pretty damn sharp-like. And on the off chance they had been making money they would have lost everything and had no grounds for recourse. I’m pretty sure this was the alarm bell that made them react so quickly.

Quite a while ago, a full-on splog used some of my content. I found out because they provided a link to my blog. When I checked it out, the entire content of the splog was snippets of content from other blogs with links back to the source material. All surround by masses of Adsense ads. A pretty shitty way to earn a living in my book but I figured, hey, another link, another step up the Technorati rankings. So I’m serious, provide a link back and I’ll let you get away with making money from my blog.

For those interested in such things, here’s my recommended behaviour:

Links: it’s all fair with linking in my book. If it’s online you can link to it. I know some companies (and probably some individuals) get their knickers in a knot over this but what they should get is a fucking clue. Take it offline if you don’t want people to link to it. Don’t try to break one of the fundamental pieces of web architecture.

Small bits of content with no links: this is rude, don’t do it. If you are going to quote someone else, it’s good form to link to the source. If you do this all the time (use small bits of other people’s content without links) expect to be very unpopular.

Small bits of content with links: using someone else as inspiration and building on it or responding to it is A-OK. In fact, in my humble opinion, this is the basis of the web in general and blogging in particular.

Whole posts, including a link back to the source: doing this without adding any value is bad form in my book. It really is trying to cash in on someone else’s work/creativity. If you do this, I’d call you lame but I wouldn’t call you a criminal.

Wholesale content theft without attribution: I think I described my opinion of this adequately above 🙂

Any of this is made worse (morally in my mind and, I suspect, legally) if you are doing it for commercial gain. You might make some short term gain but I really think that anyone who dishonestly makes money off other people’s work will be shut down before too long. The nimrods who stole my stuff are lucky they responded because I had a revenge plan all thought out. If they wouldn’t be fair regarding my stuff OR if I found a pattern of content theft on their site I was going to put my revenge plan into action. If I saw they were making their whole site out of stolen content, I would have gone after them whether or not they took my stuff down.

To tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed I didn’t get to put my master revenge plan into action. If they had been stealing other content I was going to publicise them on Digg etc. with a heading along the lines of “Is this site stealing your content? They’re stealing everyone else’s.” Nothing like a bunch of angry nerds to bring down some frontier justice – internet style.

Another moment of “people are morons” zen for me was when I put Mr Angry Uncut up on YouTube. For those of you who have never looked at my videos on YouTube, they aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. On average, they score a couple of hundred views over a couple of weeks. I haven’t really worked out how to promote myself on YouTube, not honestly, anyway. Hence the nekkid lady embedded in the middle of the uncut video. Oh, and I used the following description:

Behind-the-scenes raw uncut action! The stuff you were never meant to see! It doesn’t get hotter than this.”

Which from a certain point of view is not a totally untrue way to look at the video. Okay it’s utter bullshit. But would the YouTube viewers be stupid enough to fall for it? Ummmm, only about 8,000 of them in the first 24 hours. Goddammit why can’t these sad sacks look at some real videos instead of spending their whole lives sniffing out porn? I hate being right sometimes.

The internet really is fucked. I still want to be a cyberstar though.



Filed under Internet, Video Blogging

12 responses to “Content Stealing Scumbags

  1. On the YouTube thing, here’s how you can go about it:
    have a Captain Cook for a ‘famous’ video that is relevant- in your mind- to one of your videos. Post your video as a response. Even if it isn’t approved, you will still be legitimately sliptstreaming their hugely popular video. It’s simple, it’s effective and it’s right. I’ve been on the Tube for three weeks and I’m heading towards 100,000 views and 300 subscribers.
    I’m not saying this to wank off. As is see it, you
    subscribed to my YouTube channel precisely because of my rat-cunning plan. Close the circle Sir!

  2. I often wonder if people who lift content and don’t give any attribution might just be ignorant of the general rules and conduct for this sort of thing. I mean, it doesn’t seem so far flung to me that someone who’s never been to uni might not know about how to cite a source, etc. (that’s where I learned). Of course on the other side of the coin you’ve got the very educated who quite knowingly and cunningly steal…
    By the way, I’ve stolen an idea from you and have started posting at both Blogspot and WordPress. I’m looking for a hack to embed YouTube into WP, so I’ll be glancing at your code to see how you did it. Hope you don’t mind me looking up your skirt! (Oh, and I have no plan to do my own vlog!)

  3. Sean: thanks for the tip! Aussies to take over youtube! Woo!

    Kyklops: Often it’s ignorance – these fuckers were thieves. Look on WP help for the code or look here: just put in the line

  4. That’s a good tip from Sean. I’m taking a note on it too. Yeah, I found a site like that too, called bike or something like that. Sucked ass.

  5. How about I just come kick some ass? Dirty bastards stealing your stuff!!!

  6. Reminds me of the time someone ran an ebay auction for a phone, and linked to my photos of the same model that I had taken for a review on one of my sites.

    Wonder how well his auction went once I updated his photos for him?

  7. It seems hard to believe that someone wouldn’t understand that it’s not quite right to publish someone else’s content without linking it or attributing it, and not even saying “this is what someone else wrote”, I mean if you just put it up there the assumption is that it’s yours.

  8. Salamaat,
    that freaks me out Mr. Angry…i don’t know how i will react if i saw someone just straight up stealing my stuff to make money!

    well first i will tell them to hand it over of course, then kick their butts…


    i hate jerks.

  9. Paul Brown

    Robert – words fail me when I attempt to describe just how fucking funny that is. Please administer several pats on the back to yourself on my behalf.

    Mr Angry – I’m gutted; I watched all the other videos on the asme page and they were just porn. It wasn’t even angry porn. That just sucks.

  10. Range: there are probably thousands of sites doing it, they plain suck

    Sandra: if I find one in Texas, I’ll give their address 😀

    Robert: Niiiiice

    Michelle: Most of them know exactly what they’re doing – they’re dishonest thieving scumbags

    Maliha: When you have as low an opinion of humanity as I do, you are never surprised

    Paul: Yeah, the saddoes seem to be the majority on YouTube.

  11. First off, I’m sorry to hear about your recent content theft issues but I am glad that they were resolved. Sadly though, I can promise you that it’ll come up again and, most likely, soon. I’ve dealt with over 400 incidents of plagiarism on my other sites and have actually got this issue down to a science.

    If there’s anything that I can do to help you, please let me know. I’ll gladly help any way that I can.

    Hope that you are well.

  12. Thanks Jonathan, help is always appreciated.

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