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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dealing with Stolen Material

I haven't posted anything in the last couple of days because I've been dealing with a person who has decided to create an automatic RSS feed into his blog of food blogs around the blogosphere without attribution. I actually stumbled across one of my own posts through a trackback in another blog's comments section, and it took a couple of days to track the guy down and take care of the issue because his email address was bogus and his web server was difficult to track down. Little did he know that one of my superpowers is that I can find almost anything on the web... ;-)

It was quite disconcerting to see my post on someone else's blog, I can tell you! So now, I'm adding a footer to all of my posts to avoid these problems in the future. I was going to encourage you all to check out his blog to make sure that you weren't on it, but I think I convinced him to take it down because it's not there anymore.

His excuse? He "didn't know" it was copyright infringement. Right.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://mindysmouthful.blogspot.com, then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at mindysmouthful (AT) gmail (DOT) com. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations and property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2008-2009 Mindy's Mouthful


Shirley March 12, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

I spent a couple of hours last night trying to register for a copyright but had so much trouble with the site that I gave up. I'm going to try again today.

It never entered my mind that someone could just steal my stuff by creating an automatic RSS.

There's really nothing stopping this guy from creating another blog and doing it all over again. Other than just stumbling across something like this, is there any way to find out? I guess you could google your blog titles or phrases to see what comes up but that could take forever to check every one out.

Mindy March 12, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

I'm not exactly sure if there's a way to find out other than randomly searching for select quotes from your posts, but I think that a lot of them use a RSS feed, so you would only probably need to do a single search.

Here's an article I found that might be useful: http://www.lostartofblogging.com/protect-your-blog-and-counter-copyright-thefts. I haven't gone through all of the links he suggests yet, but might be worth taking a look.

With blogger, you can put in a "signature" of sorts that will always be put into every post, and that's basically what I did, so that at least if they're stealing my content, there's something that directs a reader to my actual work.

Mindy March 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM  

Okay, so now I've found a couple of other things regarding how to "copyright" your RSS feeds and how to automatically fish for infringements.

The first is that Wordpress actually has a copyright plugin (just google that phrase, and you'll find it). But Blogger, which I'm on, does not. However, I found the place in "Settings" under "Site Feed" where you can put a site feed footer in. So I put what I wrote in the footer of this post, and hopefully that will make my posts less clunky on the site itself, but will add what I need to the RSS bots. (If any of you receive my posts in a feed, would you let me know if this is working?)

Second thing is that you can set up an automatic monitor of the web for certain phrases through Google Alerts, so you could put in a distinctive phrase from your blog and just let Google do the work for you. They'll email you if something comes up. I would imagine you'd want to update the phrase every so often, though, so that new sites that start stealing content can be caught.

Sue March 12, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

People can be such pigs. Just wait until they steal your pictures!!!That was good that you took the time to deal with it.

People DO sometimes think that if it's on the web it's theirs for the taking. I don't even like it when people SAY whose recipe it is and reprint it without permission. If I'm talking about a recipe that isn't mine, I either provide a link (if there is one) or invite folks to email me for it.

Mindy March 12, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

Oh, he was taking pictures too! There were 299 posts within about 10 days that he stole from around the web, including text, photos, everything.

I use other people's recipes all the time, but I make sure to display it prominently and with a link back to their post if they have one, and I already feel bad enough about that...I can't really imagine what he was getting out of it since he didn't have any advertising or other money-making devices on the site.

Lori March 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM  

Thanks for sharing about this. I read another blog that was having problems too. Appreciate all the helpful info you have shared.

Chef E March 16, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

OH noooo, I have a 'stalker' who has decided they are blog police and lets me know when I have a misspelled word, and I do this for fun right?

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