is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?

it's been a VERY long time since i've run into someone lifting content or design direct from my blog. it seems as though "blogging etiquette" has reached a semi-mature state where people attribute, link back to, or somehow acknowledge that not all the content they display is of their own finding. granted, most of us don't do it for every little thing we see and re-blog, but by and large, as a member of this community, we all do our best to give credit where credit is due.

so what do you do when you find someone has lifted content direct from your blog? headline, images, copy and all? your post, your efforts, living elsewhere with no attribution to the work you've done. suddenly the sense of sharing, innovating, and inspiring is lost to a sense of creative theft. a thief in a community where there are no locks on the doors, just a common sense of decency among the masses.

yes, perhaps imitation is the sincerest from of flattery. but aren't imitating and copying two different things? how do you deal with someone copying your content - not just items you've found, but what you've written, images you've edited, etc, and passing it on as their own?


Amanda said...

Oh Natalie, I just saw this in my reader and had to comment. How awful - who is stealing your content? You can file a DMCA complaint for copyright infringement if you're so inclined. Amazing that people still think that is okay - is it really that hard to write a sentence or two about something versus stealing what someone else wrote? Sorry - hope it stops soon!

Jane Flanagan said...

This has happened to me too... so horrible, especially when the post is a personal one (which it was).

I think the rule of thumb is to contact the blogger directly, tell them they're violating copyright and that they must remove all offending posts within 24 hours.

If they ignore that, copyright whoever hosts their blog and get it shut down. Sounds brutal, but I don't think there should be any mercy when it comes to plagiarism. And - to be clear - it isn't imitation when it's plagiarism.

Hope you get to the bottom of it!

sfgirlbybay said...

hi natalie,

usually when this happens, i email the person and ask nicely if they are aware of 'blogger etiquette'. if they don't respond and continue to copy, i comment on their posts asking them to link back to my post. that usually stops it.

sometimes people are unaware of how the community works, so i try to let them know as gracefully as possible.

i hope that helps!

natalie shahmiri. said...

thanks ladies! i tried the commenting approach, but the comments are moderated, so no luck there. perhaps an email and possibly contacting their hosting service is in order. i can only imagine the number of other blogs having their content lifted to this site too. such a bummer!

TokyoBunnie said...

Ugh... content stealing is such a bummer. I agree with the posts above- I always try to contact the person first and give them a chance to make it right. When that fails, I talk about it on my blog and twitter so at least the search engines pick it up.

As far as pursuing copyrights- I've learned from experience that it's basically just a license to sue, and even then it's hard to win anything.

At this point, I'd just make the copying public, and move on. It's no fun, but you might just have to leave it up to karma...

Leslie said...

WOWSA. Hope you were able to sort it out!

JESS said...

Oh my god - this is terrible! If nothing works, I agree with Courtney, you should make it public. If anything, you'd spark a little army of dissenters... us. :) i mean, >:(

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