Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why Prairie Bluestem Has a Short Feed Again

Genevieve vs. the thieves

I'm reluctantly reverting to a "short feed" for Prairie Bluestem. Subscribers will see that this post is cut short. To read the rest, you'll have to click back to the blog. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Let me explain. Just in the last few days, I found an Australian website that is republishing every Prairie Bluestem article I write. It's going to be a duplicate of my blog if they carry on. I also found a Russian website that was translating my Tree Notes blog feed to Russian and using the articles as their own.

I think the German web host of the Russian website has taken down the stolen Tree Notes articles -- possibly the entire website. (I get an error message when I try to go there.) I sent the web host a detailed, formal complaint about copyright infringement after getting no response from the Russian website. Investigating the theft, finding the web host, and compiling the complaints took five or six hours over a couple of nights.

I've spent nearly that much time trying to get the Australian website to take down the Prairie Bluestem articles they have posted. So far, no success. They are "investigating". I've written to their web host who is also "investigating." So, until the Prairie Bluestem feed is removed from their site, the feed will be truncated. They may publish it, but they'll only get an excerpt.

I wish I could say these are unusual incidents, but they're not. These are just the latest skirmishes in a long war with content thieves. Honestly, it makes me wonder if the "full feed" is worth the time and effort it takes to retain ownership of the content. I am interested in the thoughts of others on this topic -- both bloggers and readers. What do you think?

It really makes the smoke come out of my ears when I see my photographs and articles republished on another website. Invariably, every article is surrounded with ads. Thieves are jerks who don't want to work, and internet thieves are no different than the rest of the sorry lot. They steal content to bring search-engine users to their ad-heavy pages, because they don't want to do the work to create their own content.

How do I detect thefts like these?

A copyright statement is inserted automatically at the end of every blog post as it goes into the feed. (In Blogger, go to Settings >> Site Feed.) The copyright statement contains some distinctive words -- my name, the blog name, the blog address, and my e-mail address. I have a Google Alert set for each of these distinctive words. When they appear somewhere on the web, Google sends me an e-mail with the URL.

And now, something to balance the yin and yang of this post--

Isn't that a beautiful place? It's Eagle Falls, at Cumberland Falls State Park in southeastern Kentucky. Eagle Falls is about a mile from Cumberland Falls. Isaac didn't have any trouble with the climb up the hillside, but it was a fairly strenuous hike for me. He and I went camping at Cumberland Falls several years ago, when Dennis was still in Iraq. We really enjoyed that little excursion.


GardenofDaisies said...

They actually copy your blog? Wow, I have never heard of such a thing! Thanks for telling us about this.

Sarabeth said...

You are worth the click to read. I hope you get the theives to take it down quickly.

Genevieve said...

If you are publishing a full feed of blog posts that search engines find (that is, if you regularly surpass the "I'm doing laundry tomorrow" type of posts), I can almost promise that someone is "scraping" the feed and republishing it somewhere.

Sometimes they run links to their own site with it, to improve their placement in search engines.

Plagiarism Today by Jonathan Bailey is a very good site for information about copyright theft. See the article "DMCA Takedown 101" for a good summary of how to get your stuff removed from someone else's site -- sometimes, anyhow.

RunAwayImagination said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I always enjoy reading your posts and look forward to a resumption of your full-featured blog.


Thanks for this information. I plan to be more aware of this by using your good suggestions-- barbara

Genevieve said...

Cautious optimism here. I just visited the Australian website for the umpteenth time today, and this time I got a "404" error (Page not found.)

So I'll be checking back over the next few days, but I think maybe it's been taken down.

I guess I won't have to call in that favor Hillary Clinton owes me after all. ;)

Thanks for the good wishes, everyone, both here and by e-mail.

Genevieve said...

Barbara, if you publish your feed through a feed service like Feedburner (Google's feed service), it also warns you when there are "Uncommon Uses" of your feed. Feedburner flagged both the Russian and Australian websites in big red letters on my Feedburner homepage after I had been visiting those sites again and again, creating lots of traffic. However, I first learned of them through Google Alerts.

John Ruberry said...


Collagemama said...

Wow. Thanks for the information.

Laura said...

I've been to Eagle Falls! Lovely place! My friends and I waded in the water, and I sat on a stone just out of the river's current, toes in the water. We could feel fish or minnows or something fluttering around our legs in the water. We weren't in the little cove area of the falls because we saw a couple snakes sunning on the rocks closest to the falls. :)

Marisa said...

That's interesting! Good to know. Though I am very anti-plagiarism, evidently they liked your writing enough to pass it on...I guess that is a sort-of compliment, even if it IS theft! I'm sorry you've had to go through all that!

Genevieve said...

I have been too busy and too tired to follow up with a cease and desist to this latest guy. Maybe I will get him identified and tracked down this week, if my life ever calms down.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.