Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Copyright and My Cat

The other day, I was searching the Internet for something completely unrelated to diabetes and stumbled upon a posting that looked strangely familiar because it was actually MY 2006 Year-End Annual Review on developments on diabetes, except that none of the links I had in the original post were included, nor was there any acknowledgement or attribution of me as the author or even my blog address.

After investigating further, I discovered at least a half dozen of my other postings had been lifted, again without the links, pictures or attribution. That probably wouldn't have bothered me too much since I discovered that the site was registered to someone in Thailand (although the domain was registered with Yahoo! in the U.S. and hosted by a server in Texas) but what really got me mad was the fact that they lifted my post about my cat Phyllis and didn't even have the courtesy to include her picture!


Anyway, that brought me back to Amy Tenderich's post on the same issue and her recommendations on how to deal with this increasingly annoying problem. I would like to add a few simple, but useful steps. I would add that including some language on your blog about content rights likely helps your position should someone steal your work!

1. First, if you discover one of your posts somewhere online, identify the company that has registered the domain name where the copied post appears. This can easily be done at WHOIS.net. Note that this identifies only what company actually handled the registration of the site in question, not necessarily the company that hosts the site -- sometimes they are the same, but not always. Make note of the information listed -- it may be easiest to print a copy for reference.

2. Next, confirm the company that HOSTS the site in question. After some trial and error on my part, I discovered that you may conduct a domain name lookup at the following site, http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp, which enables you to locate the site administrator or host. Again, copy or print the information you find there.

3. Finally, write a letter citing the copyright infringement. Amy recommended filing what is known as a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation notice, which protects intellectual property and injured parties can file a detailed complaint for review by the web host. If the host does detect copyright infringement, they will issue a warning and can even shut down the offending site if necessary. As Amy recommended, I used the sample provided as my template. Include the web address of the offending site, as well as the site with your post, and send it to the HOST identified in step 2. There should be a mailing address, adminstrator, fax and e-mail address which you may use. I sent both an e-mail complaint, and a fax copy with my written signature just to make sure it gets to their lawyers.

If I have any further updates on this issue, I'll post them, but I hope this additional information saves you time and effort if this ever happens to you!

1 comment:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Dude, that freakin' sucks. Big time. Very frustrating.