Reprinting Our Content, Again

By Deane Barker on June 25, 2007

Similar to a situation of a couple years ago, I’ve found another Web site that’s reproducing selected Gadgetopia articles in full, and surrounding them with ads. In no case does this site discuss my posts or write any original posts of their own, they just take some Gadgetopia posts from my RSS feed (and posts from other sites), and put them on their site, amidst a ton of ads.

To add insult to injury, when there’s an image, they don’t even save the image on their own servers. They just hotlink to my image, stealing both my bandwidth and my content. (Yes, I know, there’s an opportunity here to make a point. Goatse (SFW) has been notified and is standing by.)

I contacted the site at their posted email address and asked them exactly what they’re doing. The email bounced.

I’m pretty sure I know what they would say anyway: “We’re just aggregating technology news for our readers, like anyone else.” Yeah, maybe, but there’s a fine line that was crossed they they started re-printing entire posts. They stepped even further over it when they hotlinked images.

They do provide a link back to my site with each article, but that’s a completely empty gesture since, again, they publish the entire content of each post. Why would someone link through?

I’ve never charged for Gadgetopia content, and I’ve always been adamant about putting the entire post in the RSS feed. Given that, can I really complain here? I essentially give content away anyway and make it as easy as possible to read it without advertising, so should I be offended when someone starts putting ads around it?

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Comments

  1. Of course you should be offended. Someone else is making money off of your sweat. Why don’t you start by putting this all under the right Creative Commons License — that way you can give it away and still assert your rights not to have others reproduce it in a commercial context.

  2. Why don?t you start by putting this all under the right Creative Commons License

    Good call. I always meant to do that. I need to move that up the priority list.

  3. A friend of mine recently stumbled on flashenabled.wordpress.com which does the exact same thing, except for Flash/ActiveScript stuff. They at least “attribute” it by putting a header of “blah said:” but after that it’s just showing the entire entry (sometimes not even formatted, so it may even be straight copy/paste). Naturally the page is filled with ads and “Click here to vote for me” links.

    I’ve reported them as spam to wordpress and have left comments on the original entry’s site.

    –Josh

  4. I discovered the exact same thing this last weekend; two sites that have some of the content from my personal blog duplicated exactly, with the images hotlinked back to my site. Again, there is a link back to my site, but it just seems strange.

    I did a WHOIS on the domains in question, and they’re both run by the same guy, in Romania. Any bets on whether it’s the same guy running the Gadgetopia posts?

  5. If you’re worried about them printing the whole article then maybe you should be using the “Description” element of the feed to provide only a summary of the page/article as do many other RSS providers (BBC,CNN).

    That said how do you feel about this usage of your feed, I have one page in which I have many iframes this requests a page ( which isn’t protected behind a login at this time ) that looks for an rss url request parameter and then just chunters over the feed spewing it out for my quick reading ? ? Currently I have 14 feeds (one of which is yours) embedded in my one page, I’ve gotten so used to this that most RSS aggregators seem to slow and cumbersome for my liking, I did initially set it up so everyone in my company could use it but it appears that I am the only one that likes it

  6. If you’re worried about them printing the whole article then maybe you should be using the ?Description? element of the feed to provide only a summary of the page/article as do many other RSS providers (BBC,CNN).

    No, I want to provide the full content in the feed. It’s a principle of mine.

  7. Any bets on whether it?s the same guy running the Gadgetopia posts?

    No, this group is out of Toronto. All emails bounce, and the domain on the WHOIS record goes nowhere.

  8. I would think that if you knew the IP address, you could block that site from accessing your content with .htaccess. That should prevent them from reprinting your content. Alternately, you could create a summary RSS feed that gets served only to them.

  9. Hi,

    Just want to tell you one thing Josh, when i inserted a full article of other blog, i’ve credit the author of the post, as also linked to the original post. Moreover, i just start blogging a few time ago. One of the things you said, it was that i was doing that cause i wanna to have a better page rank. My pagerank is 7, so i don’t need better than that. Also, if you read the about page o my blog, i say that the blog it’s like a library to me. If i inserted the full post content of other blog, it’s because when i make a search on mine for something i need at that time, it will be easier to find the related issue. Not more than that,i got no other reason to do it. Of course, after i’ve received the e-mail from the blog’s author, i have promptly deleted the post as per his request, and i’ve sent to him an e-mail reply as also posted on his blog, After that the author decided to delete my comment. But it’s ok. I can tell you that after all this confusion i’ve realized that there are some rules that we must follow when posting content, even if it is free content, and i’ve been following it strictly.

    Just one more thing Josh, when you wrote the flashenabled address, at least you could used the href, So i could noticed this article at the time you have commented. But it’s ok… i understand you.

    Brgds, CP

  10. Isn’t this simply a clear case of copyright infringement? And, although I don’t think this is like trademarks, where if you don’t protect them you lose them, it might be a good idea to take some legal action. Your blog posts are your copyrighted material, and it’s illegal and unethical to steal them. Even under fair use (and a legitimate definition of fair use, which is scholarly work, etc.), posting your entire article isn’t legitimate.

    The fact that you put the entire thing in your RSS feed doesn’t provide a license for someone else to publish it, regardless of whether or not they’re making money off of it. The fact that they ARE making money (presumably) just gives you a material reason to sue them.

  11. It could be an excellent source of link popularity, Deane. Make sure your static posts have a URL back to the same page in the tag. All the content that is lifted will have that heading tag linked back to the original content.

  12. Deane says there are 1,000+ posts lifted. That’s 1,000+ links back (with appropriate anchor text, might I add) to Gadgetopia. The content is published to Gadgetopia first and then the scrapper site is posting the content afterwards. Duplicate content filters will pick up on where the post actually resides and where it has been posted first.

    1,000 links to Gadgetopia is much more valuable then his stolen content sitting in supplementary results.

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