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Blog Scrapers

I appreciate what you are saying about flattery, but this is pure theft of intellectual property. Blog scrapers are the worst of the worst. Even though this appears to be a manual version of blog scraping (Click my link for more on blog scraping) and it appears they have vainly attempted to couch their theft as fair use commentary, this is not fair use. This is copyright infringement.

http://blog.bretttrout.com/2007/06/blog-scraping-and-online-plagiarism.html

So where is the harm? Well, first there is the harm to you. They are generating revenue from the fruits of your labor. Even if you do not see a drop in revenue now, what if things really take off for you? Are you going to care when you are trying to syndicate and all of the potential buyers balk because the subscribers can get it for free from this guy? What are you going to do when the infringer says “Well even if it was an infringement, they knew about it and let it happen. Based upon that, I dumped $20,000 more into my project and they are now estopped from trying to get me to cease infringing”?

Moreover, how are you going to tell the next ten people who steal your stuff to stop? They are going to point to this post as Exhibit “A” stating that you gave them an implied license to do whatever they wanted with your stuff. They will argue that since they invested in reliance upon that license, you can not retract it. See what you get from trying to be a nice guy? It happens all of the time.

So on the one hand it is bad for you and will only get worse. On the other hand, it is bad for all of us other bloggers when artists like you accept this as how blogs should be treated. It makes it tougher for me to stop people from stealing my content. Well, not really because I am a 6?4? 250 pound, over-caffeinated (can you tell), cage-fighting overly agitated attorney, but for most other bloggers it is a problem.

What we make is valuable. At the very least we should have some say in how it is used. You absolutely need to stop this guy. How? I would opt for a copyright registration and a cease and desist letter, rather than a flood of complaints. The first costs him money, while the second makes him money. The flood of complaints will just start a don’t-throw-me-in-the-briar-patch colloquy. With the cease and desist letter, we might try to post it on his blog to try to garner interest, but the cost of defending a federal copyright lawsuit will tire him very quickly.

While you might not think about bringing out the big guns on a gnat, it is much better than waiting for the 800lb gorilla for a couple reasons. First, you will have all of your ducks already in a row. Second, is the 800lb gorilla more likely to steal from the guy who tells everyone he backs down to a gnat? Or is he more likely to steal from the guy that needs a brass scraper to peel that gnat off his windshield after hitting him so hard?

If you do a good job here, who knows, I am still looking for a 38 Regular to fill out the Creative Commons Boy outfit.

Brett

Posted in Copyright Law. Tagged with , , , , , .