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Blog Content Theft Answers

Blog content theft was always going to be a big issue. The utility of deploying search advertising only amplifies the problem by enabling plagerists and thieves to remarket content within their own commercial framework. I’m not talking about inserting the odd paragraph or extrapolating content in a different context – I’m talking about making off with a bloggers content in its entirety. So what to do?

I’m not sure but here are some thoughts that need qualifying and more discussion:

  1. Make all content available under Creative Commons and then work to enforce it.
  2. Collectively we lobby Google and Yahoo to protect IP by taking action against those who abuse it. Based on Google’s intent to do pretty much the same with books this would appear to be unlikely to work.
  3. Support the evolution new tools like Copyscape into IP-address blocking tools that enable you to start to protect content by stopping those addresses from coming to your site. I know this won’t really work now, but we need to spur and encourage technology innovation here.
  4. Collectively harrass the thieves. Lets create a black-list and make people aware of their infringements on our IP.
Part of me also says that the ecosystem depends on sharing – and sharing of content implies a certain amount of recycling of content. But it is wrong when that occurs without any new contextual framing, linking or value add to the orginal content creator. It’s worse than plagerism – it is theft.

What these companies are missing is the opportunity to grow the ecosystem and participate. They are parasites. And that’s the shame of it. If they had engaged guys like Steve and established a working commercial relationship, they’d probably be able to build wildly successful businesses. Instead they add no value and alienate the marketplace. Reflecting that, probably the best thing we could do is ignore them and let them rot.

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3 Responses

  1. By Jay Currie on December 11th, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    I have a post up on this…somewhere there is a difference between aggregation and theft. I think the somewhere is at the level of fair use and excerpt. Guys like Steve are reacting like the RIAA – there is a better way.

  2. By Albert on December 19th, 2005 at 2:43 am

    This is all quite amusing isn’t it? For years the prevailing wisdom on the internet has been that copyright laws only act against the interests of netizens and should be challenged, ignored or rewritten as a matter of course. Google has built one of the biggest media companies in the world without owning any substantial content assets at all – it has just helped itself to other people’s content and assumed that they are happy (which most of them have been).

    Now that the good people of the internet are actually creating content – in the form of blogs – their view seems to have changed a bit. No longer is copyright just protecting the right of media mega-corps to make money, it’s protecting the little guy from being ripped off too.

    We should all remember that the whole point of copyright law is to stimulate, not restrict, access to material. If the only way to prevent something being stolen is to avoid publishing it in the first place, or restrict access to a small group, we will all lose out. The fact that the internet makes such theft so casually simple means that copyright laws need to be strengthened, not diminished, in order to encourage more content to be made available. The hippyish fondness for things like Creative Commons betrays a lack of understanding of the true issues, as if issuing a licence with a nice logo attached makes everything alright again.

    So if “all content” is made available under a Creative Commons licence (which for some reason seems to be superior to other kinds of licences) what do we do to “then enforce it”? Think about it for a while and you’ll end up in the same place – albeit on a smaller scale – as those companies whose revenues and future depends on being able to protect their copyright…

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