Year of Original Content: FairShare Helps Track Content Theft

Filed as Features on February 26, 2009 12:38 pm

FairShare logoIn honor of my declaring war on content theft with the Year of Original Content,” FairShare is offering a limited number of free registrations for readers to try their copyright infringement tracking system currently in private beta testing.

Jonathan Bailey recently reviewed FairShare and said:

FairShare, unlike Attributor’s current business service, is targeted at bloggers and Webmasters who want to track how their content is being used and where, but do not require advanced tools and filtering. It works with Creative Commons licenses and tracks where content reappears, how much is used, if the content is linked and if the site displays any advertisements.

Though the service carries with it many different limitations, for bloggers that can not afford or don’t have the time to use a more advanced system, it is likely a very good choice.

FairShare creates a feed based upon your blog’s URL that is matched against the sites that FairShare monitors and tracks across the web, comparing the content against the original by checking the number of words copied, whether or not the matching site links back, if there are ads on the site, and other copyright violations in accordance with your selected Creative Commons license. FairShare supports all six v3.0 Creative Commons licenses.

FairShare feed listing example

FairShare feed listing example

If the content is found to be in violation of the original content, your personal FairShare feed will display a link to the FairShare page with the ability to compare the copied to the original.

The copied content is stored in an iframe, which gives you the ability to leave a comment advising the webmaster or blogger that the usage of your original content violates your copyright, a first step in the process for reporting a copyright violation. However, FairShare currently offers little else to help you fight back against copyright violations.

The inability to quickly and efficiently respond to copyright violations is annoying, but understandable. The more you make a copyright violation response generic and template based, the easier it is to ignore it. Most scraper sites are grabbing from dozens to thousands of sites, so a massive system like this sending out form letters would surely be ignored. The response you send out must also be customized to match the type of copyright violation, such as use of your content on a “commercial” site with ads, exceeding Fair Use, etc. And if FairShare provides such templates, they could also be legally bound to support them. Hopefully, they will consider adding some basic, but customizable template forms to help those who are novices at confronting content theft.

FairShare Feed view expanded

FairShare Feed view expanded

FairShare is the free version of Attributor, a commercial copyright violation verification service used by major publishers to track wide scale use and abuse of their content. Both services rely upon their own search engine and database for tracking content across approximately 35 billion pages on the web, rather than search engines. According to Jonathan’s experience with Attributor, the results fairly match what is possible through manual Google searches for content violations.

FairShare is also embracing localization and international monitoring, as it works with about 20 languages currently.

FairShare is free and committed to remaining free, though paid services may be added later in the development to help bloggers and webmasters respond more efficiently to copyright violations.

I’ve been using FairShare and Attributor with the help of Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today for over six months during their early testing phase. While it has improved dramatically, it is now time for a greater number of users to give their input.

In honor of Year of Original Content,” readers can sign up through the FairShare Beta site and use YearofOriginalContent as the invite code for a first hand look at how this copyright infringement tracking service works and add your feedback to the project.

There are only a few invites, and it’s first come first serve.

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  1. By Brian Carnell posted on February 26, 2009 at 8:39 pm
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    Lorelle,

    Does this system assume that use of ads violates NonCommercial CC licenses?

    Reply

    • By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm
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      @Brian: Good question. I’ll look into that. For me, the definition of “commercial” on the web has always been troublesome. Does a few ads on a blog make it commercial? What about blogging on a free blogging service that has ads that you can’t control. Does that make it a commercial site? At what point does a blog become commercial, and at what point does that impinge upon NonCommercial CC licenses… it’s a good question.

      Reply

  2. By James S posted on February 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm
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    I personally use the http://www.copygator.com website over fairshare:

    1. it’s automated and brings me results instead of me searching for duplicated content. All i had to do was submit my feed and it started monitoring my feed showing me who’s republished my articles on the web.

    2. i get notified by email so it contacts me when it finds copies of my articles online.

    3. i use their image badge feature to alert me directly on my website when my content is being lifted.

    4. it’s a free service and doesn’t require registration.

    Reply

  3. By Rich posted on February 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm
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    @Brian – we are indeed using ads as the basis of highlighting a page when you have a NonCommercial CC license. We really view this as a flag and we then allow you to go look at the page in more detail with the reused text highlighted for you to make the call.

    It’s also worth noting that FairShare results show you every page that reuse your work above a certain minimum threshold – in those cases where there might be an issue with your license, we highlight it. At some point we may add in filters to look at only certain types of pages, but we thought best to start here and get feedback.

    I hope that helps – we’re very open to ideas on how to redefine this.

    Reply

  4. By Joshua Dorkin posted on May 26, 2009 at 1:09 am
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    Lorelle –
    Do you have any solutions to a splogger who scrapes your feedburner feed, but is located in Russia? The normal channels haven’t worked so far. Thoughts?

    Josh

    Reply

  5. By Joshua Dorkin posted on May 26, 2009 at 11:27 pm
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    Thanks for the tip, Lorelle

    Reply

  6. By Rich Pearson posted on May 26, 2009 at 11:35 pm
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    Josh,

    Jonathan is indeed a super resource – in addition to what Lorelle says, also consider

    – Demanding that the ad networks monetizing your content remove the ads. It’s a little known fact, but the major ones will remove ads: http://www.google.com/adsense_dmca.html

    – Demand that the search engines remove the copied pages from their index. all of the search engines will handle, but here’s a link to Yahoo: http://info.yahoo.com/copyright/us/details.html

    Reply

  7. By Joshua Dorkin posted on May 27, 2009 at 9:03 pm
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    Here’s a follow up – I contacted Jonathan and he was incredible. He got back to me right away with some advice that made sense. Essentially, he encouraged me to file a DCMA with the search engines so the offending content would be removed. We’ll see how that goes.

    Thanks for chiming in, Rich.

    Reply

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