It seems that the rest of the world is waking up to the fact that stolen content is big business. Within the past two years, there are a variety of services you can use to track where your online content has gone, report and stop it. A new project is underway called the Fair Syndication Consortium that might put a dollar amount on that stolen content, paying you for others abusing your content. read more
One of those lessons is a primer in mass media law. By publishing works to the Web, one is essentially performing much of the same function as newspapers and television stations did exclusively just a few decades ago. However, the laws that govern such publications are not taught in most high schools nor most colleges.
So what should a blogger know about the law before they put up their first post? There are many things, certainly more than what can be covered in this post, but here are twenty questions every every blogger should be able to answer. read more
Story Updated 04/08/09 (see end)Jon Engle is a graphic designer from New Mexico. He has done work for many TV shows and TV networks as well as countless Web sites.
However, a recent series of events has put Engle’s reputation at risk. According to a post in Engle’s blog, a stock art site has accused him of copyright infringement. They have presented him with an $18,000 bill, threatened him with a lawsuit and even contacted his previous clients, claiming that he was under investigation for infringement and that the work he did for them “may have been stolen from their client.”
The problem, according to Engle, is that he created the works himself and that he believes someone uploaded them to the stock photography site without his permission, and in violation of that site’s terms of service. But the company, feeling that the uploads were legitimate, are aggressively protecting what they see as their intellectual property, using their copyright attorney.
However, it doesn’t matter who is in the right in this case. For either side to clear their name, they are going to have to prove that the work is theirs. Unfortunately, as Engle admits, this will not be a simple matter as he “would never have thought to plan for something like this”. Though he has some incidental proof, namely upload dates to LogoPond and metadata in the files themselves, these are hardly ideal since Engle is not completely sure when the images were lifted.
Engle’s story highlights the need for writers, artists, photographers and other creators to be aware that there are a million ways their work could come into dispute and to prepare for such a situation in advance. The end goal is be in a situation where, no matter what happens to your work, you always have proof that you created it first. read more
Three weeks ago I signed up my blog for a beta service by Tynt called Tracer in an attempt to both test the service and get a better understanding of how people are using my content.
The information provided by Tracer is only aggregate in nature, there is no information about what an individual user did with your content, and Tracer does nothing to prevent copying, thus it is not a DRM solution. All Tracer does is analyze how users interact with your content and which pages are the most “active”.
To do that, Tracer follows four metrics: page views, selections (meaning when someone selects objects), copies (actually copying the work) and generated traffic (clicks on links generated by Tracer).
After over three weeks of running the service, I’ve gotten some pretty good data on my site and the results more than surprised me. Here is what I learned. read more
In honor of my declaring war on content theft with the “Year of Original Content,”FairShare is offering a limited number of free registrations for Blog Herald readers to try their copyright infringement tracking system currently in private beta testing.
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. read more
I’ve declared this the Year of Original Content and I’m inviting you to help join the fight against those who abuse our content.
Scam, spam, splog, and scraper blogs are big business, taking in $3.2 billion dollars in 2007 just in the United States. Russia, China, Zimbabwe, and other countries are generating even more money with a variety of Internet scams. Many of these sites and blogs use our original content to generate that money, often from blogs that have no advertising nor direct income – making money from our hard work.
It’s time to fight back. It’s time to be proud that you are the unique voice in the wilderness. It’s time to honor your hard work and declare, “I decide who can and can’t take advantage of me!”
Here are some ways you can join the call to celebrate original content and fight back against those abusing our content without our permission. read more
The Facebook TOS debacle last week shined a rare light on the subject of rights we give away when we sign up to use site or service.
Though Facebook’s new TOS, which removed the clause that lets users end their license granted to Facebook by deleting their work, was both of poor judgment and very worrisome, it was likely much ado about. Not only was the TOS rescinded shortly after the controversy began, but even with the new TOS, Facebook’s rights were still limited by the user’s privacy settings.
What has gotten significantly less attention is the sheer number of TOS’ that most Web users sign just as part of being on the Web. In an age where almost every site is also a “service”, it seems we’re creating more accounts than ever and, with every sign up, signing away more and more of our rights.
Most of us have lost track of all the sites we have registered for, the agreements we have signed and few of us actually take the time to even skim the terms that we do accept. Our rights to our online lives are in millions of pieces, scattered across countless companies and sites.
Piecing them back together, if it became necessary, could be nearly impossible. Worse still, as many of these companies continue to expand and grow the rights they give themselves via their TOS,
It has come time to question our love affair for new services and the terms they force us to agree to and seek ways to streamline and simplify this very messy process. read more
I’m working on my annual Things I Want Gone from the Web article and I’ve personally designated this “The Year of Original Content.” We’re done playing around with feed scraping and autoblogging.
The blog echo chamber effect of someone blockquoting and linking the same content as a recommendation, echoing through the web without original content, is a beginner’s mistake. Don’t do it. Always add your original voice and content to your recommendations, telling your readers why it is important to leave this blog and go to another, then come back for more.
Google took action to penalize duplicate content within a site and between sites, and added bonus points for original and unique, appropriate and relevant keywords around links, especially link lists, rewarding original content providers with nicer PageRank scores. Similar actions are being taken by other major search engines, directories, and legitimate content aggregators.
As a serious blogger, you’ve learned the lesson and stay focused on creating original content. You link to other people’s content appropriately, taking care to protect their copyrights and not confuse your reader’s, putting other people’s content in blockquotes with clearly indicated links and credits.
It seems that every week a new product or service is announced that promises to protect your work in some way or another. Whether it is helping you “register” your copyright, detect plagiarism or even outright prevent infringement, there are tons of companies that want to take your money to protect your work.
However most of these products turn out not to live up to their hype. At best they are a waste of time, at worst they are an outright scam.
So who is out to scam you and who is here to help? Well, here are some of the more common types of copyright protection services and what you should look out for before you sign on the dotted line. read more
The plugin, as well as Dan Zarella’s plugin by the same name, searches Twitter to for tweets that link back to posts on the blog and displays those tweets on the site under their respective entries, much like a trackback, but with Twitter (hence the name).
These plugins do, by their very nature, copy and paste tweets, displaying them on the user’s Web site, all without the explicit permission to of the author. Where trackbacks are sent from the linking site and comments are left intentionally by the visitor, these plugins are different in that they activelhy go out in search of these “tweetbacks” (including parsing URL shortening services), even though the creator has taken no steps to ensure they appear on the site.
This, in turn, raises serious issues about copyright, scraping and more that have to be at least looked at. Is it legal to copy and publish tweets from others without permission, simply because they link back to your site? The answers are not as simple as one might initially think. read more