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How does WP handle plagiarism of its blogs?

  1. Can WordPress block sites that are plagiarizing WordPress blogs? My post today was plagiarized in full by a site that is selling ads against it. I went to the site to complain and found you can't leave comments. But the "recent posts" list on the site shows that it has also plagiarized other WordPress blogs. The site has "fu.org" in its URL, so it's not just plagiarizing us but mocking us.

    I have asked Technorati to de-list posts by this site and also reported the copyright violation to WP support. But I realized that I don't know WP policy on this. When WordPress gets a report of plagiarism one of its blogs, will it block the plagiarist? Can it do anything else? Thanks for any clarification you can give.

  2. If a blog at wordpress.com is copying something of yours, you send a report in with full urls to your posts and the copied ones. Just saying "They copied me" is of no use.
    I then check the report. I will either suspend the blog OR leave them a warning to get in touch. The result is your work disappears from their blog, or if you have specified that you want full credit that will be applied by the original blogger.

    If the blog is not at wordpress.com (that is the footer of the blog has no link to wordpress.com) then I cannot do anything. A search of this forum for DMCA and WHOIS will help in that circumstance.

    As with most support issues, this is one where it just is not possible to send too much detail. Send lots of details.

    [Note - please check your CC licensing. I have had people say their content has been copied when it conformed perfectly with the CC license being used by the original blogger]

  3. Thank, Mark. Checking "Whois" is a good suggestion. I'm not sure how to check the CC licensing but will search the Forums for this. I have sent support a link the plagiarized post and also the names of other WP blogs that seem to be ripping off WP.

  4. CC is "Creative Commons". Do you have a copyright notice on your blog?

  5. You can see what I did on one of my blogs here: http://thesacredpath.wordpress.com/legal/ it's short and to the point. This is of course, not legal advice as I am not a copyright lawyer.

  6. Um, no disrespect intended but it's kind of ironic that you're hotlinking images from Project Gutenberg and stealing their bandwidth. I do hope that that is an oversight and you will fix it asap.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:Information_About_Linking_to_our_Pages

  7. @sacredpath.

    Thanks for the link to your post. But my understanding is that copyright exists from the moment you create material. So I wonder why it's necessary to have such a post at all?

    What's 'Creative Commons'?

  8. @rosclarke
    G'day
    Copyright does indeed exist without the posting of a notice of any kind when it comes to original work. As sploggers chasing advertising income have become so prevalent many bloggers are now posting copyright notices, although they are not required. Creative commons has various kinds of licenses and I wrote a post on this that you may like to read or not What to do about copyright
    HTH :)

  9. Um, mark, those pages seem to suggest that what I said about copyright is correct. Writing and images do NOT need to be marked as copyrighted in order to be copyrighted. And if you don't want to share material, then the Creative Commons isn't relevant either, is it?

    Am I missing your point somewhere?

  10. Timethief, thank you! So if I were to be plagiarised (which as far as I know, I'm not) WordPress would still act even without a copyright notice? And since I don't have a Creative Commons licence, the implication is that the material is not to be shared?

  11. @rosclarke
    may I suggest that you lick the Creative Commons link Mark provided above and read the different kinds of licenses and attribution requirements that are posted there.

  12. edit:
    Sheesh I see a typo above. And, I assure you that I meant "click" the link and not "lick" the link ... lol :D

  13. In the interstices between the law and generally accepted practice, a copyright notice is something that everyone but deliberate criminals respects. I take images from all over the web (attributed) but when I see a copyright notice I abide by it, and I think all of us are the same. Now that the AP is claiming that not even excerpting their work is acceptable, you'll see people referring to Reuters more, etc.

  14. /nod to rain
    A copyright notice posted on your blog is, in my opinion, a good idea. Yes, the stuff you create is copyrighted from the moment you create it, but it's simply an added step that is good evidence of your intent, should you be plagiarized or scraped - which will in high likelihood eventually happen.

  15. Also, some people are freer with their rights than the all-encompassing copyright, and they need to let people know.

  16. Here's a fascinating article concerning Fair Use and Copyright and Google and University Libraries -- it really gets juicy -- but fair and polite -- in the comments:

    http://www.googlizationofeverything.com/2007/11/paul_courant_of_michigan_addre.php

  17. @timethief. Yup, I read them but I'm still not getting what you're saying. Is your point that I should have a Creative Commons 'All Rights Reserved' license because that will give me some protection I don't automatically have, and if so, what? Or just that it would be a nice thing to have to make it easier to defend my rights if it comes to it?

  18. It won't bestow legal protection greater than you have; it will make explicit the fact that you don't accept generally accepted "borrowing" practice and thus will draw people's attention and they may be more inclined to respect it. It also might help you in court, since you can prove you went to some effort to assert copyright.

  19. @rosclarke
    Actually I'm not advocating anything. The post I wrote provides the links to three options available to those who wish to have copyright notices on their blogs. It's up to each blogger to make their own choice about posting a notice or not. :-)

  20. I just saw raincoaster's post. I do believe that by posting a notice there can be no confusion about what the copywright holder's position was or is.

    By registering copyrights on my posts and posting notice of the same (click the "myfreecopyright" icon in my sidebar at the top), I believe that I am clearly declaring my copyright.

    Moreover, on my copyright page I have this statement as well:
    <blcokquote> Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved
    No part of this blog is under a Creative Commons License. All content on this blog is the property of the blog owner and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and cannot be stored on any retrieval system, reproduced, reposted, displayed, modified or transmitted in any form, electronic or otherwise without written permission of the copyright owner except as noted below.
    [MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected icon] A brief excerpt of content may be quoted as long as a link is provided back to the source page on this blog.

  21. /nod to tt

    Some people like tight control over what they write and some don't. In my opinion it's a good idea for each person to decide what they will and will not allow and then state that on their blogs. That way, nothing is left up to interpretation or guessing.

    That said, it's always the blogger's choice.

  22. Okay, thanks everyone. That's what I thought the situation was but then I got confused.

  23. Heck this stuff probably confuses lawyers. But when it comes to sploggers IMO they seem to deliberately search for blogs that have Creative Commons licenses posted.

  24. What I meant about Creative Commons is this:

    Someone has the CC Attribution as part of their license. They complain to me that someone else has copied part of their work and not linked to them. In each case there WAS a link. But what the original author has not done was specify the link that should be made ("You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor."). So as I saw it the fault lay with the original blogger not making clear their conditions because the other person was linking back as they felt they should.

    Someone else complained that their work had been copied. It had been. But it was linked to the original article, there was no attempt to disguise the fact it had been copied and the new work was also under the same license. I had to point the original blogger at their own license and say "But you are saying they can do this". (I added that changing it now and complaining wouldn't work).

    So there are people that have a CC badge and don't fully detail what they want in those ways that they can (such as the link) and others who just get another badge in the sidebar.

    --

    Also, you cannot claim copyright over any work that is not yours. So if I write something on my blog that is under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 then you then copy/quote/use that but you cannot copyright that derivative work.

    "Share Alike: The licensor permits others to distribute derivative works only under the same license or one compatible with the one that governs the licensor's work."

    An example here of this is the FAQ. That is under the above license. We want it copied to blogs, we want people to know about it, we want people to improve it, build on it, translate it. But you cannot copyright it.

  25. Back to the OP: I have been scraped by this person and went ahead and reported them to Google Adsense. Do the same. Repeatedly, if necessary. They'll eventually remove their Adsense account, and that will remove the blog's reason for existing.

  26. Hit 'em in the wallet - that's their only reason for living.

  27. If you get scraped:

    a) Find where they are hosted.

    b) (Pay attention to this part): Report the site to their host, but as a violation of the hosts TOS, where the offending site has committed copyright infringement.

    You'll get a lot faster, and permanent result instead of just reporting a copyright infringement.

    Note, that I said report it as a violation of the hosts TOS.

    In a nutshell, it's a "loophole" around all the legalize as compared to you reporting it simply as a copyright violation. The host looks at your site (and they will look for a copyright notice usually, even if it isn't "technically" required), compare, and if there is a violation, then they shut the offending site down immediately for violating their TOS.

    With just a plain complaint of a violation, without saying it is a TOS violation, it gets tricky and most hosts will at that point want some sort of cease and desist letter, etc.

    Some idiots will be back on another host within a week, after their DNS propagates to new name servers. Some never appear again. However, feel comfy that most of the pigs don't have backups, let alone remember all the links they stuffed into their plugin.

  28. That's a good idea! Thanks for that.

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