Should I be angry and do something about this? (copyright infringement)

I have recently discovered a competitor web developer, Simon Bugler, is taking blog posts from other web developer’s websites (including mine), and reposting the content in his own blog. The way it is copied in his blog, an unsuspecting reader would think that he wrote the content. He also takes part of my text and applies a hyperlink to other pages of his website in it. What is especially irritating for me is that he is using my blogs where I talk about projects I have completed. I think he is mooching off of my RSS feed and a lot of other people. I sent him several cease and desist messages and his response was to put a link labeled “see original post here” on all of his blogs.

Does that constitute copyright infringement? I clearly state on my websites that duplicating our content is prohibited.

I also am not sure if I should be mad or not. I’m bothered that it makes him look like he has all kinds of great content. I’m bothered that this could raise flags for duplicate content with search engines. On the other hand, it brings relative incoming links to my site.

What do you think? Here is the blog where he is doing it. None of the posts there are his.

http://simonbugler.net/custom-wordpress-website-design-–-krck-radio-«-jessica-bolin/#comment-1702

Did you try to scan his material with copyscape? If you find that copyscape sees that his articles are plagiarism then you can contact some legal entity. On copyscape website you can also read what would be your next steps… Call a lawyer and ask for an advice. In meanwhile warn him again that you will report him to google (beside a lawyer) and that they will "sandbox’ he’s website and he won’t be able to appear on search engines…

Personally I would be furious!
If he ignored a C&D letter or just added some half baked link back I would investigate a legal route to make him stop.
Also if he is pulling content from other developers, email them too.

Unfortunately that’s pretty much what you have to do if said person ignores C&D letters. C&D letters (at the very least) aim to get one’s attention and try to resolve things, but they don’t have any “legal power” on their own unlike an actual court order. (and that’s even if a court order can be enforced on said person…)

Disputes happen daily. That’s what courts, mediation panels (in some cases), and lawyers are for.

Thanks everyone! That is pretty much what I figured and I am pretty irritated by it. We all know how important unique content is to each website and I personally take the time to write all of mine. So for someone to freeload off of it is very upsetting. I will follow your advice and let you know what happens.

Another option might be to contact Godaddy.com and inform them that this site (hosted with them) is posting stolen content, which I’m sure must breach their terms and conditions. Who knows, you might be able to get his site removed entirely.

EDIT: sorry, incaccurate. The domain name is hosted with Godaddy, but not necessarily the site. Still, disabling the domain name itself would be a much more powerful way to cut him off at the ankles, if it’s possible. Perhaps Godaddy wouldn’t oblige, though.

The website is hosted with GoDaddy as well, if you ping it, you get back 208.109.181.17 which turns out to be one of their IP addresses. (More info here: http://www.ip-adress.com/ip_tracer/208.109.181.17)

What I would do in your situation is send GoDaddy a DMCA on this domain, since he is using copyrighted content without being allowed to do so. Then they will handle it from there, and as long as you make certain to fill out the DMCA properly, it will be handled quickly as else they can be held liable as well in case you pull their user to the court.

Just give GoDaddy a call on the phone number on their website, and ask them where you should forward the DMCA document. Every larger hosting company in USA has a own process in place to handle these.

We have gone through this process several times in the past, and it has always been solved in our favor.

IMO, the responses so far are somewhat OTT and quite frankly makes me wonder if anyone responding actually bothered looking at the site in question! It seems Mr Bulger has just set up some kind of web design news blog as part of his site - he’s simply linking back to articles and info that he finds interesting. If he was copying your entire article, that’s a problem. But a brief snippet followed by a link back to the source would be considered pretty standard for any news site, and is IMO fair use.

He’s sending people to your site, which seems like free advertising to me. A two sentence summary to gain people’s interest, free traffic for you, and a link back for SEO purposes - what exactly are you complaining about? Don’t get too hot and bothered about this - take all the free advertising you can get.

If I were Mr Bulger and lost my site due to a DMCA takedown notice, I’d immediately file a counter notice to GoDaddy to have the content immediately put back up. IMO, any legal action you took would get tossed out of court pretty quickly. IANAL though!

As well as the good advice you’ve already been given, you might want to look at this:

Dealing with copyright infringements of your web page or blog

It gives step-by-step advice on how to deal with the issue.

Mike

It would be OTT if it was the first action taken. If however you had been asked repeatedly to remove the links/snippets etc and dont and continue to ignore requests, then its a fair second or third action as far as I am concerned.

If you are sure that the content he is posting is yours you can launch a complaint in Google first of all…Google will delist it from its search engine. I once submitted a competitor’s website which was copying stuff from my website and posting it on his own website…Even the tablines, titles were the same and Google de-listed it from its index. However, the restriction was later removed by Google as the competitor apologized and changed the content…

I actually feel the whole ‘issue’ is OTT and it shouldn’t have even come to the point where someone is getting all hot and bothered about a site sending free traffic their way while using a very brief snippet of their work in order to give the reader a taste of what is to come.

Copyright was never granted to give people complete control over their work, and others are free to use your work in certain circumstances, which is where the concept of fair use comes into play. IMO, this situation is an example where fair use could successfully be argued (but that’s for a court to decide). I really don’t think this would get very far in court, and the OP should be careful when filing DMCA notices on uses of her work that may fall under fair use.

However ultimately, it seems a fuss over nothing and the OP should, IMO, forget about it and take the free traffic and link backs.

I wasn’t really sure about that part, which is why I didn’t mention that earlier. It’ll be helpful if an actual lawyer kindly chimes in.

Shadowbox is correct as usual. The snippet followed by a link to the original article is a “fair use” of the article under copyright law.

He is also correct that simonbugler is sending people to your site for free. This is a good link for you and you should be happy it is happening.

It seems that she listened what she wanted to hear (with that name, I assume is a she) and now is not showing up around here :slight_smile:

I thought I may as well chime in with a UK legal opinion (from an ex-law student, not a lawyer I might add) as the blogger claimed to be infringing appears to be from the UK himself.

Firstly - we don’t have the “fair use” exceptions that the DMCA provides in the US, we have something a lot more restrictive known as “fair dealing”. Under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), fair dealing is limited to non-commercial research and private study, criticism, review, and news reporting - these are very specific exceptions set out in the legislation.

That said, the blog mentioned above only appears to be quoting a very short paragraph from the content in question and then linking back to it as attribution/acknowledgement - so this looks a lot like news reporting to me. In fact, in the recent Newspaper Licensing Authority v Meltwater (aggregator) - the Copyright Tribunal found in favour of the aggregator (Meltwater) - and I would think this would fall into the same category.

The DMCA and US juristiction comes into play as the O.P and her site are from the US, plus the site doing the linking is hosted in the US and on a US domain name. So I think if the OP did want to do anything (like a DMCA notice), it would be with regard to US copyright law, not UK. Although if she’s got money to burn, I guess she could take him to court in the UK - although I believe first having a judgement from a US court would help her with any case she instigated in the UK. Don’t think any of this is ever going to get that far though! But I agree, this would seem to fall under news reporting, albeit rather odd news reporting, as I’m struggling to see what real benefit this provides to the site doing the linking in this case. Each to their own though :slight_smile: