Saturday, February 17, 2007

Plagiarizing Blogs - etiquette or legality

I love blogging, and posting information about various technical articles on Business Strategies Blog website, and I'm flattered when someone posts a link or a makes a reference to one of my articles. After all - I've invested a ton of time into crafting each message and delivering it concisely. I don't just blog for the sake of blogging though - I do it to drive traffic to my company OS-Cubed, Inc. in hopes of getting new business, or making new connections. So when I find that another company has taken my hard work and copied it - word-for-word - to their own blog what should be done? In this particular bloggers case - they at least copied my name and the company link to their blog - but the reality is it looks like I am an author on their blog when in fact I never agreed to any such thing. Of course this content gets indexed and shows up in blog search engines and other places - all referencing the other person's blog. So what is to be done? In my case - I approached the blogger, who seems to have only plagiarized content on his blog, and asked him to either remove the articles or post a summary and a link to my article. As you can see from the comment on my initial post - he agreed to do this. But I might not have gotten so lucky. What if the person had refused to remove the post? Surely there must be a simple way to report plagiarism? Actually in the case of this particular blog ( run by Google) the only way to report plagiarism is to write a letter, via snail-mail to Google and hope that they'll take up your cause. This seems a particularly un-user friendly approach to reporting copyright violations. Even the information on how to do that is buried deep within their site - not easily found. Wouldn't an online form suffice to provide the same service, while not inconveniencing or costing the reporter any additional investment in time or research? I can see this as a problem which will only escalate. I'd strongly recommend that if you're a blogger you occasionally use the search engines to search for content unique to your blog and see if anyone else is living off the fruits of your labor. And those of us who are bloggers should demand of our service providers that they provide a better way to report and suppress copyright violators. There are some good resources on the Net involved with Copyright including:

What do you think - is it OK to re-post someones blog entry in it's entirety on your own site without permission?

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