Actoguitar.com is Using My Content without Permission!

Building the Ergonomic Guitar Blog was started as a way to document my ergonomic guitar build and as a way for me to collect information on ergonomics. It’s nothing fancy but its mine and I’ve spent some effort on it over the months. For a few months now, I’ve gotten used to seeing my little blog show up in the first set of results in a Google search. BTW – I haven’t done anything to promote it – there is just that little on the web about guitars and ergonomics, apparently.

I was googling the web for information on ergonomic guitars and instead of the usual hits on my blog, I came across hits for actoguitar.com using my posts as content! I dug a bit further to find that they’re listing my posts in their entirety as part of a “forum” and they’ve even created a forum “user” who they list as the contributor for these posts! I saw only a single credit to my actual blog in one of the “posts” but otherwise it would appear to the casual person that this content was the product of a participant on their forum.

I am NOT amused by this and I have contacted them in order to get to the bottom of this.

For those of you who have content published on the web and wish to protect it, you might be interested in the following:
This excellent article by Lorelle VanFossen details actions to take when someone steals your content (great step-by-step advice): What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content.

This site searches for copies of your site (actoguitar.com shows up when I search my own, for example) : CopyScape.com.

Maybe they’ll steal this too.

UPDATE 08.23.2006 – Simit Patel contacted me to indicate he has taken the old url that had pointed to his site’s copy of my content and has it now redirecting to my blog. I thank Simit for this as well as his responsiveness in this matter.

UPDATE 08.20.2006 – See the ongoing commentary from the Project Guitar Forum community regarding this issue at http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=25120

UPDATE 08.18.2006 – This matter has been resolved by Simit Patel (aka kidmercury) of Actoguitar.com. My content has been removed as per my request.

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Responses to “Actoguitar.com is Using My Content without Permission!”

  1. Hello,

    I run ActoGuitar.com. I saw a comment was posted on ActoGuitar regarding the duplication of your blog — you can see the response here:

    http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.blogspot.com/

    We are happy to remove the content if you’d like. We do offer the option to receive earnings for syndicating your content or to have those earnings donated to charity. We contact people before syndicating their content when possible, but since there was no contact information on your site, that was not possible.

    If you’d like the content to be removed, please confirm and I’ll be happy to do so. You can email me at kmercury [at] gmail [dot] com.

  2. Hello,

    I run ActoGuitar.com, and I saw that you posted over there. I replied to your comment, which you can see here:

    http://www.actoguitar.com/building-ergonomic-guitar/5527-entire-blog-copy.html

    To summarize, we do have a revenue sharing agreement, and we tried to contact you to offer this, but no contact information was available. Funds for you have been earmarked. If you’d like the content to be removed, though, just let me know and I’m happy to comply. Likewise, attribution via a link back has been included in all the articles that are republished; this was a technical error, and I apologize sincerely for this. We have no qualms with linking out, as you can see with the other blogs and content we republish.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions/comments regarding this matter.

  3. While I appreciate Simit Patel’s (aka kid mercury) responsiveness in this matter I was a bit perturbed regarding some of the comments made to Canuck Brian from Project Guitar who posted to actoguitar.com regarding the use of my content. Simit Patel also felt the need to defend himself within the topic I created at Project Guitar about this issue – see the full thread at http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=25120&view=findpost&p=284335

    Canuck Brian quoted Simit Patel’s response within this thread and the following is my response to the thread (which can also be seen at http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=25120&view=findpost&p=284490

    First, I’d like to inform the group that the matter has been resolved to my general satisfaction. To Simit Patel’s credit, he responded quickly to my inquiry and immediately took action to remove the content. That said, I am concerned over some of Simit Patel’s comments to Canuck Brian defending his use of my content.

    Let’s begin with his first comment to Canuck Brian – “We make every attempt to contact the content owner before republishing. There was no contact information on the Building the Ergonomic Guitar blog, so we could not contact the author.”

    I did not list my email address on my blog – that much is true. (It is now available as part of my profile). However, Simit Patel managed to comment on my blog in response to my post about this situation. I’m not sure how he made “every attempt” to contact me without it occurring to him to simply leave a comment requesting the use of my content.

    Later, Simit Patel states the following in his response to Canuck Brian – “Regarding copyright legality: that is a very murky matter, and certainly not as clear and straightforward as you are suggesting. If any other does not want to syndicate their content, they should not issue an RSS feed — that’s essentially what an RSS feed does, allow for syndication. To issue an RSS feed and then cry illegality when the feed is grabbed and syndicated is confusing at best.”

    Let’s start with RSS feeds. Many sites offer RSS feeds. For example, The NY Times offers RSS feeds. Last time I checked, an RSS feed is not a license to copy content IN ITS ENTIRETY. For confirmation, please see the NY Times legal staff any time you are interested in taking an entire article and publishing it WITHOUT their consent and/or WITHOUT credit to them. Given that you are a musician and writer (with an RSS feed to your blog site) I would venture that you would not be pleased with someone grabbing your music or writings then publishing them as their own.

    While quoting or making reference to material is appropriate under the concept of “fair use”, this is not what was on your site. Your site was publishing my blog entries in their entirety and attributing them to a user called “ErgonomicGuitar”. Even my first post, which includes a dedication to my wife, is copied verbatim. The attribution of work to someone other than its owner is commonly known as plagiarism – a concept familiar to the average high school student. Anyone perusing the actoguitar site would think that a user named ErgonomicGuitar was posting original content that is, in fact, my work.

    Further, my site is labeled with the Creative Commons banner which indicates that the work is published with certain restrictions for those who wish to make use of it. The license I use clearly indicates my content may not be used for any commercial purpose. Clicking on this banner takes you to a human readable version (not “murky” legalese) of the license and its restrictions. As you indicated in your reply to Canuck Brian, “We offer 50% of the revenue earned from the ads displayed by content contributors to them.” Clearly yours is a commercial venture which my licensing prohibits. As to ignorance regarding Creative Commons, well that too is a tough one since you have such a banner on your site suggesting familiarity with its terms.

    Finally, in the spirit of honesty and disclosure, I was sent my “portion” of the revenue – I’m assuming that was 50% of the money your site SHOULD NOT have earned from my content.

  4. Hi Impressive webpage I like it a lot! I’m looking forward to the next update

  5. Thanks for the feedback on the plugin but if I’m not mistaken, the copyright protection information is only inserted in full feeds. Currently, I’m running only partial feeds – in no small part due to the three instances of content theft in my first year. Meanwhile, I’m excited about deploying your Translator plugin. :)