I’ve worked very hard on Building The Ergonomic Guitar spending countless hours researching guitar building and guitar design in the process of gleaning a better understanding of guitar ergonomics. As a consequence, I’m rather protective of the effort I’ve put into my blog. Yesterday, it came to my attention that Anders Rodland, of t3blogs.com, was engaging in copyright infringement through the use of website hijacking also known as splogging. His site, guitar-center.org, had replicated almost every post from my blog – each in its entirety. Interestingly enough, Anders Rodland left out a previous post of mine about another incident with copyright infringement. It also turns out that I’m not alone.
For those who might think this is an innocent misunderstanding, there is no mistaking Anders Rodland’s intent. Not only was he stealing my content, he has created a number of scraper sites – sites that hijack other bloggers’ works as well. About 30 bloggers are currently affected. In addition, he rewrote internal links within these copies so that they would only reference his copies of the work. For example, at the end of each post, I typically include a “Related Posts” section with relevant links to other content on my blog. In the case of these copies, he had rewritten these links to point to the copied posts within his site.
As of this writing, these scraper sites cover the following:
| Celebrities | Finance | Food | Guitar | Health | Sports | Tech |
If you have any doubts as to Anders Rodland’s intent to profit from the hard work of others, set these aside. In his own words, he states that his t3blogs.com network “will be a network with new blogs added daily, and it is something I believe will be my first financially success”. If you are a blogger, be wary.
Although he was quick to remove the content, I noticed an interesting little disclaimer had been added to each of the sites. It states that he is happy to remove your content if you don’t want it there. Of course, none of the bloggers in question are likely to realize this content theft until the day they are searching on their subject only to find these scraper sites coming up with their content. This, btw, is how I came across the previous instance of content theft.
All of this begs the question – How do I deal with copyright infringement or content theft? Fortunately, there is an excellent article by Lorelle Van Fossen that covers the subject in a concise manner. Everything is covered from initial contact through escalation steps if the perpetrator is uncooperative. The article is called What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. I highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject.
UPDATE 03.01.2007 – I found yet another splog stealing my content for a total of three in the first year of Building The Ergonomic Guitar’s life. The site name is inconsequential but it was hosted at http://getablog.org. Although Getablog.org’s admin(s) never responded to my notice of copyright infringement, they suspended the offending site today. I also contacted Godaddy.com – the registrar for the site which has yet to get back to me as well. Interestingly enough, I followed Godaddy.com’s precise instructions on submitting a claim and received a reply that in no way acknowledged my claim nor the detailed information I provided. I submitted it again only to receive the exact automated reply! I’m disappointed in Godaddy.com’s disinterest in such a serious issue as content theft. If they ever get back to me, I’ll report back on it.
UPDATE 02.28.2007 – T3Blogs.com is no more! Anders Rodland took down the entire spam blog network.
UPDATE 02.27.2007 – Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today got word of this new splogging network and wrote the following wonderfully informative and insightful article – The Birth of a Spam Blog Network. In it he discusses the issues and some of the concerns that arise from this slightly different approach to splogging and content theft. Jonathan Bailey has attempted to contact Anders Rodland about this situation and has yet to receive a reply.