Recently, I learned first hand about Blog Plagiarism, aka “scraping.” Basically, web scraping is when another site copies copyrighted content from one or more blogs as an illegal means to increase traffic and generate revenue.
I am not alone, this particular scraper site is also doing it to a dozen other fabric artists, too. They are also obnoxious and arrogant, in that they use “fu.org” in their URL.
How can I tell if this is happening to my blog? If you have wordpress as your blog host, as I do, then check your stats and monitor your traffic. Simply click on “Dashboard,” then “Blog Stats,” then scroll down the page to “Incoming Links.” If you place your cursor over each line, then you can see the website that is linking to you (hint: look down at the left bottom of your screen. You will note that most of the sites linking to you are people you know. A scraper usually has a really unusual address, so if you slowly check each linking address, you can tell if an address looks fishy)
Another way is to check your stats on any other appropriate traffic gathering site, for instance, in “technorati” you check your blog reactions. Be sure to check your stats and traffic frequently to see if your site, images or artwork are being unknowingly lifted and/or plagiarized.
I’m being scraped too! What do I do now? First off, you can do as I did and write a letter to the host server for the site. There are many “Whois” search engine sites, I used this one. [see postscript below for more info]
Does the site uses any particular RSS feeds such as Technorati? Thanks to Janice Harayda over at her wordpress blog titled “One Minute Book Review” for the tip that you can report the offending site that is infringing on your copyright at Technorati. Thanks, Janice!!
Next, you can hit them where it hurts- in the pocketbook! Follow the directions here if they are using Google Adsense to file a formal, legal inquiry. Keep filing a Notice of Copyright Infringement for every occurrence.
Lastly, you can file suit under US law for copyright infringement. The type of attorney you hire is one who specializes in “Intellectual Property.”
Anything else I can do? Yes, there is strength in numbers. If the scraper is also doing this to other similar blog sites, then contact them to let them know what the offending site is doing. Encourage them to contact Google Adsense and file a complaint and also the offending site’s host.
Many scrapers, once they have identified a potential harvesting site, will use certain “buzz words” they can program into the computer or “bot.” Avoid using the word that triggers the harvesting bot.
If all else fails, you can take your blog site private- which cuts off their RSS feed. I will certainly consider this if scraping gets too far out of hand.
Hope you have found this post informative. If you have any questions, then feel free to leave your question or comment below.
December 11, 2007- The host server for the ____.unix-fu.org site was contacted at email@example.com (att: Brad Mitchell, CEO for MojoHost). The host responded in a very professional manner and does not tolerate plagiarism or scraping. If your site is being plagiarized by unix.fu.org site, then contact Brad to let him know.
December 12, 2007- the unix-fu site removed my posts.
I would like to thank Jonathan Bailey over at Plagiarism Today for his assistance! -Carla