Edit 3/29/2009 7:23 PM:
It appears that Delimitdesign has finally caught wind of this thread and has altered their post to look less like a blatant rip off of mine. They also modified the post date from 3/28/2009 to 5/28/2008. Right. Too bad Google cache clearly shows their original post in its full copy & paste glory with the actual date they had posted it on:
You can view the full screenshot here. I took it just in case the Google cache page updated.
I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to seeing my articles regurgitated on some random blogger’s site and passed off as their own. Usually I just send the content-stealing jerk (CSJ for future reference) an e-mail asking that they provide some sort of link back to my original article and leave it at that. Sometimes they comply, oftentimes they don’t. In the end, life goes on. After all, it’s not like I’m going to press charges over it.
It’s a problem that’s existed ever since the advent of blogging. In general, I think bloggers have pretty much become desensitized to it. Every few months you’ll hear someone cry foul, but that’s about all we can do. Personally, I’m not a big fan of smear campaigns, especially since they tend to give the CSJs more traffic than they would have gotten otherwise. However, it seems that the CSJs are finally evolving from no-name bloggers with 5 readers to large, professional-looking CMS-type deals.
Thanks to some heads-up readers e-mails today, I found out that a site called Delimitdesign was featuring an article on their home page that was copied word-for-word from my blog.
||Delimitdesign’s carbon copy
I promptly sent them an e-mail which thus far has gone unanswered. I also left a couple replies to the post which were not approved (surprise, surprise). I even @replied to them on Twitter without any luck. What’s worse, it appears that I’m not the only one they’ve ripped off. Out of curiosity, I took a look at another one of their articles featured on their home page:
A quick Google search revealed that it was a carbon copy of an article written by someone else:
After some more digging around, it became quite clear that several of their posts were turning up a separate, but identical, blog post written by someone else. In other words, the site appears to be digging up old, popular posts and regurgitating them as their own.
This is nothing new of course. I think most bloggers have put up with it so long simply because thus far the CSJs have been relatively harmless. But what do we do when the CSJs become more established?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to react. My only recourses, thus far, have been to politely ask them to stop and to notify the public of their behavior.
It’s not just the blogging CSJs we have to worry about either. As Jeff Atwood noticed today, someone seems to have ripped off the entire StackOverflow site:
The only solution that I have devised to curtail this is to take away the CSJs incentive for ripping off other people’s content (e.g. their visitors and thus, their advertising revenue). I propose a new site: ContentStealingJerks.com, which would let people flag articles they recognize as blatant ripoffs of someone else’s original content. It could come with a firefox plugin that would redirect users to the original article when they visit a flagged page. What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Or already implemented and I just haven’t realized it?
Edit 3/29/2009 3:58 AM:
Thanks to the comments readers have left here and on Reddit and Hacker News, I’ve learned that there are indeed things I can do. I have now reported Delimitdesign through Google Adsense’s complaint feature (which should eliminate any monetary gains they’ve gained from their content ripping) as well as through Google Webmaster Tools (which should remove them from Google’s search index). Tomorrow, I plan on filing a DMCA complaint as well.
I also discovered that Delimitdesign didn’t bother to swap out the images when they copy/pasted my article, meaning their article is using images hosted on my server. So I took the liberty of swapping them out. Here’s the final result:
Yes, I know. I missed a golden opportunity to use goatse or tubgirl or something along those lines. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted. In the end though, I’d rather just get the message out rather than gross out their (presumably) innocent visitors.