Paper.li Misunderstanding and Misinformation

Opinions that have no basis in fact and are fueled by misinformation and emotionality may plump up your stats and comments, but that kind of discussion environment is not one most bloggers benefit from. Worse still, when one fails to research before publishing that slip can be a hard one to recover from. Continue reading

Scraping Off the Blog Scrapers

Money from advertising income motivates blog scrapers to steal content. It’s only a matter of time before you discover your copyright has been violated and your content is now duplicated on a site you don’t want to be associated with. So let’s consider the impact of that duplication and how to counter it.

Continue reading

15 Plagiarism Detection Tools for Bloggers and Writers

There’s no difference between copyright law in cyberspace and print media; the same law applies both online and offline. You don’t have to remain a silent victim of make money blogger rip off artists like these two. You can check to see if your content has been stolen, and file DMCA take-down notices with the appropriate web host when it has been. Continue reading

Attribution is not Permission

Bloggers are expected to be able to sort facts from fiction, so if you are a newcomer to blogging becoming familiar with copyright law  is part of the territory. Copyright, Limitations of Fair Use and Plagiarism, Attribution, Citation, Quotation are critically important matters for new bloggers to comprehend so put that education the top of your to do list. Continue reading

Plagiarism, Attribution, Citation, Quotation

copyright

copyright

Search engines make information readily accessible and convenient to copy and paste but be aware that plagiarism is defined as the act of either intentionally  or unintentionally publishing or passing off work that was written or created by someone else as your own work. Any time you use any material from an original source and do not give proper credit, you have committed plagiarism and violated copyright laws.  Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

peopleHow to Create Consistently Great Content for the Long Haul – Developing better creative habits is one of the most valuable things you can do as a content creator. Legendary Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s practical book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, is a ground-breaking guide to becoming a calmer, better balanced, more productive creative professional. Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

books stackedAnother week is  almost gone and I’m wondering where it went.  Here’s my weekly offering for you readers.

Blog Log #2: The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Blogging – When you first start out blogging, you’re hungry. You’re excited. You have a million ideas. But nobody talks about how you’ll feel five years in.  … Blogging for fame and fortune usually leads to burnout. Blogging as a creative outlet or to support a business usually has longevity. Do what you do because you love it but also have a goal. Continue reading

First SOPA and PIPA now ACTA

ACTA“Few people have heard of ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but the provisions in the agreement appear quite similar to – and more expansive than – anything we saw in SOPA. Worse, the agreement spans virtually all of the countries in the developed world, including all of the EU, the United States, Switzerland and Japan.” —  If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA – Forbes. Continue reading

Copyright and Public Domain

Along with blogging comes responsibility and ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Copyrightable works include but are not limited to literary works such as articles, blog posts,  stories, journals, or computer programs, pictures and graphics, as well as audio and video recordings. Copyrights do not need not be applied for as they are vested in the creators of intellectual property.  When we create something — we own the copyright, which is our exclusive right as the creator to control who else can use our work and in what manner.  *

Berne Convention – International Copyright Agreement

The Berne Convention (for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) was established in 1886 and is an international agreement that governs copyright. The Berne Convention requires its signatories to recognize the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries (known as members of the Berne Union) in the same way as it recognizes the copyright of its own nationals.

In the United States, the Library of Congress officially registers copyrights which now last for the life of the author plus 70 years.

  • In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not do a work for hire, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death.
  • In the case of works for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Public Domain

Thanks to organizations like Creative Commons, licenses like the GNU Free Documentation License, and the public domain, there are many images,  songs, movies and documents freely available for you to download and republish without fear of  violating copyright.

Public domain definition: The public domain is generally defined as consisting of works that are either ineligible for copyright protection or with expired copyrights. Public domain refers to the total absence of copyright protection for work The public domain is a range of abstract materials commonly referred to as intellectual property which are not owned or controlled by anyone. The term indicates that these materials are therefore “public property”, and available for anyone to use for any purpose.

Once in the public domain, it is always in the public domain. However, any variation on any public domain work becomes the property of the person making the variation, and it receives an automatic copyright, just as do completely original works.

When Copyright Protection Becomes Public Domain
The data below will let you know when you can safely use a piece of art or music without permission because it is now in public domain after copyright protection expiration, or how long the copyright protection will last.

Published before 1923 – now in public domain.
Published from 1923 to 1963 – When published with a copyright notice © or “Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]” – copyright protection lasts 28 years and could be renewed for an additional 67 years for a total of 95 years. If not renewed, now in public domain. Published from 1923 to 1963 – When published with no notice – now in public domain. Published from 1964 to 1977 – When published with notice – copyright protection lasts 28 years for first term; automatic extension of 67 years for second term for a total of 95 years.
Created before 1/1/1978 but not published – copyright notice is irrelevant – copyright protection lasts for the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2002, whichever is greater. Created before 1/1/1978 and published between 1/1/1978 and 12/31/2002 – notice is irrelevant – copyright protection lasts the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2047, whichever is greater. Created 1/1/1978 or after – When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression – notice is irrelevant – copyright protection lasts for the life of author and 70 years based on the longest living author if jointly created or if work of corporate authorship, works for hire, or anonymous and pseudonymous works, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.

* Reblogging and WordPress.com Terms of Service: “By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.”

Discussion

I have listed many free sources of images on my Resources page and my list is by no means complete.  Do you have favorite sources of free images,  songs, movies and documents you would like to share? If so please comment so I can include your sources on my Resources page as well.

Related posts found in this blog:

Copyright basics for bloggers
How to copyright your digital works
Content theft: The come and get it solution
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
SplogSpot: Dealing with content thieves
Copyright: Fair Use Limitations
What is copyright?

Second Life Virtual Pets Copyright Dispute

virtual horseIf you aren’t into having a virtual  Second Life then you most likely have not heard of Ozimals or Amaretto Ranch Breedables. The former make and sell breedable virtual bunnies.  The latter are newcomers who make and sell virtual horses. Well, the two have wound up in the courts over a copyright dispute.

The concept of raising artificial creatures in a video game originated with Puppy Love by Tom Snyder Productions, released for Macintosh in 1986. Digital pets were a massive fad in Japan, and to a lesser extent in the United States and United Kingdom during the late 1990s. The popularity of virtual pets in the United States, and the constant need for attention the pets required, led to them being banned from schools across the country, a move that hastened the virtual pet’s decline from popularity.  wikipedia

Here’s a copy of the Amaretto complaint document (PDF). On 21 Dec 2010 Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for Northern California issued a temporary restraining order to Linden Lab (PDF) and “all persons in active concert or participation with Linden Research” from filing DMCA notices against Amaretto or otherwise removing its content from Second Life.

“The gist of the copyright dispute between the parties is whether Plaintiff’s virtual horses infringe on copyrights associated with Defendant’s virtual bunnies.” This reminded me a little of that great line from Ghostbusters: “dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

virtual bunniesThe underlying dispute involves rival sellers of virtual animals that require the users to keep purchasing food to keep the animals alive.

Read the details > Second Life Ordered to Stop Honoring a Copyright Owner’s Takedown Notices–Amaretto Ranch Breedables v. Ozimals

Discussion:
Virtual living is huge and we are talking about millions of bucks to fake farm or and/or own fake pets.

  1. Do you have a virtual “second life” somehwere online?
  2. Are you a virual farmer and/or virtual pet or livestock owner?
  3. What can we take away from this?

Thumbs down on WordPress Reblogging

I’m a big WordPress.com fan and I do want my blog to increase in popularity but I value readers and commenters more than I value “traffic”.  I believe the intention of the new “like” and reblog feature was to assist WordPress.com bloggers to get wider blog exposure.  However, I say thumbs down to the copy-cat from Tumblr WordPress.com “like” and reblog feature. There is no provision for opting out. We can opt out of possibly related posts so why can’t we opt out of this feature too?

The Reblogging Feature Announcement

Have you ever come across a blog post that you enjoyed so much you wanted to easily share it with the readers of your own blog?  We All Like to Reblog

  1. timethief
    June 1st, 2010 at 5:58 pm
    Is there an opt-out option or are we compelled to allow others to reblog our posts?
    Andy P
    June 1st, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    There’s no opt-out as it stands, but allowing others to reblog your posts will ultimately bring more people in to read your blog. If you’re concerned then you can still make a post private, or your entire blog private.

timethief
June 1st, 2010 at 6:17 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I asked this question above: Is there an opt-out option or are we compelled to allow others to reblog our posts?
When I posted it I forgot to state the reason I asked it is because it directly relates to copyright. WordPress.com does not hold copyright on my blog contents. Myself and my guest authors do. What benefit in other blogger reblogging our entire posts on their sites. Why would their readers click through to read the original when the full contents have been “reblogged” without our permission? Why should we be compelled to take part in a scheme that robs our blogs of traffic and gifts those who are too lazy to research, write and publish their own post on the same topic. What benefit is there to those using search engines to find the SERPs returning duplicated content. rather than unique relevant content?
Thank you, in advance, for an reply that specifically addresses the copyright issue and the ability to opt out of this “reblogging” at your earliest convenience.

This comment “in moderation” has not been posted as of June 3, 2010 @4:38 PM.

The Reblogging Experiment

Today Richard (thesacredpath) tried some experimentation with the new wordpress “like” and reblog feature.  He reblogged my Basic Netiqueitte for Beginner Bloggers post and then he reblogged his reblog of my post.

The Reblogging Results

1. All links to the original article are gone in the second-generation reblog.The read more and site link at the bottom of the second-generation reblog link back to the second blog, NOT to the original.

2. The possibly related posts links to the reblogged post, NOT to the original.

Limitations of Fair Use

Here’s a good summary of the limitations of fair use from Jonathan Baileys article The Limitations of Fair Use.
1. Focus on commentary and criticism: Make sure that you are using the work to talk about it. Using a passage from a book to review it, quoting from an essay to rebut it or showing a clip from a TV show to comment on it are all likely fair uses.
2. Use as little of the work as possible: Use short quotes when practical and only thumbnails of images. Really hone in on what you need to use and leave out anything you don’t.
3. Attribute obsessively: Always make sure that you attribute the works you use, not just to help strengthen your point, but to show good faith. Though not always important to a fair use argument, it discourages any potential conflicts before they happen.
4. Focus on transformation: Finally, and most importantly, make sure that your use of the work does not replace the original, but expands upon it. When using someone else’s work, as yourself the question “Do people, after seeing my use of the content, have a reason to view the original?” If the answer is no, then the use is much more questionable than it would be otherwise.”

So readers, what’s your opinion of the value of this wordpress.com “like” and reblog feature?

Read also:
Say No to the Plethora of Exclusive Like Buttons
Is WordPress.com now a Social-Networking/Micro-Blogging Platform?
Reblogging

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Content thief! Jaipal Banal & mkarunreddy

pixelshopinfo splog

pixelshopinfo splog

Readers, today I discovered several of my posts from this blog have been stolen from it.  There’s no one I detest more than a content thief.

Below the whois information on this low life from hell and those who choose to host the splog at pixelshop.info but please do not send any traffic to this splog  by clicking into it.
These are the sponsored footer links : Designed By – Web Hosting free by Online Bingo – Free Bingo – Gala Bingo – Download WP Themes – Backlinks
Reverse Whois:
Updated  June 1st, 2010 to remove personal information after removal of my content and an apology by the site owner mkarunreddy was made.

You are a content thief! I am a paralegal. You have stolen my content from my blog ie. these entire posts:

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/21/select-a-wordpress-com-theme-2/

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/19/how-to-select-a-wordpress-com-theme-part-1/

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/19/optimize-for-perfection-optimize-for-speed/

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/20/google-wave-goes-wide/

and breached my copyright which states:

Copyright © 2007 – 2010 All Rights Reserved

For copyright purposes, onecoolsitebloggingtips.com is not in the public domain. The fact that this blog owner publishes an RSS feed does not grant any rights for republication or re-use of the material except in the manner described below.

All content in this blog created by the blog owner and her guest authors is the property of the blog owner and her guest authors and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and cannot be stored on any retrieval system, reproduced, reposted, displayed, modified or transmitted in any form, electronic or otherwise without written permission of the copyright owner except as noted below.

A brief excerpt of content (up to 50 words) may be quoted as long as a link is provided back to the source page on this blog and the authorship is correctly attributed.”

Remove all of my content from this site and every other splog you own at once. I’m following up with a DMCA removal notice to your web host.

Update May 23, 2010

My content has been removed from this splog however, the site does bear watching. Any blog with a tagline like the one on this site: “Technology is like fish. The longer it stays on the shelf, the less desirable it becomes.” bears watching. The free theme studded with footer links to bad neighborhoods is gone and  has been replaced with another theme. The remaining content on the site all looks as if it’s also been stolen.

Related posts found in this blog:
What is copyright?
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
Spotting a splog
Trackback and Pingback spam: What to do?

Protect Your Intellectual Property: Develop a Strong Brand

World Intellectual Property Day imageApril 26, 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of  World Intellectual Property Day. Celebrations for this year’s edition of World Intellectual Property Day will revolve around the theme “Innovation – Linking the World”.

During the entire month of April, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will raise IP awareness within the education sector and among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).  CIPO’s Outreach team will offer IP networking opportunities and presentations nationwide. Continue reading

Protecting your images online from theft

The Perfect Watermark
Image by Jayel Aheram via Flickr

Updated: June 4, 2010 Watermarking any images you place on your blog or website is a practice used in addition to posting a copyright notice or license, and both are used to deter image theft. I have previously reviewed several free watermark generators available online that can be used to display copyright on your images either one at a time or in bulk, prior to uploading them to your blog. This article provides a link to another approach to deterring online image theft that you may wish to consider using.

… here’s a technique for you to make it just a bit harder for someone to get your images. Here, right-click on the image and click on Save Image As or Save Picture As to save it on your computer. See what you “saved”.  — Cover Your Images

Updated: June 4, 2010 Protecting your images from online theft and reblogging

If you need more help then devblog has provided it in a forum thread:

wp.com users cannot add/edit the HTML (or in this case the PHP) files. I’ll try to explain as best as I can.You know, when you add a photo to your post, you click the media button, upload the image to your blog (or link it from another URL) then you click the “insert into post”, right?

Well, after doing that, you would switch to the HTML Editor, then you will see the HTML code that’s behind your post. After switching to the HTML editor, you would need to replace the existing HTML for the image that you just added with the code I provided; of course, you would need to make the necessary changes so that your image is displayed. Basically, the only things you would need to change in the inline CSS are the values of the “background” property as well as the “width” and “height” properties. Those would be the bits in capital letters:  (minus the square brackets)

[<img style="background: transparent url(YOUR-IMG-URL) 0 0 no-repeat; border: 0; height: IMG-HEIGHT; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0; width: IMG-WIDTH;" src="http://tfockler60.files.wordpress.com/YEAR/MONTH/nothing.gif" alt="Helghan Soldier" title="Helghan Soldier" width="IMG-WIDTH" height="IMG-HEIGHT" />]

You would also have to upload the “nothing.gif” to your blog and point to it as shown in the example above (that’s why I put YEAR and MONTH in caps because those will be different in your case).

You’d have to repeat this process with every image you want to post (however, you won’t have to upload “nothing.gif” everytime you want to do this because you can always point to the same image).

The drawback is that it can be a laborious task if you have LOTS of images…

See also >  Google Webmaster Central > “Hiding text or links in your content can cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy since it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors. ”  Hidden text, links, images, javacript, videos

Related posts found in this blog:
Thumbs down on WordPress reblogging
How to copyright your digital work
Copyright basics for bloggers
What is copyright?

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Subscribers/Readers Notice

Please forgive me for being behind in publishing new posts, answering comments and leaving comments this week. I have spent most of my blogging time this week arguing with blog scraping content thieves (who have stolen entire posts from both of my blogs),  and sending DMCA complaints to their web hosts to get my content removed from the splog sites. I have now set my RSS feeds to summary so I can get back to blogging. I apologize for the inconvenience but I can see no other alternative.

Related posts found in this blog:
Copyright basics for bloggers
What is copyright?
Copyright: Fair Use Limitations
What to do about copyright
How to copyright your digital works
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
Spotting a splog

Copyright basics for bloggers

(1) Copyright basics

The ignorance and misinformation about  copyright and fair use  has escalated as the numbers of content thieves and e-beggars has dramatically increased. Bloggers are expected to be able to sort facts from fiction, so if you are a newcomer becoming familiar with copyright law  is part of the territory.

Republishing an excerpt, correctly identifying the author of it, and providing a link back to the original post is the correct protocol.

That protocol insures you are not violating copyright law, and encourages any reader who wants to read the full post to click the link and visit the original post on its author’s site.

Succinctly stated whether or not the author of any original digital work has posted a copyright notice on their site or the work itself is irrelevant. It does not change the fact that they hold the copyright to their works and it cannot be re-published unless or until their permission has been given.

The only time a complete post can be legally re-published is when prior written permission has been received from the copyright holder. In other words, the same rules that apply to the world of print also apply in cyberspace.

copyright

copyright

Copyright Law: 12 Dos and Don’ts
10 Big Myths about copyright explained
What is copyright?
Copyright Basics (from the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of Congress) PDF
Plagiarism versus copyright infringement

(2) Dealing with content theft

Although the only time a complete post can be legally re-published is when prior written permission has been received from the copyright holder, theft of copyrighted material that is posted splogs that are pimp out for advertising income is common. Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (PDF – 330KB)

Suppose content thieves took the whole post and gave you a no-follow link ie. a link that will not be crawled by search engines.  Well, that’s  a detriment to you and to your blog. Why would any reader on the splog site click through to your site using that link to read the whole post when they have just read whole on the splog? Interpret the end result as lost traffic – no hits will come your way from the splog site.

And, how would you feel if the copy of your original post on their blog ends up placed higher in the Google search results than your original does and the splog site get far more hits that the original post does? Be aware that this can happen. Worse still it creates duplicate content which Google can penalize sites for.

(2) Spotting a splog
Splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed. Detailed information on spotting a splog.

(3) Detecting whether or not your work has been stolen

SplogSpot is service that keeps track of spam blogs or Splogs. The splogspot spam database can be queried by anyone using the SplogSpot API. This will help blog related services, directories etc keep their sites clean.
Copyscape also provides search facility you can use to look for copies of your page on the web.

(4) How to copyright your digital works
As the blogging phenomenon expands, copyright concerns become quite important. Technology makes it really easy to copy, modify and share information, whether we talk about text, images, audio or video. The problem is that the vast majority of people do not have a clear understanding of the Copyright Law, which might result in illegal and costly mistakes. As a blogger it’s important to take the steps required to protect your digital works and post a notice that you have done so to deter content theft.

Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators.
MyFreeCopyright.com provides protection for Literary Works, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Sound Recordings.
creators.icopyright.com- protection for Literary Works Visual Arts Performing Arts Sound Recordings

Create circled C copyright symbols in HTML with & #0169; (ampersand-no space, pound sign, 0169, semi-colon).

Related post found in this blog:

What is copyright?

Spotting a splog

Spam blogs, sometimes referred to by the neologism splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed.  Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen from from the RSS feeds of other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.  Source: Wikipedia

  • Steals blog content with no notice to the original authors or accreditation.
  • Fails to provide a means of contacting the site owner (often the contact and about pages are broken links).

In her article How to spot a splog Lorelle says:

“Splogs, spamming blogs, are often little more than link farms, a bunch of text stuffed with links to whatever they are selling. The easiest way to identify a splog is when nothing adds up nor matches. The content doesn’t match the links. The content doesn’t match the blog title or post title. There is a signature or name in the article that doesn’t match with the name of the post author or submitter.”

spyglass
spyglass

Angela Swanlund is a new blogger friend of mine.  She’s been a full time professional freelance writer for 2 years, and part time for over 7. She’s an Author for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, History and Culture and is currently retained on contract to research the 1946 unsolved “Moonlight Murders” that took place in Texarkana, Arkansas. True crime is her normal genre, and she has covered such notorious individuals as Ronald Gene Simmons and the West Memphis Three.  On occasion she  does freelance work for area newspapers such as the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, a 3 state regional farming publication. She also owns I also own Rural Family Living, LLC, a small retail sales business.

Angela and her co-author Patti Ann Stafford, the Editor of The Music Rocks!,  have an emerging blog. Angela recently had blog content stolen and she has shared some splog spotting tips that I’d like to pass on to you. Source

 

 

How to copyright your digital works

stick'em up

Copyright Law: 12 Dos and Don’ts – Click the title link and find 12 Do’s and Dont’s that will clarify what you can and what you can not do as an online publisher.

As the blogging phenomenon expands, copyright concerns become quite important. Technology makes it really easy to copy, modify and share information, whether we talk about text, images, audio or video. The problem is that the vast majority of people do not have a clear understanding of the Copyright Law, which might result in illegal and costly mistakes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators.

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved.

cc spectrum

cc spectrum

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related posts found in this blog:
Content theft: The come and get it solution
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
SplogSpot: Dealing with content thieves
Copyright: Fair Use Limitations
What is copyright?

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Content theft: The come and get it solution

Although I do not get paid to blog, I take my blogging very seriously. I invest time and energy into researching and writing my posts. I have a strong sense of ownership of my words and that means I’m “attached” to what I write. I know that it is my attachments and aversions that prevent me from becoming a more open minded and generous person.  And, I’m constantly working at breaking away from and letting go of the attachments and aversions that lead to the creation of negative emotions.

I have just read A Radical Solution to Blog Content Piracy and I’m mulling over what I read.  Below is an excerpt but please click through to read the whole post.

Two big blogs, maybe more, have adopted a radical approach to copyright. You are absolutely free to copy, paste, steal, modify, and otherwise manipulate whatever you find at the wildly popular Zen Habits and The Simple Dollar. The content on both blogs is public domain.

come & get it

come & get it

This decision by  two notable bloggers, who have decided to “give it all away”,  is one that is a 360 degree turn about from my current policy posted on my Copyright & Disclaimer page which states:

“All content in this blog created by the blog owner is the property of the blog owner and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and cannot be stored on any retrieval system, reproduced, reposted, displayed, modified or transmitted in any form, electronic or otherwise without written permission of the copyright owner except as noted below.

A brief excerpt of content (up to 50 words) may be quoted as long as a link is provided back to the source page on this blog.”

Part of that consideration is that my policy reflects how I treat the writing of other bloggers. If I were to change my policy how would I view those who do maintain the position that I currently take?

Conclusion: I’m not ready to change my policy at this time but I do want to know what my readers think.

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you get paid to blog?
  2. What is your current copyright policy?
  3. Would you consider introducing a come and get it policy?


Related posts found in this blog:
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
SplogSpot: Dealing with content thieves
Copyright: Fair Use Limitations
What to do about copyright
What is copyright?

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SplogSpot: Dealing with content thieves

The only time a complete post can be legally re-published is when prior written permission has been received from the copyright holder. In other words, the same rules that apply to the world of print also apply in cyberspace. Perhaps the most annoying thing about being a blogger is having to deal with the parasites who steal copyrighted material and post it on splogs that they pimp out for advertising income.

I previously published Splog Off! Dealing with content theft that lays out the steps to take to lodge a DMCA complaint but now there’s something new.

What is SplogSpot?
SplogSpot is service that keeps track of spam blogs or Splogs. The splogspot spam database can be queried by anyone using the SplogSpot API. This will help blog related services, directories etc keep their sites clean.

How does it work?
SplogSpot has automated software that can detect spam blogs. SplogSpot also accepts manual splog submissions, that are first reviewed and then added to the database.

How to participate?
When ever you come across a Splog (spam blog), you can report it to SplogSpot.

How it helps?
Maintaining a database of spam blogs will help us to avoid splogs whenever possible. Also, on request, the splogspot spam database will be made available to any good willed person or project :) And the most important of all, you can use the SplogSpot API to determine the genuinty of a blog, when handling blogs in your custom built application or anything like that. SplogSpot also provides a full dump of the Splog database (weekly).

Several posts that I would like to recommend:
Five Media Hosts for Media Offloading
Are Creative Commons Licenses Confusing?
Protecting Content by Using Static Pages
Limitations of Fair Use
Reference

Splog Off! Dealing with content theft

Splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed.

splogoffimageSpam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites (*bad neighborhood checker).

Lorelle has covered the process for taking action when your blog content is stolen by a blog scraping splogger in her post. The walk through for a DMCA complaint has been provided below as well as some blogging tips.

DMCA Complaint Process

Updated reference: March 3, 2010 DMCA Takedown 101

The next time you see that someone has been stealing your content, try to follow these steps:

(1) Determine if they have taken an entire post or if it’s an excerpt that then links back to you.

(2) If it is an excerpt with a link, don’t worry about it and ignore it, even if the excerpt contains inaccuracies. It would probably be considered “fair use”, and you would be wasting your time trying to stop it. Think of it as advertising for your blog.

(3) If it is an entire post, find out the contact information for the site by using this  whois link

  • In the section entitled “Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name”, enter the domain name
  • Click “Search WHOIS”
  • The contact information should appear under “Registrant”
  • If there is no contact information, scroll further down the page to the IP address, and click on it
  • A new window will open, and information about the host of the IP address will be listed

(4) Send a DMCA notice to the domain registrant and the host. A sample follows, just replace the bracketed information with the correct corresponding info.

[DATE]
[REGISTRANT/HOST]
[CONTACT INFORMATION]

DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT NOTICE

To Whom It May Concern:

I believe my original work, found here [URL OF YOUR POST] has been infringed upon by this website [URL OF THE SCRAPER’S POST].

The entirety of my webpage referenced above has been reproduced in violation of the Copyright Berne Convention, [INCLUDE THIS NEXT PART ONLY IF TRUE] and a clear notice of Copyright Protection is included in the sidebar of each of my webpages.

Please get in touch with me at your earliest convenience at [YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS] to inform me of any actions you have taken on this matter.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the infringing web pages is not authorized by my registered copyright and by the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed.

[YOUR SIGNATURE]
[YOUR NAME]

Blogging tips:
(1) Report the splog to Google adsense
The motivation behind these content thefts can be summarized in one word – greed. No one blogging for money wants to be placed in bad standing with Google. And some bloggers discovered that making the DMCA complaint and also reporting the site to Google adsense has been extremely effective.

After making the DMCA complaint if one simply clicks the crap out of every Google adsense ad on the splogger site this will bring the site to Google’s attention. Next if one locates and clicks the report button on any Google adsense ad and then provides all the same copy and paste DMCA complaint information (see above) to Google they will act. Following up the DMCA complaint with the complaint to Google adsense appears to be the best way of making it difficult for the the splogger to start up on the same site again or, to start another splog site.

(2) Set blog feeds to summary and reduce the number of posts you make available
Many bloggers report that their posts are stolen withing seconds of being published. It’s blog feeds that make your posts “easy pickings” for content thieves. Bloggers have the choice of providing setting the number of posts to make available on feeds. They also have the choice of setting feeds posts to summary rather than “full”. In addition, hey can choose which text will be displayed in the excerpt.

Lastly, they can insert the following : “If you are not reading this at (enter your URL here), then you are reading stolen content. The owner of the site you are on has stolen this article and is making money by you reading it. If this article interests you, please go to (enter your url as a live link) to read it on its original site and do not return to this one. Thank you.”

(3) Plugins for self-hosting wordpress bloggers
I’ve
previously published a post on this subject that you can consult. If you are a self-hosting blogger you will find the links in the post to three useful plugins that you can install in that post.

(4) For clarity post a copyright notice
Copyright notices are not required for works to be protected by copyright. Although posting a copyright notice is not required, having one posted will clarify your position with regard to exercising copyright if you do make a DMCA complaint. If you click this link to my previous post you will find information of three different kinds of copyright notices that you can use. Some bloggers seem to be unclear about Creative Commons copyright licenses so do be cautious when it comes to selecting the correct one for your purposes.

N.B. This is my disclaimer and copyright notice.

Happy blogging!

Several posts that I would like to recommend:
Five Media Hosts for Media Offloading
Are Creative Commons Licenses Confusing?
MyFreeCopyright: Free Copyright Verification
Protecting Content by Using Static Pages
Limitations of Fair Use

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: seed the vine :: reddit :: furl :: TailRank

What to do about copyright

I’d like to say a warm thank you to all those bloggers from both wordpress.com and wordpress.org who keep hitting on this forum post and coming to my blog looking for information.

Update: Not all of the sites linked to in that forum post are still online.

Related Post – What is copyright?

If you have downloaded a blog template from wordpress.org then you can use these plugins:

  • Angsuman’s Feed Copyrighter
    Inserts copyright message in Feeds. The message is of the standard format (can be customized): Copyright © 2007 YOUR BLOG NAME. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact legal@BLOG_ADDRESS so we can take legal action immediately. By Angsuman Chakraborty.

If you are a wordpress.com blogger then you cannot use the rss feed plugins listed above. Your choices are limited to posting the following notices:

  • Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

  • iCopyright – “This is a great opportunity for those who like Creative Commons-style licensing but have not found the exact terms to suit them to easily make their content available for limited reuse.” — Jonathan Bailey in Creating a Custom License.
  • Defend your rights online, fight against online plagiarism and content theft. Copyscape finds sites that have copied your content without permission, …

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape Search for copies of your page on the web.

References:  text widget

 

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Copyright law protects original works, such as websites, books, music, paintings, photos and video.

An original work
A work is “original” if it contains some elements you created and did not borrow from others. Typically, when you create an original work, you own the copyright. As the copyright owner, you can control how others use your work. For example, if you write a movie script, you have the right to, and can prevent others from, copying your script, sharing it with others (“distributing it”), making a movie or book from your script (a “derivative work”), or publicly performing your script as a play or movie. You also have the ability to sell or give away these rights. In other words, you could sell the right to make a movie based on your script to a movie studio.

If you use someone else’s copyrighted materials without permission, that use generally violates the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, and is copyright infringement. So if you create a new work and include parts of other people’s works in it (such as an existing photo, lengthy quotes from a book or a loop from a song), you must own or have permission to use the elements you borrow. For example, if your script is based on an existing popular series, you should obtain permission to use the elements you borrow from the series.

Copyright law is different from the law of personal property. If you buy a physical object, such as a movie on DVD, you own the physical object. You do not, however, obtain ownership of the “copyrights” (the rights to make copies, distribute, make derivatives and publicly perform or display) in the content of the movie. The fact that you have obtained physical possession of a DVD does not automatically grant you the right to copy or share it.

If you make your own movie, it may include many copyrighted works in it. So, if you decide to make a movie based on your script, you must either create all elements of it on your own, or have permission to use the elements you borrow. Especially keep in mind that photos or artwork hanging on the walls of your sets and music on the soundtrack (even if you own the CD or MP3) may be copyrighted. You should not include copyrighted works such as these in your movie without authorization.

A few other things to keep in mind are:

Just because a work does not include a copyright notice (e.g., © 2007 Suchandsuch Corporation) does not mean the work is in the public domain. Copyright notices are generally not required for works to be protected by copyright.

Just because a work is easily available on the internet or elsewhere does not mean you may use the work freely. Look for terms of use, such as Creative Commons , that explain how works you find on the Internet may be used.

Isn’t it in the public domain?
Just because a work is freely available, does not mean it is in the “ public domain .” Copyright is for a limited term; it does not last forever. In the copyright context, “public domain” means the copyright term has expired. Once a work is in the public domain, it may be freely used without permission from the copyright owner.

Determining the term of copyright can be complex, particularly because copyright laws vary from country to country. Also, even if the copyright on a work has expired, you should be careful about how you use a public domain work. For example, a book may be in the public domain, but it might not be okay to scan the book cover to cover and post it on the internet. This is because the particular version of the book may contain new material subject to copyright that is not in the public domain, such as cover art or footnotes.

What about fair use?
In limited situations, you can use copyrighted works without permission from the copyright holder. It can be difficult to figure out whether use of copyrighted works without permission is legal, though, because the laws in this area are often vague and vary from country to country.

The copyright law in the United States has a doctrine called “ fair use ”. Fair use provides a defense to copyright infringement in some circumstances. For example, fair use allows documentary filmmakers to use very short clips of copyrighted movies, music and news footage without permission from the copyright owner. Fair use is a difficult concept because determining whether something is a fair use involves weighing four factors. Unfortunately, weighing the fair use factors rarely results in a clear-cut answer.

Rather than applying a fair use test, many other countries have specific exceptions to copyright infringement. The number and type of exceptions vary by country, but they frequently allow copyrighted materials to be used without permission from the copyright holder for activities such as nonprofit research, teaching, news reporting, or private study.

If you incorrectly decide that something is a fair use or falls into an exception to copyright infringement, you could be held criminally and civilly liable and have to pay damages. So talk to a lawyer if you have questions regarding fair uses of copyrighted works.

What happens if you upload copyrighted materials to a website without permission?
By law, web hosts are required to take down videos, music, photographs or other content you upload onto a website infringes someone else’s copyright. If you believe that the web host has mistakenly taken down content you uploaded that you own or have permission to upload, notify them of that. Finally, if you upload infringing content repeatedly, a web host will terminate your account and you could face criminal and civil penalties. So please, respect other people’s copyrights.

References:
Creative Commons
U.S. Copyright Office Forms
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Copyscape
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (PDF – 330KB)
Plagarism versus copyright infringement

See also: 10 big myths about copyright explained

blogging tips, copyright, DMCA, legal issues, wordpress

Watermark Your Images

Updated December 2012

(1) PicMarkr Features

  • Upload files from computer or grab them from your Flickr, Facebook or Picasa account
  • Batch image processing
  • Add text watermark, image watermark or tiled watermark
  • Easy to use: minimum settings, no need to download or install anything
  • And yes, its free (You can buy a Pro version, if you need more features)

(2) Watermark Tool

  • No registration forms to fill out, just upload your file and select your watermark options to quickly and easily watermark your images.
  • There’s absolutely no cost whatsoever and you can watermark an unlimited number of images. The only restriction is on file size.
  • With the ability to choose the text, color, transparency, and more, you’re able to personalize your watermark to suit your needs.

(3) WaterMark.ws

A tooll that allows you to watermark your photos online. The power of this tool outperforms every other downloadable watermark software on the market. It offers features like batch processing, resizing, image compression, text and image watermarking with transparency and organizing your photos just to name a few. No download. No installation!

(4) Free Batch Watermark Images Online

This is a unique application to batch watermark your images online. You can use this application to batch watermark your images. You can select the font, position and other options from the menu on the left. Watermark multiple images and download them at once. Add nice looking custom watermarks to your images.