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How to Handle Blog Plagiarism

I suspected that it was only a matter of time before some slug stole (yet again, it's happened before!) my copyrighted work here on Scott's Web Log since that's been rampant in the last few weeks. Sure enough, one of my d-friends, in this case Ronald Gregory who writes "The Poor Diabetic" (on Twitter, his handle is @thepoordiabetic) sent me a message via Twitter that my blog had been plagiarized by someone ambitious enough to lift my content, but too lazy to give proper attribution to me as the copyright owner, in spite of my copyright notice which is quite clear that attribution is required (see the right margin of my blog under the heading of "Content Rights" for more detail). Let's just say the user of my content never bothered to contact me and ask for permission to use my content!

I am merely the latest diabetes blogger to have had my blog content stolen without attribution. Kelly Kunik at Diabetesaliciousness(TM), for example, recently wrote a post entitled "Diabetes Blog Plagiarism Is Rising Faster Than My Blood Sugar After A Six Course Pasta Dinner!!", as have several other diabetes bloggers. However, I have dealt with this issue quite effectively in the past, so I was very well prepared this time around!

Back on April 25, 2007, I wrote a post entitled "Copyright and My Cat". Experience taught me how to deal with copyright invasions very effectively. But I figured it might be worth repeating the contents from that post here, as well as the correspondence (redacted with my personal information removed, naturally) to the offending domain registrar and host. For my fellow d-bloggers dealing with this issue, I hope this helps you deal with these creeps!

Copyright and My Cat
April 25, 2007

The other day, I was searching the Internet for something completely unrelated to diabetes and stumbled upon a posting that looked strangely familiar because it was actually MY 2006 Year-End Annual Review on developments on diabetes, except that none of the links I had in the original post were included, nor was there any acknowledgement or attribution of me as the author or even my blog address.

After investigating further, I discovered at least a half dozen of my other postings had been lifted, again without the links, pictures or attribution. That probably wouldn't have bothered me too much since I discovered that the site was registered to someone in Thailand (although the domain was registered with Yahoo! in the U.S. and hosted by a server in Texas) but what really got me mad was the fact that they lifted my post about my cat Phyllis and didn't even have the courtesy to include her picture!


Anyway, that brought me back to Amy Tenderich's post on the same issue and her recommendations on how to deal with this increasingly annoying problem. I would like to add a few simple, but useful steps. I would add that including some language on your blog about content rights likely helps your position should someone steal your work!

1. First, if you discover one of your posts somewhere online, identify the company that has registered the domain name where the copied post appears. This can easily be done at WHOIS.net. Note that this identifies only what company actually handled the registration of the site in question, not necessarily the company that hosts the site -- sometimes they are the same, but not always. Make note of the information listed -- it may be easiest to print a copy for reference.

2. Next, confirm the company that HOSTS the site in question. After some trial and error on my part, I discovered that you may conduct a domain name lookup at the following site, http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp, which enables you to locate the site administrator or host. Again, copy or print the information you find there.

3. Finally, write a letter citing the copyright infringement. Amy recommended filing what is known as a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation notice, which protects intellectual property and injured parties can file a detailed complaint for review by the web host. If the host does detect copyright infringement, they will issue a warning and can even shut down the offending site if necessary. As Amy recommended, I used the sample provided as my template. Include the web address of the offending site, as well as the site with your post, and send it to the HOST identified in step 2. There should be a mailing address, adminstrator, fax and e-mail address which you may use. I sent both an e-mail complaint, and a fax copy with my written signature just to make sure it gets to their lawyers.

If I have any further updates on this issue, I'll post them, but I hope this additional information saves you time and effort if this ever happens to you!


What to Say in Your Copyright Complaint:

I used the basic template outlined in the sample letter noted above. But after identifying both the domain registrar and host as GoDaddy.com, I made a quick telephone call to their customer service department and asked what e-mail address I should send my DCMA Copyright Complaint to, and was told to send it to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., just be sure to send this correspondence to the right domain registrar and host!

Here's what I said in my correspondence:

To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date Friday, Oct 9, 2010 at 10:48 PM
Subject: DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement


Sender Information:
C. Scott Strumello
Publisher and owner of "Scott's Web Log" (http://blog.sstrumello.com/)
MY PERSONAL E-MAIL ADDRESS
Tel/Fax: (I USE MY GOOGLE VOICE NUMBER FOR THIS)
MY MAILING ADDRESS
CITY, STATE ZIP

Recipient Information (THIS WILL BE UNIQUE IN EACH CASE):
GoDaddy.com
14455 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 219
Scottsdale, AZ 85260 USA
Tel: 480-505-8899
Fax: 480-505-8844


Regarding (THIS WILL BE UNIQUE IN EACH CASE AND MAY OR MAY NOT BE THE SAME AS THE HOST):
Domains By Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, AZ 85260 USA
Tel: 480-624-2599
Fax: 480-624-2598

C/O Copyright Agent for Notice of Claims of Copyright Infringement

Sent via: e-mail
DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement
re: [http://questions.freediabetescure.info/ (IP 173.201.216.41)] (BOTH OF THESE ITEMS WILL BE UNIQUE IN EACH CASE)


Dear GoDaddy.com, registrar and host for Domains By Proxy, Inc. (AGAIN, UNIQUE IN EACH CASE):

I, C. Scott Strumello, owner and publisher of "Scott's Web Log" (http://blog.sstrumello.com/) certify under penalty of perjury, that I am the only agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner of certain intellectual property rights.

I have a good faith belief that several items or materials listed are not authorized by law for use by the above named domain name owner or their agents and therefore infringes the copyright owner's rights. I hereby demand that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, my I am able to file a detailed complaint for review by you as the both the web host and registrar.

My contact information is as follows: (YOU SHOULD INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO. HERE)

C. Scott Strumello
Publisher and owner of "Scott's Web Log" (http://sstrumello.blogspot.com/)
MY PERSONAL E-MAIL ADDRESS
Tel/Fax: (I USE MY GOOGLE VOICE NUMBER FOR THIS)
MY MAILING ADDRESS
CITY, STATE ZIP


Infringing material that I demand be disabled or removed in consideration of the above:

The URLs for these are as follows:

http://questions.freediabetescure.info/d-laid-d-art-day-32/

http://questions.freediabetescure.info/a-diabetes-meme/

http://questions.freediabetescure.info/roche-social-media-summit-part-1-weve-only-just-begun/

http://questions.freediabetescure.info/public-health-is-enough-to-chronic-non-fight-transmittable-diseases-bek/

http://questions.freediabetescure.info/no-d-blog-day-classic-tv-on-dvd/


Allegedly Infringing items or materials:

The URLs for these are as follows:

1. http://questions.freediabetescure.info/d-laid-d-art-day-32/

2. http://questions.freediabetescure.info/a-diabetes-meme/

3. http://questions.freediabetescure.info/roche-social-media-summit-part-1-weve-only-just-begun/

4. http://questions.freediabetescure.info/public-health-is-enough-to-chronic-non-fight-transmittable-diseases-bek/

5. http://questions.freediabetescure.info/no-d-blog-day-classic-tv-on-dvd/

Location of ORIGINAL WORKS:

These correspond with my copyrighted work which can be found my my website known as "Scott's Web Log" (http://blog.sstrumello.com/) at the following URLs for my original, copyrighted work:

1. http://blog.sstrumello.com/2010/09/d-layed-d-art-day.html

2. http://blog.sstrumello.com/2010/09/diabetes-meme.html

3. http://blog.sstrumello.com/2010/09/roche-social-media-summit-part-1-weve.html

4. http://blog.sstrumello.com/2010/10/is-public-health-doing-enough-to.html

5. http://blog.sstrumello.com/2010/10/no-d-blog-day-classic-tv-on-dvd.html


My actual or electronic signature follows:

Sincerely,
(YOUR NAME & BLOG INFO GOES HERE)
C. Scott Strumello
Publisher and owner of "Scott's Web Log" (http://blog.sstrumello.com/)

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