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Totally Unexpected Snowflake

March 17th, 2015 at 09:40 pm

I have a website for my critters, and on that website I have several articles about various items of interest and/or debate within the breed. I try to be educational, rather than simply opinionated, and without being too immodest I do get a lot of praise for those articles. So it irks me when someone steals them and posts them on their own website -- even if they give credit, it's still copyright theft. (Most people simply think everything on the Internet is free for the taking, but of course that's not remotely true.)

The other day someone linked to an article that, it turns out, lifted quite a bit of text directly from my website (and rephrased quite a bit more). Not only that, but the text was also used as part of an e-book they are selling. Well, that tipped me over the edge -- bad enough to steal, but to steal and then profit from it? Plus it was one of those cookie-cutter sites that's basically the same for every breed, with a few specific items thrown in. So I dashed off an email demanding they either give me credit or remove the text, and also that they compensate me for the use of my work to day or purchase the rights to it for the past and future.

I'm not usually confrontational, unless I get worked up, and of course I immediately felt I'd been a little rash. Of course I also didn't expect any response, or at best a flat-out refusal, and had decided I wasn't going to bother pursuing it regardless. Imagine my surprise to get an email from the site owner apologizing, along with a $100 goodwill payment! I thanked her, told her I'd consider the matter settled, and offered my services on a work-for-hire basis if she ever had a need. Wink

That $100 snowflake will go toward my 52-Week Challenge, knocking out a couple of the larger numbers.

5 Responses to “Totally Unexpected Snowflake”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I hope that person learns not to take before asking in the future. That was nice to be compensated however. So because your article was linked you came to find out about the issue?

  2. snafu Says:

    Good on you for taking the lead and making the effort to be confrontational in a situation that needed firmness. Everyone seems to think they are free to copy and paste but when done for profit, it 'sway over a line of ethics.

  3. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Good work!

  4. doingitallwrong Says:

    Thanks! CCF, someone sent a link to the article on the other site, and since it's a hot topic in our breed I checked it out. Halfway through reading I thought the text sounded awfully familiar! Wink I ran a Copyscape comparison and about 38% of their page was directly lifted from mine, and most of the rest was just slightly rephrased (I wrote mine in first person, they switched some of it up to second person.) My article wasn't linked or credited on their page in any way -- I would have been much less irritated if it had been.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    You did the right thing, and I'm glad the person who stole your text admitted the mistake and compensated you.

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