Thursday, March 31, 2005

That DMCA Thing....

Some time ago, I tracked down a large number of sites which were plagiarizing my web content, and asked that they stop. Three replied:

  • "An intern did it; she no longer works here.";

  • "I paid my web designer for original work; I'll have his head for this!"; and

  • "It's good content. Can I keep using it?"

Yesterday I tracked down more instances of plagiarism. Responses have already come from most people contacted, with quick removal of plagiarized material. The difference, in my opinion, is that the major search engines are now responding very quickly to DMCA notices.


  1. I once found a lengthy piece of material (equivalent of about six single-spaced typed pages of text) from Political Graveyard, apparently cut and pasted in toto on a politically conservative site, without any attribution to me or my site.

    The site didn't have any contact information, so I looked up the domain name owners, and wrote to them asking mildly for at least a link back to my site with the material.

    Within about an hour, I was receiving numerous very alarmed messages from the site owners. The "intern who no longer works here" line was used, but they also used heavy-duty words like "infringement" and "liability".

    They were just incredulous that I was only asking for attribution and a link. They obviously thought I was in a position to have seized their assets and their firstborn children.

    I happen to think that U.S. copyright law has been twisted so far to the advantage of content owners as to be abusive of the public interest, but it was interesting to see it from the other side.

  2. I agree with your last point, particularly in terms of the duration of copyright.

  3. Of course, this stuff could all have been done before DMCA, so the only thing DMCA adds is the perceived bigness of the stick.

  4. What the DMCA, and DMCA compliance, does is create an efficient mechanism to get plagiarists removed from Google and other search engines. For the typical online content thief, that seems to be pretty darn scary.


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