Our good friend Mark (aka Podz) sent me an email this morning warning me against this site that popped up on his local radar —
http://bolesbooks.kateblogs.org/
— because that site was stealing our Urban Semiotic content via a faked “BolesBooks” subdomain — which I own as a full domain but not as that blog URL — I visited that thieving site and responded to Mark:

Hi Mark —
Yeah. Depressing. There isn’t anything we can technically do to thwart
that, right? It is especially displeasing since I don’t allow any
outside advertising on my blog. The rolling blogroll for that page
links even more dismay:
http://bolesbooks.slimblogs.net/
http://bolesbooks.jayblogs.org/
http://bolesbooks.gtblogs.org/

That kind of theft of name and intellectual property is what goaded me
into claiming my most valuable domain names as *.wordpress.com URLs so
I can protect my master plan for future expansion and dialogue using
the brand names I built.

How does Google handle that kind of theft? Does the original author get
punished for the duplicate content?
The stealing sites appear to be connected to sebabki.com
— a link farm host in Prague — so I agree there’s really no way to
stop the stealing by asking them to knock it off.
Are you aware of any ways to stop them on the WordPress.com end?
I hate this kind of thing, but at least they’re linking the real
article! The worst is when they copy and paste everything and don’t
give you one iota of evidence that you wrote the actual article.
Thanks for the heads up!
Best,
db

I wonder if anything can ever really be done to kill this kind of theft
of ideas and meaning and writing, or all we all doomed — we, the
producers of original material — and meant to suffer at the lesser
hands of those that choose to copy and paste our hopes and dreams for
their own selfish profit?
I’m sure this article will cause even more thievery and deceit in the
good BolesBooks name!

35 Comments

  1. My initial thoughts were trademark and copyright. If “Boles Books” was a registered trademark could it be stopped ? I suspect though it might take a sizeable chunk of lawyers fees to do so……..
    Have you contacted wordpress – and maybe time to nab BolesBooks etc at wordpress.com as well…….
    Do you have any idea how long those sites have been up – ie have they sprung up since the move to wordpress?

  2. Hi Nicola!
    You don’t have to do anything special to preserve or claim a Copyright. If you write it and place the content in public all Copyright laws automatically cover the work unless and until you give up those rights.
    These Spam Link farms are rampant and they live off the hard work of others. Usually when they appear on legit blog hosting sites they are deleted, but in a case like this where there are a whole gaggle of “blog” rip-off sites, it makes it hard to even contact anyone and the fact they are registered in Prague makes the matter an international affair. To whom do you turn to for assistance?
    I have secured several other WordPress.com blog names that reflect my other website domains to protect against that kind of imitation here but there are tons of blog services all over the world that are illegal and legal and not much can be done to stop the trickery.
    Those rogue sits appeared after I moved to WordPress.com and I think it’s because I started a “BolesBooks” sidebar category to keep my personal sites out of my Blogroll.
    Have you ever found another site stealing your stuff?

  3. Because it bears repeating, here is the important part concerning Copyright from the “Another Article Theft” article I linked:
    ***
    If you write something, it belongs to you instantly under the U.S. Copyright law. You are not required by Copyright law to formally Copyright your work in order to earn this protection. If you can prove you own the work, the Copyright is yours.
    Here is what the U.S. Copyright Office says:


    What is copyright?

    Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

    Note “published and unpublished” and “fixed in a tangible medium.”

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#mywork

  4. I think it would be easier to take action if the names were trademarked – I think there is protection in international law for trademarks – but I think megga bucks would be involved. Also I am not sure what the process would be to register in the first place – again that would possibly be different in the USA to what it is in the UK.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark The paragraph on trademarks and Domain names especially.
    I have to say I do the same with my name – any forums, groups, blogs – I make sure I get my name.
    My main (non blog) site has had stuff lifted and used on several occassions which I have written to the webmaster concerned and pointed out – material has either been removed or credited correctly.
    A couple of my blog posts have also been *obviously* lifted – which I ignored – they were nothing other than general musings. I do find it irritating in the extreme.

  5. What craziness, Nicola! I will check out your keen link.
    It is really too bad people steal stuff and use it under their own names.
    Even if you have a Trademark that doesn’t mean much unless you plan to coerce the offenders in court and that can quickly add up to a lot of money for just one fight and if you let one fight pass then you’ve given up your Trademark in all subsequent fights because you let that one go and didn’t “vigorously defend” your mark.

  6. UPDATE:
    I edited my article to remove the hotlinks to the rotten stealing sites.
    The WordPress.com editor makes those links live by default.
    When I was on a standalone WordPress install, I always wrote in raw HTML and links were never live unless I manually coded them that way.
    So if you want a look at what they’re doing to us, please use the good ole copy-n-paste method.

  7. I think it might just make them think twice. (Having said that as they are in Poland – it might not).
    Do you know what was more irritating than the material being lifted – being told that “immitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!

  8. I think the innocent bloggers who steal are easier to correct, Nicola, but the people I mentioned today are Pros.
    They’re out to steal original content and put it on their sites so they can sell advertising and make a profit off your back. They’re also using blog templates created by other people so that’s another form of theft right there.
    What they’re doing is the worst kind of grubbing of intellectual material: Thefting free content for third party monetization and republication.
    There isn’t much you can do about it when you’re dealing with professional assassins.
    Yes, I suppose there’s some comfort in thinking what we do here is worth stealing… but boy, does it ever ache…
    😉

  9. I think the innocent bloggers who steal are easier to correct, Nicola, but the people I mentioned today are Pros.
    They’re out to steal original content and put it on their sites so they can sell advertising and make a profit off your back. They’re also using blog templates created by other people so that’s another form of theft right there.
    What they’re doing is the worst kind of grubbing of intellectual material: Thefting free content for third party monetization and republication.
    There isn’t much you can do about it when you’re dealing with professional assassins.
    Yes, I suppose there’s some comfort in thinking what we do here is worth stealing… but boy, does it ever ache…
    😉

  10. Hi David,
    It’s interesting that people are stealing the Bolesbooks intellectual property.
    You might want to find out which service the offender is using to supply ads and complain that the blog is infringing upon your copyright.
    Getting the ad provider to yank the ads might be enough to shut down the offending site.
    I bet it doesn’t make enough revenue to be worth a potential fight because a quick check of the Overture bid tool shows there are no bids for the keyword “Bolesbooks.” Searching for “Boles” shows keyword bids ranging from 5 cents (“Your Boles Areaguide for Boles” at bolesil.areaguides.net) to a high of 29 cents (“Compare prices from 120+ sites and save up to 70% on travel.” at Sidestep.com”).
    There is some activity for “Boles” on Google, but “Bolesbooks” returns this from Google: “Your terms – bolesbooks – do not have enough search volume to show graphs.”
    The false Bolesbooks subdomain seems like a poor way to try to monetize a website, considering that other search terms make more money.mesothelioma
    I remember reading something recently where some people are choosing which intellectual property battles that wish to fight. Some places aren’t enforcing their rights against sites that result in a symbotic relationship that benefits both parties and instead are cracking down on sites that cause economic losses. Call it the YouTube effect — instead of getting the site to yank video, some content providers have agreed to supply video to create buzz for their various projects.

    Google is in behind-the-scenes talks with film and music studios trying to make newly acquired video-sharing website YouTube a gold mine, and not a lawsuit-generating black hole.

    Source: AFP.

  11. Hi David,
    It’s interesting that people are stealing the Bolesbooks intellectual property.
    You might want to find out which service the offender is using to supply ads and complain that the blog is infringing upon your copyright.
    Getting the ad provider to yank the ads might be enough to shut down the offending site.
    I bet it doesn’t make enough revenue to be worth a potential fight because a quick check of the Overture bid tool shows there are no bids for the keyword “Bolesbooks.” Searching for “Boles” shows keyword bids ranging from 5 cents (“Your Boles Areaguide for Boles” at bolesil.areaguides.net) to a high of 29 cents (“Compare prices from 120+ sites and save up to 70% on travel.” at Sidestep.com”).
    There is some activity for “Boles” on Google, but “Bolesbooks” returns this from Google: “Your terms – bolesbooks – do not have enough search volume to show graphs.”
    The false Bolesbooks subdomain seems like a poor way to try to monetize a website, considering that other search terms make more money.mesothelioma
    I remember reading something recently where some people are choosing which intellectual property battles that wish to fight. Some places aren’t enforcing their rights against sites that result in a symbotic relationship that benefits both parties and instead are cracking down on sites that cause economic losses. Call it the YouTube effect — instead of getting the site to yank video, some content providers have agreed to supply video to create buzz for their various projects.

    Google is in behind-the-scenes talks with film and music studios trying to make newly acquired video-sharing website YouTube a gold mine, and not a lawsuit-generating black hole.

    Source: AFP.

  12. Hi Chris!
    The problem isn’t really with using BolesBooks in a domain name — it’s using BolesBooks and then pulling blog entries from here and publishing them there that creates the really nasty confusion. I agree that contacting the advertisers might work well. It will be a time consuming process, but sometimes you need to fight the good fight!

  13. Hi Chris!
    The problem isn’t really with using BolesBooks in a domain name — it’s using BolesBooks and then pulling blog entries from here and publishing them there that creates the really nasty confusion. I agree that contacting the advertisers might work well. It will be a time consuming process, but sometimes you need to fight the good fight!

  14. Here’s one “merchant” that is on the faux site: MonsterMarketplace. When you click on “Contact” information on their site to send them an email to tell them their advertising is appearing on a site stealing content and violating Copyright, this is what you get:

    General Information: Contact Us
    MonsterMarketplace is an online shopping directory where vendors list their products. We simply manage the listings in the Marketplace and have no control over any orders placed through participating merchants.
    Questions About Your Order
    If you have questions about an order placed through MonsterMarketplace, please contact the merchant directly through their website. In addition, MonsterMarketplace does not stock any products, all products that are purchased are shipped directly from the online store/vendor. Try browsing
    our merchant directory to search for a particular merchant.
    Phone Numbers
    We do not have a phone number, since ordering is done through the merchants’ site. Please call them if you have any questions. You can find this information on their store landing page in MonsterMarketplace.
    Product Catalogs
    We do not have a catalog of MonsterMarketplace; please contact the website directly if you have any requests or wish to place an order.
    Please do not send orders to MonsterMarketplace e-mail addresses, they will not be answered.
    MonsterMarketplace Merchants
    Reporting a bug or problem with your listing.
    Login to the admin panel of your storefront and submit a trouble ticket.
    More Information
    For additional information about MonsterMarketplace, please review our FAQ page or join our Small Business Forums where you can chat live about MonsterMarketplace with other MC merchants.
    Modify/Update Listing
    If you currently have a store in MonsterMarketplace, and you would you like to change/modify your listing, please use the trouble ticketing system from your MC storefront admin panel.

    Isn’t it convenient they don’t have a phone number?
    It’s all a goof. The “advertisers” and the content thieves are all in bed together.

  15. Here’s one “merchant” that is on the faux site: MonsterMarketplace. When you click on “Contact” information on their site to send them an email to tell them their advertising is appearing on a site stealing content and violating Copyright, this is what you get:

    General Information: Contact Us
    MonsterMarketplace is an online shopping directory where vendors list their products. We simply manage the listings in the Marketplace and have no control over any orders placed through participating merchants.
    Questions About Your Order
    If you have questions about an order placed through MonsterMarketplace, please contact the merchant directly through their website. In addition, MonsterMarketplace does not stock any products, all products that are purchased are shipped directly from the online store/vendor. Try browsing
    our merchant directory to search for a particular merchant.
    Phone Numbers
    We do not have a phone number, since ordering is done through the merchants’ site. Please call them if you have any questions. You can find this information on their store landing page in MonsterMarketplace.
    Product Catalogs
    We do not have a catalog of MonsterMarketplace; please contact the website directly if you have any requests or wish to place an order.
    Please do not send orders to MonsterMarketplace e-mail addresses, they will not be answered.
    MonsterMarketplace Merchants
    Reporting a bug or problem with your listing.
    Login to the admin panel of your storefront and submit a trouble ticket.
    More Information
    For additional information about MonsterMarketplace, please review our FAQ page or join our Small Business Forums where you can chat live about MonsterMarketplace with other MC merchants.
    Modify/Update Listing
    If you currently have a store in MonsterMarketplace, and you would you like to change/modify your listing, please use the trouble ticketing system from your MC storefront admin panel.

    Isn’t it convenient they don’t have a phone number?
    It’s all a goof. The “advertisers” and the content thieves are all in bed together.

  16. Guess what just got caught in my akismet? A trackback link spam from the same link farm I think ……. the style is identical
    Personal view on society Blog
    Interesting posts about ‘Personal view on society’ ( URL and IP address)
    “Dress and Symbols This article impressed me very much and i want to share it with my readers.Dress and Symbols October 28th, 2006 We have long used dress and symbols, tokens, signs and badges of honour to both self identify and to communicate…Thanks alot.Link to original article”
    Prefaced by 15 ads for *personal view on society* by UMAX.

  17. Guess what just got caught in my akismet? A trackback link spam from the same link farm I think ……. the style is identical
    Personal view on society Blog
    Interesting posts about ‘Personal view on society’ ( URL and IP address)
    “Dress and Symbols This article impressed me very much and i want to share it with my readers.Dress and Symbols October 28th, 2006 We have long used dress and symbols, tokens, signs and badges of honour to both self identify and to communicate…Thanks alot.Link to original article”
    Prefaced by 15 ads for *personal view on society* by UMAX.

  18. Hi Nicola —
    You ask some excellent questions. I think they have search bots out there pretending to be legit information seekers and when they find new content they like they make a link and a post. I think it’s all automatic and invisible and the whole process sickens me.

  19. Hi Nicola —
    You ask some excellent questions. I think they have search bots out there pretending to be legit information seekers and when they find new content they like they make a link and a post. I think it’s all automatic and invisible and the whole process sickens me.

  20. I am sure you are right, and I am sure they are looking for are posts that match into the top ranking tags on WP and then setting up a blog to match. I think I may have to wsate some time looking through the wordpress tags and doing some research.

  21. I am sure you are right, and I am sure they are looking for are posts that match into the top ranking tags on WP and then setting up a blog to match. I think I may have to wsate some time looking through the wordpress tags and doing some research.

  22. I am starting to see the size of the problem – since you wrote this post in fact – because then I started getting similar – it had not happened to me before I migrated to wordpress. I finished my tagging yesterday – and since I have been on wordpress there has of course been an RSS feed for my blog – which I didnt have before.
    Is there a ways to block certain ISP’s from your RSS feed ?

  23. I am starting to see the size of the problem – since you wrote this post in fact – because then I started getting similar – it had not happened to me before I migrated to wordpress. I finished my tagging yesterday – and since I have been on wordpress there has of course been an RSS feed for my blog – which I didnt have before.
    Is there a ways to block certain ISP’s from your RSS feed ?

  24. Hi Nicola —
    If we were on our own server we could use an .htaccess file to block certain IPs but since we’re here on WordPress.com we don’t have that access.
    It wouldn’t matter anyway because the real pros — the pernicious and insidious content thieves — have too many ways around any hard blocks we set in place. Their skill is in adjusting and anticipating.
    It’s a bit of a disaster but standalone WordPress blogs have the same problems as do other blog host services.
    The only way to protect content is to create a PRIVATE blog where people have to sign in to see content. You can go that route is you wish by choosing OPTIONS | PRIVACY in you Admin panel and then choosing to close your blog to the public eye.

  25. A friend of mine has a standalone blog – not even wordpress and she has no end of problems with spam – so much so shes now contemplating the move to wordpress to use askismet – that and the fact I have sold wordpress to her.
    A private blog kind would work in some circumstances for me – but it kind of defeats the object in some ways.
    (Apologies for the very bad english grammar in the last post)

  26. Hi Nicola —
    Don’t worry about your grammar! We know where to put it at! Oh, and there’s no real way to block your RSS feed unless you took your blog totally private.
    Spam is killer. 70% of comments are Spam. Akismet can help a lot. I hope your friend listens to you!
    😀
    I agree going private locks you out of traffic and affecting the world in a good light. Sometimes we have to carry the parasites with us to the brighter horizon of understanding.