It sickens me when someone steals our content and blatantly copies and pastes our writing — in total — on their website without our permission. However, I do love the hunt of catching that red-handed thievery, and today, I introduce you to “Tom Jones International” and that site’s theft of our fresh content.
Yesterday, I wrote an article for Boles Blues called — Tom Jones and the Burning Gospel Blues — and, this morning, I discovered that article was copy and pasted in full on the Tom Jones International site as you can see in the screenshot below:
This is the URL for my stolen article on the Tom Jones International website:
Isn’t it interesting how that URL doesn’t reflect the title of my actual stolen article? Here is a link to a PDF capture of the full article theft in case our article is removed from that website.
Discovering the theft was actually pretty easy this time. A Spam Pingback arrived in the BolesBlues.com administration area that ratted out the thievery.
You can see how all the links in the screenshot below directly line up with what I have reported in this post:
I cleared that Spam Pingback from Tom Jones International and published it on the Boles Blues article so you can see it is/was a live and existing link. Here’s the how the Pingback currently looks on that original post in the comments stream:
Checking the Tom Jones International website, I found a contact link in the sidebar for one “Ellen Sterling” — firstname.lastname@example.org — and that must be the same “Ellen” who wrote the paragraph explaining the motive of Tom Jones International in the first screen capture in this report.
I just sent Ellen this email with — “Notice of Copyright Violation: Remove Copied Article” — as the subject:
Ellen Sterling —
You copy and pasted my review of the new Tom Jones article and republished it on your website without my permission:
Delete my article from your website or I can send you a bill for the republishing rights.
I’m surprised that a person with your bio would violate the rights of another author:
Let me know when you have removed my content.
I will let you know if and when I receive a reply from Ellen Sterling.
Ellen also has a relationship with The Huffington Post. Here is a screenshot of her bio page on that website, and isn’t it curious and telling that she promotes herself as an — “award-winning journalist and editor” who “loves to do research” — in light of my stolen article that appears the Tom Jones International website she “owns/moderates?”
Here is a PDF archive of Ellen Sterling’s Huffington Post bio in case it disappears in the future.
Here is a screenshot of a public WHOIS search for “tomjonesintl.com” — and there is, indeed, no doubt “Ellen Diane Sterling” owns and operates the website as the administrative and technical contacts:
Let’s hope Ellen Sterling does the right thing and removes my stolen article from her website and apologizes — in full and without exception — for her transgression against us.
Usually, when these content thieves are caught bloody-handed in their Copyright flaying and infringement, they are immediately indignant and defensive and accusatory — and sometimes they even claim innocence and ignorance — even though copying and pasting and republishing is a conscious, processed, deliberate, act of sabotage against the original author.
Ellen replied to the email. She said she removed my article from her site. She said some other nasty things and then threatened me with legal action unless I remove this article.
The article remains.
This was my reply to her:
Well, that was quick. They removed your review and replaced it with another one which also was ripped from somewhere — the New York Times!
Akismet appears to believe that site is sending out Spam Pingbacks — and I guess that’s how you get shaded when you use material, in full, from other resources without permission.
Oh, and a “Pingback” — Spam or otherwise — is not proper notification or permission to republish. Pingbacks are only sent out after the fact when the deed is already done.
If that site is using NYTimes content in the way Boles Blues content was used — there will be a lot more trouble in store than just my article because the Times will want real money. I was just hoping for a genuine apology and some sort of public recantation.
Mr. Boles you have called me names, threatened me and been generally rude. I linked to your site and gave you substantial credit for being knowledgeable. I’ve removed the offending copy without resorting to name-calling or posting your private information all over the net. A simple, private email to me would have accomplished the same thing. In fact, I received your email about my “theft” at 9:24 am PDT and it was removed at 9:28 am. PDT. That was before I saw the nonsense above. One must ask if you favor execution for someone who steals a car or wallet. You clearly don’t believe in “let the punishment fit the crime.” Ridiculous. But, on the other hand, you helped to publicize my site and given more publicity to a most worthwhile recording, so I must thank you.
I thank you for appearing here and I am pleased to know you are getting a lot of exposure from this article that you find gratifying.
I also genuinely thank you for giving me “substantial credit for being knowledgeable” — and if you’d just quoted a paragraph or two of my article with a link back to the original post — that would’ve been kind, and in the proper realm of “Fair Use” and attribution, and we both would have been appropriately and beneficially served.
However, when you copy and paste an entire article and republish it on your website without proper permission — you are beyond the bounds of fair use and into the arena of, like it or not, “content theft.”
I did not call you any names here or in private email — but stealing is thievery in any language or context, and when you take something that does not belong to you and then republish someone else’s property, in full, under your own banner — that is the definition of content theft and a clear violation of established International Copyright law.
I cannot vouch for the speed in which email is sent and delivered. I emailed you the Take Down Notice before the article was published. Your “email@example.com” address bounced back as non-existent. You should update your domain records to reflect a working email address because inaccurate information can be grounds for your domain being revoked or not renewed.
A bit of friendly advice: If you have other articles you have copied and pasted in their entirety from other sources, you should immediately remove them as well — or you could be in a world of future, financial, hurt.
You print that you will not publish email addresses but you print Ms. Sterling’s email and other personal information. I think this is over reacting and over kill. There was no intent to “steal.” TJI.com is just a fan website and you were given full credit for your review. Take a deep breathe and listen to Tom’s CD one more time.
Susanne Jenson —
If you are talking about the comment form not publishing your email address — that’s true if you are posting a comment here — but that certainly doesn’t apply to investigative articles we publish.
Ms. Sterling’s email address is/was public on her website and if you do a public WHOIS search on her domain as I did — her contact information is/was right there as part of the public record. I’m only reporting what she already made public. There are many ways to protect that information online and Ms. Sterling chose not to invoke that privacy.
“Full Credit” is not permission to copy and paste my entire article and republish it on her website. The Copyright law on this is quite clear.
I’m listening to Tom’s new album right now. “Strange Things” never had more meaning!
While I appreciate your defense of Ms. Sterling — I won’t allow the comments for my article become a folly rally to her defense. There are other venues for that sort of cheerleading.
It’s disturbing what happened to you, David. The last paragraph of your article says it all. There’s no remorse for what was done. There is only bad blood on their side for getting caught and then they accuse you. Point the finger at the wronged and blame them. So ridiculous.
I am glad you covered all their exits and gave them no way out with no excuses. You constructed the corners of your argument and then pinned them with irrefutable proof. Good research skills there.
This article is an excellent lesson for my students who also seem not to know the difference between plagiarism and fair use and quoting and content theft. This article, and the comments, spell it all out real clear. Thank you.
Thank you for your support, anne.
We have dealt with content theft a lot across the Boles Blogs Network and on Boles Books and on Go Inside — so we can pretty reliably predict the behavior of the guilty party, and that’s why it is so important to preserve what happened when it happened so there’s no wiggle room now or later.
I, too, am disappointed by the response of the guilty — in what social or human system of justice does the guilty ever get to chose their punishment?
I am keeping all my options open.
Your 15 minutes of fame is over.
Susanne Jenson —
You are no longer contributing to the positive flow of information in this comments thread, and so we will not be publishing any more of your commentary.
I believe your defense of an indefensible act is embarrassing and unattractively reveals your character.
It’s just flabbergasting how indefensible the act really is and yet how people keep coming in trying to come up with excuses.
Yes, the reaction to getting caught was unfortunate — but expected — since we deal with those sorts all the time here.
The best way to behave in the situation is to simply say — “Sorry. You caught me. Article removed. Never happening again.” — and then slink off and disappear forever and never complain about the ramifications of your getting caught because, your must confess, if it were not for your bad behavior in the first place nicking content that did not belong to you, nothing would’ve happened. Remember, you started it.