Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Talk About A 'Hot Mess'.....

Theft is uncool, no matter how you spin it. Theft of ideas, concepts, credit, actual items or intellectual and creative property. It's wrong. Period.

I recently read a blog entry about a theft of an original idea and how it got lifted and then presented as an original idea by the lifter. In our industry. (Insert grimace here.) I've had my own recent experiences with other people taking credit for what I have contributed to a project, design, or product. (Insert snarling growl here.) And of course, we deal with the comments of 'I can do that' and the resulting copycat behavior from browsers at every single show we participate in. (Glad we inspire you with what we do - now get creative, don't freakin' COPY us!) Today, I discovered yet another instance of nasty underhanded behavior out there in the world...

There is a web site that is stealing our posts from our blog, plus my Retail Design blog. The slimy perpetrators are re-broadcasting our original content on their site without our knowledge (up until this morning) or permission. They are not writing their own post and providing a link to ours - they are duplicating our posts. They are probably subscribed to our RSS feeds - which is a great way to find new ideas. But it was never intended to be a lazy way to fill up your own blog or site with content. 'Intellectual Property Copyright' sound familiar, guys? Not to mention our legalese disclaimer that states any reproduction of our blog content is prohibited.

Over on their sidebar, they have a list of 'Contributors' and we are listed for both of our blogs that they are stealing from. So are a lot of other blog writers who, I'd guess, have no idea that they are 'contributing' to this web site. For Free. There are photographers whose images are being replicated. There are original ideas and tutorials and words being reposted - plagiarized. It is made to appear that these posts were written by us for this particular site. Nope.

Something that they obviously haven't considered is not only are we hoppin' mad, but all of the dealers and vendors and artisans and businesses that we get permission from to use photos & info in OUR original posts have NOT given permission for use in other places by other people. So these web site owners have got a hot mess of ugly just waiting for them. I can imagine that the winery whose photos I have on my design blog would have a legal department field day with these creeps.

Thing is, they appear to be in the UK, have no contact info, moderate all comments, and so contacting them is a bit of a dilemma. I'm slamming them with a comment on every last post they've stolen from us, telling them to immediately remove the post. We'll see how that works. If you have any advice about this issue, please share. If you'd like to add to the growing pile of comments awaiting moderation, please do! Their web address is Scroll down that page to view four of my original blog posts just on that page. You can see content from us from May through September in their archives.

And I have to add this: If you have ever even thought about stealing, borrowing, snagging, lifting, or otherwise perpetrating a theft of any idea, product design, concept, content, writing, or image from an online or offline source - DON'T!

Received a reply this morning and am sharing it on my design blog:
I am sharing all of the emails back & forth between the site designer and I on that blog. Turns out he is only the template designer and has nothing to do with the site. So I have apologized to him both privately and publicly for accusing him of stealing my content. I do, however, now know who the site owner/admin is, and am pursuing that person with guns blazing. ;0)

Update Monday, September 14: The site is down!

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