How do you stop a content thief who has not plagiarised your work, but obviously has done so to others?
April 30, 2006 10:54 PM   Subscribe

How do you stop a content thief who has not plagiarised your work, but obviously has done so to others?

You arrive at the website. Sleek and modern, you explore it. Something seems familiar... then it hits you: most of the content on the site has been plagiarised. You do not own the rights to any of the content but feel compelled to do something to stop this website from making money.

On the desk before you is a personal computer.

> submit DMCA or cease and desist to host

You do not own the rights to the plagiarised words. Try again?
posted by maxpower to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Contact those who DO own the content.
posted by IronLizard at 11:05 PM on April 30, 2006

You could contact the site admin and point them to the original website. However, site admins are not obligated to do anything until contacted by the owner with a cease and desist. So what IronLizard said.
posted by special-k at 11:10 PM on April 30, 2006

An email to the admins may do the trick. They may not realize than the content is plagiarized, and might be happy to get rid of it so they won't be sued. See this. Admittedly a blog, but it was taken down in less than 24 hours.
posted by tula at 11:49 PM on April 30, 2006

Do you actually know the precise work that has been plagiarized, or do you just suspect it has been? If you do know for sure then obviously contact the original author, but if that fails then you can turn to shame: create a site of your own that shows the original and the copy side by side. Make sure to use screen captures so that the evidence cannot be removed later. Make it clear that the person has taken someone else's work as their own.

You can then promote your callout site if you want, to get the word out. But you don't have to. The callout site will eventually find its way into the google results for people searching for the site, and word will (slowly) spread. In a way this is more devious than getting the person's site taken down, because no one will really ever know what happened in that case. This way, even if the site is removed the evidence still remains. Not only that, but if the perpetrator is not aware of what's going on they will look like even a greater fool having been publicly busted doing something morally reprehensible and completely oblivious to having been busted. You almost want this more than to have the site quickly and quietly removed (unless it's obvious that the person still continues to profit from it in some way.)
posted by Rhomboid at 12:03 AM on May 1, 2006

Do you have Creative Commons?
posted by k8t at 1:00 AM on May 1, 2006

If your work has some form of 'following' - such as a blog, say - you may find your supporters will share your views and make them known to the new sites' owners for you/as well as by yourself - I saw this happen recently with a mimic'd photo blog, to great effect.

The mimic received such an outpouring of opinion they backtracked quickly and changed the format overnight.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 2:05 AM on May 1, 2006

There is nothing you can do, other then trying to contact the orgional author.
posted by delmoi at 2:44 AM on May 1, 2006

Is there some reason you're not telling us what the site is?
posted by languagehat at 6:11 AM on May 1, 2006

Like the link Tula pointed to, this site is hosted. Having emailed blogger support, their apparent policy (as determined by a series of emails) is to do nothing unless the original author goes through with the DMCA.
posted by maxpower at 7:19 AM on May 1, 2006

Leverage the mob. Post the site to a few forums or blogs and let the rightious anger of viral anti-marketing do it's work. IP laws are for big corporations. Shame is the blogger way.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:59 AM on May 1, 2006

Basically, what most people here said: there's not much you can do, except maybe contact the original author(s).

That said, you are not the one who is being wronged here; therefore, you couldn't go to court (i.e. the authorities) and get a cease-and-desist order. Only the owners of the material could do that.
Also, the owners could have allowed the abuser to use the material. Or maybe they just don't care.

In other words, you don't have a case here.
posted by sour cream at 12:41 PM on May 1, 2006

The callout site Rhomboid suggests would be a copyright violation on your part, unless you have the permission of the copyright holder.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2006

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