What is the best way to deal with plagiarism of your work on the web?
January 8, 2004 2:19 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to deal with plagiarism of your work on the web? Somebody pointed out to me that a right wing talk show has posted an obvious plagiarism of my original Google Bombing article from 2001. [more]

Last week I sent email to the webmaster, show prodcuer and Glenn Beck, none of whom, not surprisingly, bothered to respond.

Not only am I upset about the plagiarism, it really bothers me that there are ads plastered all over the site, meaning these guys are making money off of my work, and I can't even get a response from them, let alone get my work removed from their site. Short of hiring a lawyer to draft a cease and desist, and then consider starting litigation, are there other options for dealing with this? Or advice on getting an intellectual property lawyer to help me here would also be appreciated.
posted by adam to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Did you have a proper copyright assertion on your page at the time you published it?

If you're fired up enough, an artfully drafted letter by an atty won't set you back very much. ($200 or so)

You might also want to see if you can't get other blogs to start publicizing the theft. Shame works.
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:25 PM on January 8, 2004

You might also want to see if you can't get other blogs to start publicizing the theft. Shame works.

Fupped Duck might be on to something... why not organize a Google Bomb at them on the phrase "plagiarizing bastards?"
posted by COBRA! at 2:27 PM on January 8, 2004

I'd consult a lawyer first - I wouldn't do something potentially libelous via a google bomb.
posted by drobot at 2:35 PM on January 8, 2004

Response by poster: The Google Bomb idea had certainly occurred to me. While I could get people to link to him with some disparaging term, it seems rather juvenile to me. (Yes, I know I originated the term and practice, but Google Bombing is the equivalent of schoolyard name-calling, not a substitute for civic of legal action.)

I know enough about copyright law to know that there does not need to be an assertion there to secure a copyright. ("Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.") However, since I don't have a *registered* copyright for the work as of yet, and didn't get it within 3 months of publication, litigation could be more difficult.
posted by adam at 2:36 PM on January 8, 2004

I don't know if this helps, but archive.org has a copy of your article dated June, 2001.
posted by timeistight at 2:54 PM on January 8, 2004

I was going to suggest that you become a Glenn Beck Insider and post a few little questions about this on his message boards, but alas, he uses porntastic autorenewal on all subscriptions, so you can't just drop $7 for a month and get your jones on.

Stealing someone else's work is truly scumtastic. I'd suggest that a few people who're in his listening area record his shows, and then I'd be happy to provide the bandwidth for you, Adam, so you can share them until he acknowledges his theft.
posted by delfuego at 3:52 PM on January 8, 2004

Cease and Desist Letter Template - $3.99

I'm sure you could find somebody else's cease and desist letter online and copy it, but.. heh heh.. you know.
posted by Hildago at 4:25 PM on January 8, 2004

posted by mischief at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2004

You don't necessarily need a formal C&D to ask them to remove the offending article from their site. My normal practice is: 1) First e-mail politely requesting they remove your copyrighted material from their site. 2) If ignored, a more assertive letter describing your actions should they choose to ignore further requests, which are 3) Determine (via WHOIS) who their Web host is, examine their Acceptable Use Policy for relevant data, and e-mail abuse@ or support@ to politely explain that one of their clients has published your copyrighted work to their site without permission, have not responded when you asked several times for its removal, and this is a violation of their AUP (with an appropriate quote.) I've never had it go beyond this point; usually, the Web host either contacts them and forces them to remove it, or suspends their account.

Good luck!
posted by Danelope at 5:08 PM on January 8, 2004

See if you can get a lawyer to help you file a DCMA complaint against them; Their ISP will be obligated to take their site down until the matter is settled. Yay for shitty laws!
posted by anildash at 7:03 PM on January 8, 2004

yeah, send a DCMA notice to their ISP.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on January 8, 2004

heh, what's intresting is that he's trying to get people to googlebomb and repalce G.W. Bush with Micheal Moore as google's first response to "miserable failure". Seems to have gotten him up to number 3.
posted by delmoi at 10:21 PM on January 8, 2004

How would the DMCA apply in this instance?
posted by gyc at 11:41 PM on January 8, 2004

quote from his bio:

"I truly believe if I play every single one of my cards face up on the table they can never be taken from me and played against me. I'm not hiding anything. I never feel I've exposed too much," Beck told the St. Petersburg Times. "I'm not smart enough to lie. I'd never be able to cover my tracks."

juvenile or not, i linked his site to the words "plagarizing bastard".
posted by centrs at 5:38 AM on January 9, 2004

Semi-idle question: What effect does the DMCA have on sites hosted outside the US? Zero?

I ask as my research shows reciprocal agreements for copyright laws between countries via the Berne Convention, but haven't seen anything on the DMCA abroad...
posted by romakimmy at 6:08 AM on January 9, 2004

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