Adrian Rojak Pot has an an article about all the people stealing his work and pretending it is their work.
This is a pretty common occurrence for websites. It happens to us fairly often, and the response we get is pretty much what he gets.
We even get people who ask permission to steal. People say, “Can we post your article on our website?” and we say, “Why don’t you link to the article?” They often don’t want to hear that.
But why should we be surprised by this? If you have a subculture that believes, insists on believing, that anything you think ought to be yours should be yours, one should expect this.
Here’s some of mine:
The Way It Ought To Be
Let me update an old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, copy.”
If someone takes somebody’s else’s work, and presents it as his own, we are not talking about someone slightly misguided. At best, we’re talking about someone extremely ignorant. More often, we’re talking about somebody who has some rather severe psychological problems when it comes to this area.
Since we don’t have SWAT teams of psychologists ready to treat those with this problem, let’s be a little more rough-and-ready about it.
What we ought to do is call these people for what they really are. Parasites. Leeches. Losers.
What we ought to do is to do so publicly.
And let’s use all the normal, good old Anglo-Saxon words to describe the activity. Words like “steal.” Words like “theft.” Common words that everyone understands and which apply perfectly to the action, legal quibbling notwithstanding.
Why It Isn’t That Way
But that won’t happen, and do you know why? Because doing so opens up the risks that the thieves might sue anyone who simply tells the truth.
Not that they could ever win a case, but for the defendant, just hiring a lawyer for a frivolous suit means they’ve lost.
If It’s Good Enough For the RIAA and MPAA . . .
One mechanism a website can use against anyone who uses a U.S. based ISP when simple persuasion will not work is one form of DMCA notice to the miscreant’s ISP. You can see an example of such a notice here
Let the ISP play the heavy.
I suspect the nations of the European Union have or soon will have equivalents to this.
By the way, this is not the “tell us who he or she is so we can sue them” type of DMCA notice. That’s what is called a 512(h) notice (named after the provision of the U.S. law which authorizes it). This is a 512(c) notice. This is a “get my stuff off or else, ISP” notice.
Unless the ISP gets a counternotification from the infringer saying, “Under penalties of perjury, this isn’t copyright infringement,” (which only the most brazen or foolish will try), the ISP is required to remove the infringing material.
This ought to work most of the time, usually for only the cost of a letter to the ISP and an obscenity-filled email or website tantrum response by the miscreant.