What a day. I was so frustrated I needed to take a long hot shower to calm myself down. I guess, in some sick and twisted way, I should be flattered that someone found my content worthy of duplication. But, I’m not. I’m pissed.

This splogger actually had the audacity to copy/paste pages of content from my site verbatim. He couldn’t just scrape it from the feed because I only use excerpts on that blog; In order to get the full content, he would actually need to visit my site directly and scrape it from there. To make things worse, it wasn’t just one or two pages, it was 20+. (I know, I know. At least it wasn’t hundreds or thousands.)

I decided to contact Blogger about it and I followed their form process and thought everything would be peachy; they’d get my e-mail report, have a look at the website and clearly see that it was just ripped content for financial gain (yea…AdSense, surprise, surprise), and then nuke the blog to splog hell. Hmmm…couldn’t be more wrong. Things don’t work like that in Google-land.

Now, I’m not bad-mouthing Google. I use at least one of their services everyday, and I believe the company, as a whole, does a tremendous amount of good, however, they make it incredibly arduous for a legitimate webmaster to report a violation of their copyright. On top of that, they’re slowly, but surely, losing sight of their “do no evil” motto. Allowing sploggers to steal content and making it difficult for legit webmasters to get the issue resolved is pretty “evil” to me.

You see, as soon as I filled out the form, I received an automated e-mail response:

Hi there,

Thank you for your note. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the text of which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office website: http://lcWeb.loc.gov/copyright/ ) and other applicable intellectual property laws, which may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity.

To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail, not by email) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that pursuant to that Act, you may be liable to the alleged infringer for damages including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that you own an item when you in fact do not. Indeed, in a recent case (please see http://www.onlinepolicy.org/action/legpolicy/opg_v_diebold/ for more information), a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. This must include identification of specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by either the dates in which they appear or the permalink of the post. For example, http://example.blogspot.com/archives/2003_01_21_example_archive.html#2104575.

2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing upon the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above.

YOU MUST IDENTIFY EACH POST BY PERMALINK OR DATE THAT ALLEGEDLY CONTAINS INFRINGING MATERIAL. The permalink for a post is usually found by clicking on the timestamp of the post.

3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit Blogger to contact you (email address is preferred).

4. Include the following statement: “I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”

5. Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”

6. Sign the paper.

7. Send the written communication to the following address:

Google, Inc.
Attn: Blogger Legal Support, DMCA complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
Mountain View, CA 94043

OR Fax to:

(650) 618-2680, Attn: Blogger Legal Support, DMCA complaints

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

Ooookkkkaaaay. What?

So, someone is blatantly ripping off my content — and not just a page or two here or there…an entire section — and I need to spend two hours of my life tracking down every instance of infringement, cross reference it with my own entries, type it up in a neat letter (annotating sections, mind you), print it, sign it and mail (or fax) it? They don’t even include a toll-free fax number.

The only thing this tells me is that if I want to make some money by stealing someone else’s content, I just need to create a Blogger blog and sit on it because Google will defend my right to be a content thief to the end. They’d even fund it through their AdSense program.

Not only that, they’ll try and scare away some novice webmasters who really don’t understand what their allusion to “fair use” means. Seeing that $100,000 price tag would scare them off and make them think twice about sending in the info and just let the content thief go about his business.

In my case, it wouldn’t be hard for someone with half a braincell to figure out it was a case of content theft considering the the splogger actually copied everything including my byline and content making direct reference to my site.

It would be nice if Google could have a human review the copyright complaints to see if it has any basis before making the webmaster jump through all those hoops — seeing as how Blogger is the home of, like, 90% of all scraper splogs.

So, while my complaint works its way through Google red tape, the splogger is earning money (through AdSense of all places) off my hard work. *sigh*

(By the way, I jumped through the hoops and opted to fax in my complaint. I’m just waiting to see how long it takes to resolve the issue.)

Update: Woohoo, the offending pages are all gone. It seems that Google finally reacted to my Fax and it only took them 12 hours. I’m rather impressed (but still pretty dismayed I even had to go through all the trouble).

Update…again: It seems Google had nothing to do with removing the spam compiled pages. It was the blogger himself (which has remained awfully quiet). Seems that he checked his Technorati backlinks which lead him to my entry, he got scared and pulled the pages from the site. I just received a message from Google to the fact — so, all things considered, it would have taken Google nearly 48 hours to remove the offending pages. I’m no longer “rather impressed”. And not surprisingly, the blog is still up.