Tag Archives: content scraping

Copyright, blogging, mumble, mumble…

Timethief, a very experienced and honest blogger, writes a wonderful blog with the main purpose of helping people to become better at blogging. She puts very useful links in the sidebar of her blog as well as in her articles. She is a wonderful resource who I  cannot recommend too highly. I frequently follow her links and have learnt masses that way, though sometimes I get overwhelmed by it all.

Today I followed a link to something called Copyscape which scans the web in seconds to see if a page from a blog has been copied elsewhere on the internet.

Copyscape made suggestions as to which pages to check, it’s a very clever programme.

I ran the programme on a very early post of mine,  for the bread pictured above, one in which I had posted a formula for making a loaf of bread.

This bread  has the peculiar distinction of being baked from time to time by Andrew at the loaf as part of his amazing range of rye breads. I am sure he has adapted it to suit his own requirements and his customers’ tastes but he kindly refers to it as my bread.  It isn’t really my bread, just my rendition of an old technique used by German bakers.

Sure enough the formula and my text has been copied and pasted here. What is annoying about this is that the writer then says, in their post, oh but I don’t understand part of the instructions, can someone explain it?  I am puzzled why the author didn’t simply contact me? Is there any explanation? Is there any way to contact the author on their site to open a dialogue with them?  No.

Now, I know that it is possible to go through a process of responding to copyright infringement and I guess I could do that, but life is short and I think on this occasion I am not going to bother. Part of me wants to run that Copyscape check on each and every page of my blog, part of me thinks this way madness lies.

I know that one can copy and paste almost anything you see on the internet. I copy and paste recipes from my friends’ blogs  to print off and carry down to the kitchen, but I don’t repost their recipes in full, preferring to link to their blogs instead. But I am not pure as driven snow, I have adapted recipes from books that I love. If the recipe is shown by permission on the internet I try and link to where it is shown for preference.

This of course requires the blogger to do a little more work, and it requires the reader to use their mouse and click to another site. I can’t believe quite how lazy some people are in that regard, moaning about having to go to another site. It reminds me of people who want to park right outside shops and never walk anywhere!

I always credit authors and hope that people will be encouraged to buy the book, but I have my doubts as to whether I am doing the right thing.  I am aware that there are different copyright rules in different countries, which is one of the things that makes this whole business so complicated.

I hope that by offering a contact form [edit: please leave a comment on a recent post ] and an open invitation to anyone to use it to contact me, that if an author has any concerns about something I have written that they would contact me and I would then promptly remove anything that they considered unacceptable.  I have felt my way into this blogging world and probably like many people I tend to copy what I see others do. This of course, doesn’t make it right and it is easy to fall into the trap of saying, ‘ X writes out recipes from books so that must be all right then’.

Make up your own mind, have you really altered the recipe enough that it is now ‘yours’,  and ask yourself if the author has stated their views anywhere on how they feel about their recipes being shared?

You will find that authors have different feelings on the subject, some seeing it as good publicity, some seeing it as a straightforward breach of copyright.  I can furnish examples of this, if anyone is interested.

The good thing is that at least the person who scraped my content put a link to my original post.  But it would have been nice to be asked first and if that person really had a genuine query why on earth didn’t they ask me?

This post isn’t intended to provoke my dearly loved blogging friends into explaining their own policies on the subject. I’m just sounding off about how I feel. The plain fact is that if you write something original and put it on your blog, take great photos, pour your heart out here, the chances are that someone, somewhere will copy it and post it.  This isn’t going to go away. If your blog is getting older and more popular then the chances of this happening will increase, so think about how you feel about it and decide for yourself how and if you are going to deal with it.

I hope that, like the nice chap from the online Encyclopedia the other day,who emailed me to enquire about using one of my flower pictures,  people will feel free to ask about using content and images.  I like the idea of my stuff being of use, but I do really want to be asked first.

Related Posts :  My Baking Addiction’s post on how her whole blog was stolen – thanks to Ann for telling me about this.