but I’ve really got to have a rant — followed by some truly useful links, I promise! — about the Vile Pond Scum known as Scrapers.
Scraper blogs are those ad-splattered automated blogs that steal content from the RSS feeds of hard-working real human bloggers, slap on some Google Adsense ads, and churn it back out again with flagrant disregard for law or ethics. They’ll even hijack your illustrations — so you pay for the hosting space and bandwidth, the Pond Scum Scrapers flash your pretty pictures to make their blogs look deceptively genuine…
Yep, those scraper blogs have finally ticked off the mild-mannered Domestik Goddess enough to make me drop the oven mitts and fight back.
They’ve cost me money, created confusion, sucked up my high quality crafting and gardening time, and (worst of all) spoiled much of the idle socializing that I’d had planned for this past sunny spring weekend.
Where’s the Beef?
(Why are scrapers a problem?)
Let’s say you’re an independent artist… *analogy alert* … with a studio full of stunning collages, all beautifully framed.
You put hours into creating these works — thinking up fresh new original ideas, collecting the precious raw materials, arranging the elements to match your vision, putting on the final polish, selecting the frames, assembling the finished piece…
But that’s not the end of your Labour of Love.
Those paintings aren’t going to get up and go out and sell themselves to he art-loving public who’ll treasure them forever!
No, you still have to tote your portfolio around to galleries and Arts Council meetings, trying to negotiate with agents and curators to look at your work, get a toes in the door and just pray that they’ll take an interest.
But there’s a lot of competition out there…
And one day, you waltz yourself into a brand-new gallery with a brand-new original collage under your arm, full of optimism, chin held high. You’re sure that today’s the day you’ll break through into the big-time art world… but shock! The gallery walls are already covered, top to bottom, with perfect copies of your original work!
“Why would I want to offer your collages to the public?” asks the gallery owner, “when this charming fresh new artist, Admin from Indonesia, has given me exactly the same thing?
“Sure, according to long-standing international copyright agreements, what’s protected in one country is protected through most of the civilized world.
“And true, even in the US (now the the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been enacted) any original work — whether it’s in pictures, music, writing, anything; yes, even blogs — is automatically copyrighted as soon as it’s created.
“Sure, we all know that stealing is just plain wrong…”
Don’t relax just yet!
“Tell you what,” the gallery owner says, “if you think this guy might be copying your original work and passing it off as his own, all you’ve got to do is prove it — and I’ll be happy to stop selling his work (eventually). Of course, there’ll still be copies floating around on the market for years to come… but hey, it’s only art, right?
“And if you want to make a living, forget that creative stuff! Why not join the 21st century, get yourself a couple of nice scraper blogs…
“Oh, that reminds me — here’s Admin’s bill. You’re hosting them, so you’ve got to pay the price of getting his pictures up on my gallery wall.
“You have a nice day, now!”
Whatcha Gonna Do?
So I’ve been wasting far too much of a lovely sunny weekend here:
- tracking down that ubiquitous Pond Scum Scraper named admin
- writing the required “Cease and Desist” letters, asking Pond Scum sooooo politely to please stop stealing my stuff, pretty please, if it’s not tooo much trouble?
- filling out DMCA forms to get web hosts and domain registrars to take action against the scrapers they serve, not to mention the advertising folks who make a Pond Scum Scraper’s life worth spending the 3 whole minutes it takes to set up yet another fake blog…
Because I’d hate for you to have the same degree of sunshine-wasting hassle, if the scrapers hit your blog — here are some handy resources to help you squish the bottom-feeding scraper-blog operators like the repulsive cockroaches they are:
- Who is the owner of the scraper domain? Look here: whois.domaintools.com
- What company is hosting the scraper site? Look here: whoishostingthis.com
- Here’s how to tell Google that you’ve been violated by a site they’re listing: http://www.google.com/dmca.html and here:
- And here’s a really top-knotch post from SEO Logic that explains in simple terms what you can do about Internet copyright infringement; See also how to file a copyright infringement complaint with the major directories and search engines for step-by-step instructions to make life a whole lot less profit-rich for content thieves.
And if all else fails, you can always go straight to advertisers. I’ll bet these big reputable companies would prefer not to have their corporate brands used to pad the pockets of Pond Scum content theives, if it were only brought to their attention.
Squeaky wheels, baby, squeaky wheels…
Now, go get ’em, tiger!