A Rant on Content Theft

OK folks, I'm more than a little irritated at the moment. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case then several someones have really enjoyed what they have read here on The Home Garden. It's not the idea of someone using my content to promote gardening, to teach someone something, or to display a plant they might want in their garden that bothers me.  In fact I really enjoy being able to share the things I do here in the garden with everyone I can, that's the whole point! It's fun to talk about it. But here's the thing that bothers me, and it's really important, permission. I've never given it. No one has asked for permission yet in the last couple weeks at least two feed aggregator websites have taken my content. One of which didn't even have a return link to this site and misrepresented the content as their own claiming it was written by "Mr. Gardener". No credit, no link, simply theft. I attempted to contact them twice through their site with no response and finally looked up the owner of the url using WHOIS and contacted that person. Since then the site is no longer up. The second site I just discovered today. I have questioned them on taking my content and haven't received a response yet. It's early so I'll give them time. The fact is this I spend time writing what hopefully are interesting posts for my subscribers, friends, and family to read. I'm not writing for Mr. Aggregator. Without my express permission it is theft, plain and simple.

How does this happen? Through subscription feeds. The offending site takes my content through the feed and puts it up on theirs in an attempt to find keyword rich content that Google and other search engines will love. Then they can charge advertisers for space on the webpage or use Google Ads on the site to generate revenue off of someone else's hard work. The funny thing about the site taking from my feed is a line on the bottom of each feed that says "Not to be reproduced or reblogged without permission." It's now reprinted all over their website plain as day on all my stolen posts.

I know you're probably curious as to what this site is but for now I'm choosing to not call it by name. I want to give the site the chance to do the right thing and I also don't want to send any traffic over there.  I'll keep an eye out for other bloggers I know and try to let you know if I see your site there. It was mere happenstance that I found it today. I did a search on Google where I typed in "site:www.growingthehomegarden.com" and found various mentions of my URL, one of which happened to be the site. I recommend you do this for your own blog if you are concerned about your content being stolen and used.You could also use "link:www.yourblog.com" to see who is linking to your site. Sometimes links you that have put into your content are not blocked or removed.

My strategy for dealing with content theft is this:
  1. Contact the individual and request removal/conversation.
  2. If contact doesn't work contact the ISP and report them.
  3. Contact Google and report them.
  4. Contact a lawyer for a cease and desist letter.

I hope the last step is unnecessary. Most reasonable people should remove the content after first contact.

Unfortunately if content theft of this blog continues I may have to change the feed back to partial feeds only. I know this will disappoint some people but I hope you understand the reasons why.

Anyone know a good lawyer?


If you are reading this and it is not on the website URL: www.growingthehomegarden.com please follow the URL and contact me, the content may be stolen and in violation of copyright.