As I blogged on the weekend, an article I had written back in the 1990s and had updated for publication on Squidoo.com, had been plagiarized by greenerfamilies.com. I immediately used Greener Families’s contact form to tell them to take it down. As of this writing, I have not heard anything from them.
So now that I’m feeling more human, I’ve followed the advice of two excellent articles on what to do when someone or some thing has plagiarized your work.
DevTopics in How to File a DMCA Complaint talks about splogs as an introduction on how to fight back. Until I read this post, I’d never heard of splogs before:
“A splog or “spam blog” is a blog that steals content from other web sites, then aggregates and republishes the content on its own blog.”
I don’t know if greenerfamilies.com is a splog or not, but it is a strange site in that there are no last names and there is no contact information. Yet the site presents itself as a kind of company or organization that will help make people healthier and greener, a company that has professionals behind it. Legitimate companies that sell products to improve people’s lives have all sorts of information about themselves right on their websites. They don’t hide.
I also read Lorelle on WordPress’s article What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. She has excellent tips on how to find out who is behind a website or blog and how to find contact information.
The apparent owner of greenerfamilies.com also owns 33 other domains. That’s an awful lot of domains for a self-described doctor with a business. On greenerfamilies.com’s About page, John describes himself as a former Olympic athlete and a worldwide lecturer. Seems to me that someone with that kind of pedigree would not be hiding his last name. The photos look kind of, uh, generic for a couple of professionals.
Using the email information DomainTools spat out, and using the templates both DevTopic and Lorelle on WordPress provided, I emailed a cease and desist message to the two email addresses I could find, namely firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. I gave them until Friday for them to respond.
This is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of "Fat into Fuel" article at http://www.greenerfamilies.com/?p=55 is originally from my Squidoo website page called "A Nibble of Chocolate, Part Three" at http://www.squidoo.com/chocolatepartthree. This is original content, and I am the author and copyright holder. Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under U.S. and Canadian copyright laws.
Please remove this article immediately or we will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office, FeedBurner, and Google, Inc. Google’s response may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers.
I expect a response by Friday, May 20, 2011 to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter.
Meanwhile, I discovered through writing this email that – although they had not informed me -- Squidoo had restored the chocolate article that they had locked out from the public and were about the delete, the same article that greenerfamilies.com had plagiarized. Was I ever surprised! Sometimes it pays to speak up. Sometimes there is a measure of justice.