• Thou shalt not steal

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

    The Web is built on the hard work of honest people who devote their time and energy to creating original content. The global epidemic of content theft violates people's rights and discourages the creation of new web content. (Source)

    As you will have noticed over the last fortnight (I must say I pulled out all the stops), I had to resort to change the terms of sharing of the original contents of this blog now prohibiting any republication. As specified in the short note I wrote prior to this article, those sites complying with the previous terms and which had republished original materials with my permission may of course keep them but may no longer be permitted to borrow anymore as from now on (for more details see Related articles). Sorry about that but I have given serious thought to this matter and my decision is final.

    What's up ?

    Those who have been following me since the beginning of this venture will remember that initially, when I started this blog, all my contents (except for graphics) were released under a Creative Commons licence1 allowing anyone to republish any article provided no changes were made and direct source and due credit were given. Upon realising some of my writings and translations attracted more comments elsewhere, I felt a little frustrated to see others reaping the benefits of my hard work. In an effort to go half way and in order to prevent commercial websites (or financed by advertising/donations) from making easy cash at my expense while I'm not seeking anything in return — and so that I would know where to go and read the comments — I had thus decided to include a clause specifying that reproduction was prohibited without my prior consent and that this mention should imperatively appear at the end of any republication.

    Up to now everything worked out fine. All the more since, as a new reader (who may recognise herself) observed lately, I also occasionally allow myself to pick up some apples in other people's backyard, in some cases providing « extra value » (according to another reader who may also recognise himself) such as adding editorials or endnotes in order to avoid resorting to easy copycatting/padding activity which seems to have been adopted by a large number of blogs. Incidentally, I never really saw the point of doing that.

    Hail to the thieves2

    And precisely one of those paid websites reposted one of my original translations giving entire credit to someone else. Upon visiting the blog in question to which my work had been wrongly credited, I saw indeed that only the name of the author of the original source in English had been mentioned whereas its translator (yours truly) and her blog had gone directly out the window! An unfortunate oversight? Despite all due efforts to clearly indicate the authorship of original articles and translations (including direct links) right under headings? No way. I further noted that both title and illustrations had been slightly altered. To pull the wool over my eyes? So glimpsing quickly I might have overlooked it — particularly as to date I have already published almost 600 articles.

    So I browsed all their blog posts (fortunately they don't have as many as I) and found many others I had trouble identifying for the same reason. Same procedure there: altered titles, new pictures, original author credited but the heck with the translator and her website! However, they seem to care about my translation/explanatory notes (which often require much research and are not part of the source texts). How odd!

    I assume, in your case, adding you as a source was not clearly understood,” explained a representative of the website who never gave me his/her name. “We also do translations and our work often get republished without due credit. But we believe in sharing information and even though our sources are not mentioned, in fact what is most important to us is the message.” 

    No comments.

    For someone like me, who devotes significant attention to correctly identifying her sources (whether in French or in English), I've got my eyes rolling in the back of my head and it makes me sick. Call an exorcist!

    We are not finished yet.

    Then, I also found out a website of the same name (with a different domain name extension), looking exactly the same to the details of its menus had also appropriated my work, casually shopping around on the crime scene. To put it very briefly, a message to the webmaster on “Fesse Bouc”3 (Féeline, if you read this, thanks again for your invaluable help) was all it took to get my articles immediately withdrawn “with our apologies”.

    Candy Candy

    You know, someone went as far as to duplicate our website in its entirety and this person continues to plunder us without any consideration,” is the excuse the representative of the malicious blog served me.

    I take it that what you say is true, all the more since that is the impression one gets at first glance. Only the authors of the allegedly hacked blog are frequently credited.

    Three months ago, we have already tried to initiate complaint proceedings since our server was hacked with no follow-up.

    So that's it? Why did you not publish a single word online about it?

    Reply: “We have included a link to your blog in our list of partners as an attempt to make amends4”.

    Splash! Splash!

    I repeat my question.

    I am asked for a mobile phone number: no way (besides I don't have any). “A Skype number then?” Nope. I don't have that either (not even a webcam). Why don't you tell me by email? As far as I know, the CIA also spies on electronic messages, anyway, as well as on smartphones and Skypes.

    Am I that f***ing stupid?

    I haven't heard anything more since then, therefore here's the account I had promised.

    At the end of the day

    No more excuses now for playing copycat under the guise of sorry-I-did-not-do-it-on-purpose. No more copying, period. The Karma Police will see to it. My Pensieve is not a self-service facility for bloggers in need of inspiration.

    However, all these measures I took to protect my rights and change my terms of sharing have consumed a large part of my free time so I didn't get much left to write nor translate any new article for the upcoming month. Don't put the blame on me but on all these copy-pasters jumping on the bandwagon and easily forgetting essential values and rules such as respecting other people's work as a pretext for spreading the “spirituality” of the day. I would even dare say that, somehow, they work for the dark side discouraging those who are not trend-conscious about generating traffic — and revenue from advertising for some — but entirely dedicated to following their heart and soul.

    At the end of the day, that might be all that counts eventually, and ultimately, it might bring the story to its end where it finally misses out on its entire purpose.

    So until when?



    1. ^ Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, profiting both copyright owners and licensees (Wikipedia)
    2. ^ In reference to Hail To The Thief, the sixth album by Radiohead released in 2003 which itself spoofs the official Presidential Anthem of the United States "Hail To The Chief".
    3. ^ Literally: “Goat Bum”, a derogatory pun for Facebook in French.
    4. ^ I see that this unsolicited link has been removed shortly after I published this article.

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