This Week in Geekdom: Copyright Infringement Edition



Hey guys. With all that's been going on in the past couple of days I just haven't been able to focus too much on writing new posts. The notion that some coward is out there profiting off of the theft of my (copyright protected) writing conjures both fury and sadness. A profound thank you to all those out there who have offered support. Your kind words and offers of legal assistance are deeply appreciated.

At the same time, there are millions of issues facing the world right now that are far more pressing. What has happened has happened. It sucks, but I don't pretend that it's anything more than an unfortunate side-effect of using a creative medium in the digital realm. I always try to make an effort to donate blood during times like these as a reminder that my troubles are tiny and the effort I'd waste being upset could instead be spent trying to help people with actual problems.

Image by SAFE Corporation
In that spirit, I wanted to provide resources for those out there who believe they, too, may have experienced internet intellectual property theft.

Note: if you are the owner of a blog who has also had proprietary content stolen by the owner of gamedonation.com please contact me via one of the social media sites for the Care and Feeding of Nerds or directly at nerdycare@gmail.com.

Olivia Rose over at Kissmetrics.com has one of the most concise, thorough step-by-step guides for how to seek redress if your internet-based intellectual property has been stolen. All of her tips can be highly effective, but the most direct way to take immediate action against the party that has stolen from you is tip #3: finding out who is hosting the offending site.

WhoIsHostingThis.com is a very straightforward way to accurately ascertain the thief's core website structure. Once you know what service the thief is using, you can usually file a claim directly with the host (look in the 'support' section of their website). It's in the host's best interests to not aid and abet parties who are infringing on a copyright, so they may respond to your claim quickly. 

Raubi Marie Perelli has this helpful breakdown of the legal applications and distinctions between plagiarism and copyright infringement. For the definitive text on copyright law as it is practiced in the United States, visit this link.

These are additional sites/resources that are enormously useful:

- Copyscape (allows blog owners to determine if their content is being stolen)

- The official text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (protects creators of internet-based intellectual property)

- Speaking of DMCA, you can work directly with that portion of the copyright office to file a take down or even use their free protection alert banners like the one now featured on this blog.

- Ginny Soskey's extremely useful article about how to combat internet copyright infringement.

This sort of theft is a distressing reality, but we are far from helpless.

None of the above should be construed as or considered legal advice. If you're pursuing legal action against the parties who have infringed on your copyright, contact an attorney.

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