The price of an education is experience.
Which means, I’ve earned a tremendous amount of useful information over the last day while dealing with the challenges presented by the plagiarism of my posts from Forest Garden.
First, the thank-yous: I appreciate each and every person who has contacted me over the last day by phone, email, and comments to commiserate, offer support, and to make helpful suggestions. One friend expressed, ” …”hell hath no fury” like a woman plagiarized. ” More on that in a bit.
I also appreciate Christine at Bluelime Media in Vancouver, BC, who very calmly let me know that no, her company had nothing to do with the offending site; other than having produced the theme which farmersmiths.com pirated. Her company develops themes for WordPress, and she helped re-direct my efforts towards finding those who needed to be found.
And I appreciate those involved with farmersmiths.com and related sites who voluntarily removed my content from their pages last night.
I also appreciate the WordPress platform, because it provides help on just about any blogging related topic one can need. Their article about content theft provided a list of actions to take, and the links I needed, to figure out how to handle this situation.
WordPress makes our everyday publishing so easy that we can produce endless content with a minimum of technical know-how. To solve this conundrum yesterday, it was necessary to dig beneath the surface of things to hunt for clues.
But this has been far from an easy process. In fact, it is a very frustrating, time intensive scavenger hunt of clues and dead-ends when one enters the shadier reaches of cyberspace in search of hard, actionable information. That is where the ‘fury’ part comes in handy.
The first meaning of fury, in many dictionaries, has to do with a wild rage. That is superbly unhelpful in a case such as this.
I prefer the more ancient meanings of fury, which is derived from those loveable Furies of Greek literature. Do you recall them? It is the energy of the anger, the fury, which is useful when once needs to get something done well, and done quickly.
So for the second time in a week, with apologies, I’ll share with you some bits of information which you might find useful. It is very hard to stay out of the garden this long, but we bloggers must help one another from time to time. Here are the highlights of what I’ve learned:
1. Keep an eye on ‘your brand.’ A blogging friend tipped me off that she had found my content on another person’s website unattributed. Had I searched in Google or Bing for my own blog post titles I could have discovered the miscreant myself. But I didn’t think to do that. Late last night I did search for several recent posts, and found the link to the miscreant site listed on the list of returns, above my own….
2. Theft of published content is an international crime, with protections outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It turns out those who stole my content are based in Australia. One begins to request restitution with a DMCA notice directed to the domain and the domain host.
3. One begins with an inventory of exactly what has been stolen. This includes taking screen shots of the offending website. One may also copy and paste from their site into a word processing file. The lovely thing about most word processing software protocols is that they reveal a great deal of information not visible on a ‘live’ website. Since theft is very much a crime, even online, collecting this data first, before doing anything else, ensures you have the evidence you need on down the line.
4. One can also get the full details about any website through a Domain Search. No, I hadn’t heard of it either, until last night. Here is another useful resource to combat internet plagiarism, with the links you need to begin the search.
5. Explore every link on a questionable site. By clicking one of the photographs on farmersmiths.com, I found a link to a related business, also selling gardening products. That business had contact information, and there was even a gmail address for a person connected with that business. A friendly email to that person, requesting their assistance in contacting ‘Farmer,’ who signed his name to my posts reprinted without permission on his site, was fruitful. She managed to locate him and pass on the message. I appreciate that. My plagiarized posts came down within the hour.
6. Finally, publish an ironclad disclaimer statement on your blog. Hugh Roberts directed me to an excellent post on crafting your own personal disclaimer. Serin’s post explains why this is essential for every blogger, and gives excellent links to additional resources on blog security.
7. Maintain an attitude of gratitude. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to publish each day, and for those who join with me in this adventure. It is life’s challenges and frustrations which force us to climb those steep learning curves in our daily lives. Have you noticed?
I’ve learned a good deal from this experience. And I hope the miscreant who thought he or she would quietly get by with ‘lifting’ my work each day, through some as yet undiscovered pipeline through cyberspace, has learned a bit over the last 24 hours, as well.
And I hope that you, whether you write a blog yourself, or not; might have learned a useful trick or two through reading about my experiences.
Thank you for visiting Forest Garden today, for your wonderful comments, and for giving me a very good reason to spend time writing and taking photos each day.