Hide  The internet is a huge expansive place full of wonderous things. The internet is also a very small place, and you cannot hide. Particularly if you are stealing content from other people's blogs - words, images, and profiles. I would like to send you here, and here - to read one of the most perfectly written posts about internet and blogging abuse and what we should be doing as a community when it happens, and to read a heartbreaking post about content theft which has become apparent this week to a small selection of blogs. Then I would like to send you here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I could go on. I have a collection of a lot more links relating to my blog. What you will notice are links to my blog posts first, and to another blog second. What you will also notice, is that most of the links to the other blog are broken - or direct you to a blog which has now been made private by the blog host while the owner of that blog is contacted for infringement of copyright under the DMCA. You can see in the link address though, where the theft starts - often in the title of the blog post itself. Posts, and posts, and posts, and images. Word after word, image after image cut and pasted. Stolen.
From T Does Wool. From Ravelry profiles. From other bloggers. Not random. Not spam. Deliberate. Some posts have had crucial information altered [like dates and names of shops], have been cut and pasted, and back dated. One of them shows my daughter. My daughter. Her name has been changed to make it seem like she is theirs.
They stole my daughter.
I put myself out here in public. I put my family out here. Or I put certain things out there. I don't put everything out. I take that risk and I understand that risk. It's a risk I'm prepared to take to encourage, to inspire, to gain inspiration and to feel part of a community. That risk, that choice, does not make it ok for someone to steal my work. It does not mean I hand over carte blanche approval for my work to be used without my permission. It does not mean my life, my children, my words, or my images are yours for the taking or to do so is valid in any way. It does not mean I should shrug my shoulders and accept it. It means I should take responsibility for the choices I make about what I show. And that responsibility lies in taking content theft seriously, and doing what I can to stop it when I know it is happening. It also suggests that the people who read the blog take some responsibility, and tell blog authors when they see something which doesn't feel right, which is copied, copycatted, or stolen.
We took action. Word was spread on Twitter, on Facebook, through blogs. We wrote and complained to the blog host. We attempted to leave comments on the offending blog. The blog authors whose work was violated sent formal notices of copyright infringement to the blog host. And action does get taken. As you will have noticed, the blog has been locked. I decided to retain the links to the original posts here in this post* - in case the blog goes back into the public domain, because I'm still waiting to hear back from the blog host about the state of my violated posts, and as a record. A record that I am quite happy and willing to link and make public my disappointment in anyone who thinks this is fair practise within the blogging community. I will not be a blogger who sits back - I will be responsible for maintaining professionalism and integrity within this community.
Too often I fear that people shrug this off with the inherent suggestion that 'you ask for it' by making yourself public. That's so wrong, and incredibly insulting to the process and the act of blogging. Too often people forget their manners, and think this sort of thing is OK. This is not flattery. It never has been and never will be. There are instances in this situation which give grave cause for concern about the intentions of the blog author, who they are, and how much a part of this community they are. I am so heartened and glad to see people getting behind this, and standing up for us. I'm glad there seems to be a resolution being implemented and I hope the scale of the copyright infringement is such that the blog author is prosecuted.
I'm tired and I'm saddened. This is destructive and yes, it's a violation of my public identity. It happens. Yes. And we can do something about it.
*all my posts were screen shot saved before the blog was locked. If anyone feels they need the extent of the posts' content to be validated, I am happy to forward those screen shots.