Generally, I turn a blind eye to people who use thumbnails of our work or take an excerpt from an article and link the rest to us. Pity, then, that so many of these sites are splogs, but at least they stop short of outright piracy.
It’s when someone takes an entire article, pretends it’s their own, and even slaps a copyright notice on it—that’s what gets my goat more. In the past fortnight, two websites have done that with Lucire material (and material from many other media outlets). Neither had a contact address or contact form, because nine times out of ten, these are solved just by a nice email, so our only path was to notify their web hosts in the US. God bless them both: they have acted.
While the Americans have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act down to a ﬁne art, less can be said about Great Britain. A British site, which I will not yet name because I can’t be arsed sending them hits for being thieving gits, has taken three Lucire articles, in full, one even containing my byline. Two are not from our regular RSS feed, but from the features’ section, which means that the person has to go in to our site and save the content manually.
We wrote to them in mid-November, not asking for removal, but just a cutting back of the content of the ﬁrst article we found. It’s not a big ask, and I see it as a good win–win. The article in question was in Lucire’s RSS feed, so I ﬁgured they had an automated script that took the content. They might not even have known it was there. And they were kind enough to provide a link, and that’s far better than some people who don’t even give us that courtesy.
But then I found the two feature pieces that weren’t featured in RSS. It’s a bit much then, because that suggests a malicious hand.
I received no reply to the very polite email I wrote to them. The blog comments have not been published (I wonder why). And I see that their web host, a British company, has done nothing, either, except to inform me of their abuse email address.
It is crystal clear that this site has breached the host’s published ‘acceptable use policy’, and while Britain does not have a DMCA, there is the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, which I studied in some depth back at uni.
The foundation of the British act and the American DMCA is identical, in that both are set up to protect authorship, and the British hosting company has been provided with more than sufﬁcient evidence of its client’s guilt.
It seems, then, that the acceptable use policy of this company is nothing more than lip service, because there is no response from the abuse address, nor from the fax I sent yesterday.
A total of eight messages have been sent on the British issue, to two organizations who could not give a stuff about copyright infringement. The Americans only need one email. If you want to pirate stuff, there’s one hosting company in the UK that is your friend—it’s even won awards, apparently. At least one was from the Murdoch Press. I wonder on what criteria those were given.