Blog Pile

Take My Whole Blog Post, Please? Why?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Iago A.R.

Just because you can, does it mean you should?

An interesting series of events, but I am left baffled as to why some web site would feel its okay to republish my blog post in its entirety, with the barest minimum of attribution.

In this morning’s email was a trackback notice (remember what those were the rage, like in 2004? Bueller? Bueller? oh maybe its just me) that a site had linked to my Ten Albums post.

I’m not going to name the site, but thinking I would see maybe a blog post that mentioned or linked to mine, I was a little startled (not that little since this happens a lot) to see that this site was not writing something about my site; they had my entire blog post listed in their site, like it was one of their articles. All of it, from start to finish, all the images, and even my typos (those are free, by the way).

At the very bottom of it, was a link to my RSS feed.

Okay, now since my Creative Commons license is “By Attribution” by the barest atomic width of the legal terms, they had given my credit.

Of course, any casual reader of their site, would see my headlines, and first few paragraphs, and most likely assume it was written at this other site. They would have to have a keen eye to find my attribution.

But since I use this CC license, I almost dont have a leg to stand on (or dont).

Still.. what the #&^$**$ is the point of reprinting my blog post in its entirety on another site?

So I sent out a tweet with both links, calling it a “violating: of creative commons (there I was wrong, cause they did have a link). I also sent a message to the site via their contact form.

To their credit, they responded in twitter within like 20 minutes, and removed my post from their site. In some exchanges via twitter and email, their claim was because I provided a full feed that they plucked from BlogBridge, that somehow it was okay to grab it all. Or it was my fault for publishing full feeds. They also suggested a link with suggestions on how to add my creative commons license to my RSS feeds.

That actually sounded like a good idea (although it would have no effect on this situation, since my license gives the right to “reuse” with attribution). But I saw no reason to hack my wordpress RSS output- and found a very slick plugin Creative Commons Configurator, which among other things, adds your selected CC license to all your feeds, as well as a black of text in the single post view.

I like that plugin.

But this is not the point.

I am still left trying to figure out the purpose of a web site that just liftes full content from others and republishes it (in the worst case, it is a splog, but this site was not that bad). The site is affiliated with a town in Colorado.

But c’mon- if you are going to have a blog powered site, its one thing to write stories based on what other people blog, maybe pull quotes, but to lift an entire blog post and republish it is either lazy or worse.

Still, I cannot complain, as I use a By Attribution license, so eben with the weakest attribution link, they have complied. Just because you can, does it mean you should?

As of tonight, they have updated their link at the bottom so it at least indicates the blog it came from (although their template is hosed and the link is splattered as broken HTML), but they are still re-publishing full stories (and Andy Rush, they got one of yours).

I know this goes on far more than I even want to look for or care. And I am not interested in chasing down every site that yanks my content.

It’s just today I felt like sniffing it out and growling about it.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I kinda like the idea, I could read your posts in their blog so I don’t have to look at your markety theme. Finally a real use for Creative Commons :)

  2. If you think this lovely site is “markety” you will love their ad ridden site.

    You will see the light, and all those IPs from Fburg in my log say otherwise.

    One day, I vow, you will scream, I LOVE the COGDOGBLOG theme!!!

  3. My understanding is that you are allowed to define how you wish to be attributed on your site. In fact, I think this is something you are supposed to do to allow the CC license to kick in (you are on of few who actually does so)… So I think you could ask that you or your site be named in any scenarios such as full-post reproduction.

  4. Well-barked.

    You ask, what’s the purpose of just lifting content?
    That can have many articulate answers, which probably mask laziness, lack of creativity or mere stupidity. I’ve heard lengthy explanations that they were lifting from me in sign of admiration in an attempt to leave my valid anger without effect. (To no avail, of course).

    Anyway they have a right to live and blog. The point is they do not share your blogging values. Period.

    On the positive side, the idea of the CC at the end of each post is good. It has potential. If I were you, I would add a “beware the dog” notice. ;-)

    Thank you for sharing this less glamourous side of blogging. To write with a fair amount of anger and not overdo it is a fine skill.

  5. Alan:

    It would be nice if a Creative Commons license would be available which could specifically forbid / disallow scrape blogs. Not sure if that is practical, but if so it’d be nice.

    You’ve inspired me to write about my own recent experiences with scrape blogs… trackback coming here soon! :-)

  6. The fascinating ramifications of someone scraping your blog put aside, knowing that there’s a simple plugin for your wordpress feeds to display your CC lisence is welcome news.

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