Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fashion Trending Infringers of Copyright - Warning Your Blog Might be Next

I am sorry to report that many of my images and written content from this blog are being reproduced at a parasitic, copyright infringing, blog scraper site called Fashion Trending.  I am not going to link to them as the aim of scraper blogs is often to steal traffic by stealing your content and then when their stats look healthy they sell the site on to a third party for a profit.  They are also trying to get advertising revenue from click through ads using stolen content from blogs.

An astounding amount of my blog has been and continues to be reproduced on this site without my permission and without a proper active link back to my blog.  The site has a bogus privacy policy where they say that owners of the copyrighted material can contact them to remove their content but they then do not provide an email or postal address.  The email address on the site provided is bogus and immediately bounces back any messages you attempt to send to it.

I have attempted to contact the web hosting service with complaints to no avail so I have now contacted Google to report the infringement of copyright.  I will be giving this a few days before I enlist paid professional services to help because I do not see another way in which a site like this can be held accountable for what it is doing.  I have had some stellar assistance through a query on the FBFF Google discussion group but I would appreciate advice from anyone else who has had a similiar experience with this type of scraper blog and their success rate at getting their content removed.

A bit of research has shown that burning your posts in a feed in its entirety (all images, text etc...) makes it easier for these types of sites to steal your content.  So I have adjusted my feed to only provide a summary and an invitation to click through to my site here.  I am really sorry to have to do this for any of my readers out there who have subscribed to the feed for the convenience but until I get some time to sort this all out my poor little blog needs some extra protection.

I don't have a huge following on this blog and I am really saddened that I may lose precious readers by changing the feed in this manner but search engines like Google will actually penalise my site for having reproduced content on the web.  So if you are at all concerned about your own blog please check for plagarism of your content - to do this online, this site was recommended to me: http://www.copyscape.com/  It shows up content which has been plagarised from your blog.

These are sophisticated crooks - the url at which my stolen material keeps changing - this obviously makes it more difficult for you to lodge a complaint about copyright abuse to the hosting site and search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc... as you are required to send the url where your material has been copied to.

And please if you are a blogger listed below I have seen material from your blog on this site too.  If you want to get the link to the site please email me (veshoevius @ taxonomyofmywardrobe.com) and I will give you all the information I have about submitting a complaint and what I have been doing to stop these crooks.  The more complaints they have against them, the more chance they will be taken down by the powers that be.

Vintage Vix
Cloud of Secrets
Calamity Jem (I'm 95% sure it's your site)
Penny Dreadful Vintage
Street Style London - Pics by Polka Do
Rags against the Machine
Grit and Glamour
Bubbling with Elegance and Grace
Devillishly Pleasurable
Goldmine Trash
I'm Not Emily Brown
Aesthetic Alterations
Fashion Pearls of Wisdom
Comtesse de Ferveur
Mrs Bossa Does The Do

I will keep adding sites to the above list and updating as I recognise others.  I believe the site is running an automated process - I have noticed more and more of my blog material appearing on the site with time - I think that once they have you on their radar there is some sort of automated process that goes back to scrape more and more material off your blog over time.

I am still researching what to do and as it has been a very distressing, demoralising and time consuming process, so I will not be doing any further blog posting until I can sort this out.   Hope you all understand and continue to come back!  I will update as soon as I can.

Veshoevius
x

UPDATE:

Ladies if you are on the list and have found your material copied by this blog here are some starting points to complain:

1. I don't wish to link to the offending site to send them more traffic but if you haven't found the Fashion Trending site and their IP address through your own devices (doing a whois search etc..) I am happy to email you details.

2. This is the web hosting service's website www.softlayer.com and their procedure for lodging a copyright infringement complaint http://www.softlayer.com/legal/copyright-infringment-dmca/
Email your evidence to copyright@softlayer.com, you could also copy in abuse@softlayer.com for good measure.

3. Complain to Google - go to this link (it is the "Report Illegal Activity" on Google's Help section)
http://www.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=ts.cs&ts=1114905
I took an educated guess and selected "web search" from their options and a menu listing copyright infringement came up and I just followed the instructions after that - you will need to provide urls of your copied work and urls of the offending site where your work is being infringed.

4. It is advisable to do the same for 3. at Yahoo and MSN to prevent the site from indexing yours.

5. If you are on Wordpress and can install an antiscraper plugin or some code that blocks IP addresses from accessing your site do so ASAP - HOWEVER if you intend to complain or have a written complaint pending with the hosting site www.softlayer.com don't block the IP address yet, as the address is theirs and they will probably not be able to access your site to verify your complaint!

6.  Kirsten of Relatively Chic has just advised me via FBFF that she has posted about How to Deal With Splogs Content Theft.  This is a MUST READ if you are experiencing this problem as Kirsten has broken down in very understandable, clear language a number of steps you can take to stop the sploggers - including a tactic to add a post feed footer for Blogger users.  Thanks Kirsten!

 I will update as I get more information!

38 comments:

  1. This is something that happens with the fashion site I write for and there's literally nothing we can do about it, it's so frustrating!

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  2. Cherry - there must be something! Have you tried these guys? http://www.dmca.com/ If google and blogger don't respond I'm thinking of giving them a shot if they'll deal with bloggers based in the UK

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  3. Oh that SUCKS! I'm so sorry that is happening - you must be so frustrated!

    This is the price we pay for an online presence I guess. I suspect it will always be impossible to police as it is so easy for them to be anonymous.

    I am sure you won't lose any of your loyal followers with the changes you've had to make. We all understand and support each other. And that's the flip side to the price we pay - the rewards we receive in this fabulous community!

    Sarah xxx

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  4. Oh no, Veshoevius - this is horrible. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know.

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  5. Ugh. At least we know we're not alone. Have you tried looking for content from the really famous fashion blogs? If it's there, I wonder how those bloggers would react; if it's not there, I wonder what they've done that keeps their content from the scraper.

    I guess I've always known that by putting up original content openly, I was making it a sitting duck for copying/rebroadcasting from the world over -- not all societies or people understand and respect the concept of intellectual and creative property. But it leaves a bad taste in my brain that this site is apparently not giving credit or linkbacks, and that the email complaint line is bogus.

    I have had a copyright statement at the end of my feeds for several weeks, since the "The Coveted" kerfuffle and Vahni's posts on copyright. Wonder if that statement shows up on the scraper site reposts.

    Anyway, I will be glad to submit complaints when I have more info to work with. I can't find a site by the name you mention via Google, but I didn't dig too deep. No sense running up their search hits!

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  6. What a blooming cheek. I'll try that link and email you later. I'm all for sites using my pictures and content but not linking back is downright rude. xxx

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  7. This is just awful, I have retweeted and facebooked this post on for you, best of luck sorting this out xx

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  8. But what is the point of doing so????
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  9. How frustrating!

    Since your feed has been reduced, I would recommend going into feedburner and adjusting the settings so reader via feed can see that there are comments and adding a "read more" tagline perhaps.

    Are you going to start watermarking your photos?

    --Courtney

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  10. Courtney - I *think* I've already done that - though as I don't see what my own feed says I can't be sure! I doubt also that watermarking my photos would have any effect in deterring these types of automated scraping sites from stealing the images.

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  11. This is so awful. Surely they can't get away with it. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. xx

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  12. Wow!! I'm such a nexbie blogger I couldn't believe the copyscape link you provided showed 2 uncredited copies of my original content!! Thanks for sharing this, I will be checking that link back to see who won't give me credit for my work!! Imitation is flattering and all that, but this is rude!!!

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  13. Thanks for posting about this, doll. This SUCKS! I installed an anti-scraping plugin and reported the offender through it.

    Please submit this post to Links a la Mode Tech. Others need to know.

    ••V••
    www.gritandglamour.com
    @gritandglamour

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  14. Keep us posted. This leaves me feeling frustrated and depressed, especially at the thought that you won't post again until you have it sorted out. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

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  15. One of my friends, Jill from Street Style London, is on your list. I just sent her a message to let her know about this post. I searched for the blog you mention on google, but I cannot find it. Is it possible Google has done something about this already?

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  16. @Photodiarist - no Google has not done anything about it not do I expect them to be quick about it from the email I got from them regarding my complaint - I'm still looking at the site and my stolen content as of others is still live. Others have not found the site through google searches either - I'm not going to link to the site because they don't deserve any more traffic than they are getting (especially since the listed bloggers are going to have to hit their site to get urls to lodge complaints)
    If you really want the link to the site email me and I'll be happy to send.

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  17. I have checked and I have 10 item copied, but they might be from friends or people who feel inspired by what they see.
    Most of my post are about me, so it is difficult to copy.
    You are doing well to let people aware of the situation, though.
    Much love.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  18. They've lifted loads of my photos and content too, the b*******. Thanks for the info, love x

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  19. This is so awful! I've heard so much about people doing this... and it just sucks. I hope in some way you get this resolved and thank you for bringing this to people's attention!

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  20. i am really sorry that this is happening and causing so much stress for you.

    i hope that you will be able to find someone who will resolve this issue soon.

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  21. I am so sorry to hear this sweetheart! Thank you for sharing this with us, and know that we support you fully!!! Hugs!

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  22. Ugh!! I hate that this has happend to you and because this blogosphere is so new and ever changing, it's hard to keep up with crooks like this! I really hope this gets resolved and know that we are all here to support you!

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  23. Damn, I cannot believe this! This must be so upsetting and stressful for you. Thank you so much for all the information. I've put the copyscape url on my list for regular checks. Hope you get it sorted soon. xo

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  24. You know, keeping up a blog is work and it's also intellectual property. It's shameful for someone to come along and try to feed off someone else's work. Good for you for bringing this to everyone's attention and trying to do something about it. ~Serene

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  25. HOLY CRAP! That's the strangest thing I've ever heard. And why they'd pick me of all bloggers to steal from is beyond me. My blog is mainly an art blog, so 75% of my content is reposts of old photos (I do credit as much as possible though, and I don't try to pass these off as my original compositions). Weird!!!

    As I tweeted to you, I'm sorry to hear you've been victimized by these scums. Yourself and the other ladies mentioned above pour your hearts and souls into your personal outfit posts, long written entries, etc. To take credit for your work is just beyond wrong.

    If blogs like this are getting paid advertisers, I hope those companies get notified asap.

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  26. Veshoevius--thank you for bringing this to my attention!

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  27. Thanks for the advice. I just checked and there are a couple of sites that were purely linking to me with a quotation and a couple of 'nasty' ones. It seems that after I put the banner and scan up these vanished- sadly possibly just to appear another time :( but I shall follow your advice.

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  28. Ugh! I am so sorry that you are going through this. I am glad you were able to find all this information to take action against these people. Gosh, when you originally posted this on FBFF I didn't realize the severity of the issue. I assumed it was an actual person copying your posts, but an automated feed-stealer is scary. I also have my feed setup to display entire posts. Primarily for the convenience of my family who read primarily via email. I may have to rethink that now.

    I'll be waiting to hear what happens with Google and the other search engines. Hopefully this will be resolved sooner rather than later.

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  29. firstly, thank you for awarding me! i really appreciate this fact!!! :o)

    secondly, it's a real shame that content of someone's blog is being published without a permission! isn't it against law?! it's important to talk about, as i presume that most of bloggers are not aware of this fact!

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  30. Hi there. I don't know if you are aware, but the government has an Internet Crime Complaint center. Here is the link: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
    Among many other crimes, they cover intellectual property theft. Since many blogs are listed as copyrighted, you have a strong stance for an internet theft complaint. Really, it doesn't matter if it's copyrighted, because it's your creation and that means it's automatically your intellectual property, but establishing copyright verbally is helpful.

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  31. How absolutely frustrating this must be for you- I am so sorry that this is happening. Thank you for taking the time to let us know what's going on, and for updating us. Let us know what we can do to help.

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  32. Dear Veshoevius,

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been so busy and taking a hiatus from the blogsophere, and will definitely proceed to do something about this. In the meantime, do update us all on what's happening. .

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  33. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this, it seems like this has been rampant in our community.

    Thank you so much for linking back to my article. Best of luck with getting this resolved -- keep us in the loop!

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  34. This just happened to me too on another copycat site. Fortunately I threatened legal action and they've since ceased scraping my content but are still doing it to others. I did file a DCMA complaint in my case but the site is still up. I can't understand why.

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  35. I've had a lot of trouble with spam blogs stealing content. My big fear is that Google's algorithm will eventually react like I'm the one trying to game the system and punish me while letting the criminals continue to run wild. I had to move off Blogger after Google kept freezing my blog for being spam which it clearly isn't! And there was no way to reach a real human being at Google to deal with the problem. I don't really have faith in Google doing anything to help the small people unless it becomes a big news story. I feel I've seen some improvement since changing my feed to a tease of each post followed by a click-through to the blog, rather than putting all my content on the feed. Also going to check out the Wordpress plug-in options. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  36. There are a ton of spam sites that replicate the content of specific posts from my blog, but strangely all link back so I haven't felt the need to take any action yet (considering I actually get minor traffic from these weird spam sites). I'm just waiting for the day when my content gets outright stolen the way yours has. I'm really sorry to hear about this and hopefully your new feed settings will discourage further copyright infringement. I would also suggest adding a feed footer that links back to your original blog and states the material is copyrighted to you.

    In addition a few bloggers out there (and myself) have signed up to MyFreeCopyright, which basically logs each post you publish and confirms that you are the first to have published that content, should you ever need to prove you're the original copyright holder. You might want to try that out as well. Good luck getting the scumbags.

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  37. Thanks for this Veshoevius, I had no idea such a thing even existed! The comments you've generated are also extremely helpful, this is a post I will coming back to again and again.

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  38. I totally missed this post. Thanks Veshoevius, I installed the plug-in. This is really making me think about content. My blog is a venue for style and elegance, this is so disheartening. If it wasn't for me seeing ragsagainstthemachine blog post I wouldn't of seen it.

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Thank you kindly for your comments! Please be aware that comment moderation is on to weed out the spammers and I can only check comments once a day, so please don't worry if you don't see your comment come up at first - it is probably there and will be up later xx

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