“Who cares, everyone steals”, “That’s how professional blogging works”. The two comments were posted on a social bookmarking site in response to a user mentioning that someone else had stolen the content of one of his blog articles.
But is stealing content how professional blogging works? I’m not blogging about a blogger seeing an article on poetry workshops on another blog and deciding to write their own article on poetry workshops. I’m not blogging about a blogger seeing one of their favourite authors is about to launch a book and blogging about the book and/or launch. Both those options are valid as the bloggers created their own content. Even though it was based on someone else’s article, the bloggers added their own take, their own commentary and made it fresh.
The problem is when someone takes another’s content and reproduces it without a link back to the original writer and tries to pass it off as their own. That’s stealing and unacceptable.
I’ve spent some time this month requesting blog hosts remove content scraped from blogs I’ve written for. They were probably bot accounts, but set up to scrape content and drive traffic to sites selling items not necessarily legally. Time-wasting and very annoying. Every request saw the removal of the scraped content but I shouldn’t have to spend my time monitoring content and typing out removal requests.
At least with non bot generated blogs you have a chance to request the scraper remove the content or summarise the content and link back to you. If they don’t: blog about it, tweet about it, moan on Facebook; name and shame them.
Challenge the apparently accepted option that stealing content is how professional blogging works.