Stolen Content – Again…


frowning-150840_640In my Writing Tips series I wrote about Copyright Theft. I had a quick look through my blog and the first time I wrote about my stuff getting stolen was in 2006. I’m sure it had happened before then and it has happened many times since. Most of the time I try to deal with it privately and give people a chance to sort their lives out without publicly branding them a thief, but sometimes circumstances bring the worst out of me.

If you had followed my series of rants on Twitter tonight you will know it happened to me again. The reason I went off the deep end this time was because approximately 10 months ago, this same person did exactly the same thing to me. When I contacted them the first time, they were very apologetic and removed the content, saying they had paid someone to produce some content for them and they didn’t know it was all stolen. Since it was all resolved quickly and pleasantly, I said nothing more. I did of course keep a record of the whole process, including my contact with the hosting company etc.

Fast forward to today and Martin Widlake contacted me to say he had found some of my stuff on another site. When I checked, it was this same person again! Some of the content that got removed last time had mysteriously returned, and there was a load more with it. Most of the time it was a straight copy. Sometimes the article names had been slightly altered, but the content was straight off my site. Occasionally there was one extra sentence at the start. In total I found 141 articles stolen from my site. There may have been more, but these were all I identified up to now.

I wrote an email to the individual in question, which ended with the rather melodramatic statement of,

“What you are doing is wrong and illegal. I will end you!”

I was putting together a DMCA takedown notice when Martin Widlake said the content had started to disappear. I checked and sure enough, I was getting 404 errors for most of the URLs. I’m promoting Martin to “Chief of the Content Police”! 🙂

Now I’m a rather petty individual and I have a very large readership, so I’m pretty sure that if this person ever does something like this again, I will be able to make sure everyone he has ever worked for, or ever will work for, will know he has been proven to be a thief twice over. Not exactly the sort of person you want working with your valuable data!

Just some words to the wise:

  • If you steal content from a popular source, people are going to notice and tell the original content producer about it. There is no maybe. It will definitely happen.
  • When you are caught stealing stuff it makes you look like scum. You know why? Because you are scum! If you are lucky, you will be able to deal with it quietly. If not, the world will find out you are scum!
  • If you pay someone to produce content for you, you better make sure they are not stealing it, because if they are, it is you that will end up looking like scum, not them!
  • If you are paying someone for content and they are producing several articles a day, it is highly likely the work is stolen, or incredibly derivative at best. If you do not realise this, you are a moron. Being a moron is not a defence, and kind-of affects your future job prospects!

Changing tack slightly…

We are all writing about the same stuff. When a new product is released, there is a flurry of new articles on the subject, many of which are covering the same content. There is nothing wrong with that. No one person has a claim on it. You won’t get an email from me asking you not to write about it. That would be ridiculous. Everyone’s take on the same subject matter is slightly different. If you ever see me in person you’ll know I’m always encouraging people to get involved. Having said that, if your idea of getting involved is stealing other people’s material, we will not be friends!




Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

5 thoughts on “Stolen Content – Again…”

  1. It is, unfortunately, a game of Whack-A-Mole… except there are more moles, the hammer is really cumbersome to use, and the game isn’t fun even for the first few whacks. I’ve seen my content in numerous locations. My favorite (for a given definition of favorite) was someone who was trying to promote themselves as an Oracle expert. He had numerous ‘eh’ technical articles on his blog, a photo of himself with Johnathan Lewis at some Oracle event and Tom Kyte at another, plus a screenshot of his ‘Oracle Guru’ certificate from OTN.

    Oh — and then there was the link to a complete PDF of one of my PL/SQL study guides, a second link to a PDF of the All-in-One Oracle Press book for 1Z0-051/052/053, a third to a PDF of Steve O’Hearn’s 1Z0-047 book, and a fourth to a PDF of a 1Z0-051 book by Steve Ries.

    When I called him on the link to my study guide, he claimed he didn’t realize my book wasn’t free. When I called him on the other three linked books on his blog — he just quietly took them down without claiming he thought they were free as well.

  2. Matthew: Are you trying to tell me the books you sell on Amazon aren’t free for anyone to just take? Next you’ll be telling me I’m meant to pay when I get petrol from the garage. Ludicrous… 🙂

  3. I’ve encountered similar stuff.

    On one occasion an Oracle blogger copy/pasted an entire whitepaper I had worked on into his blog, with no accreditation. When I contacted him to complain his explanation was that the content was relevant to his work on a particular product team, and he wanted to help promote the paper. I honestly don’t think this person was trying to take credit for the content. Rather, I think this college-educated individual was just completely ignorant of the fact that the manner is which he used the content was blatant plagiarism.

    On another occasion I contacted another Oracle blogger who published a lengthy post in which he included quotes from another article. This blogger announced at the beginning that his post incorporated this other writer’s content. But he never once used quotation marks or otherwise indicated which parts of the text were lifted from the other source.

    When I explained the problem, he was surprised to learn that what he had done was wrong. In this case, too, I think his intentions were entirely honorable. But he was apparently completely ignorant of how to correctly incorporate content from another source.

    In both cases the bloggers took steps to correct the problems. But in both cases the bloggers had apparently managed to graduate from college without ever encountering any writing style guides, or wiithout ever noticing how professional writers handle quoted material.

    Between those kind of offenses and the proliferation of god-awful writing in blogs I spend way too much time screaming at my computer screen.

    Go get ’em, Tim!

  4. Tim, I agree this is outrageous. I work really hard on my presos, articles, and white papers, and if I EVER find anyone stealing from me so blatantly, they should fear the consequences. (Never p1$$ off a guy from Chicago .. ’nuff said.) In the meantime, you might want to try shaming them. Feel free to use my new tool – the $0 bill ( – and don’t be afraid to call them what they are: LIARS.

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