This post is more about my blog than my dog, but I've been mildly enraged about this for a couple of days, so I thought I'd share this information in case anyone else has experienced this issue or in case this is happening to other bloggers without them even being aware of it.
When I first started blogging, I didn't know much about it, and people didn't really know about me. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get my blog to show up in a search engine, so that people would actually know I existed. Since that time, I haven't really Googled the site to see what shows up.
The other night, I was bored and surfing around online and Googled my blog to see what listings would show up. Imagine my surprise when I saw the title of a post that I had written alongside the name of a site I'd never heard of - brokencontrollers.com. They had basically reposted one of my blog posts onto their site, so when people searched for that content, they'd get to the Broken Controllers site instead. From what I could see, they only did that with one of my posts.
I did a bit of a crash course in copyright law by going to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office site and elsewhere online, and then wrote the guy an email informing him that I had not consented to the website copying the content that I had created and reposting it. To his credit, he emailed me back a day or so later informing me that it was removed, and it was. However, there are still other sites I see that repost titles of my blog posts, or the content of my blog posts, that are much less easy to reach than this website was. On another site, I had to leave my annoyed-yet-polite request for them to remove my content in a reply to the post, since their contact form wasn't working. (Ironically, that site had a copyright notice on the bottom of the page - I guess they'll use it to protect their own content, without any regard for anyone else's content! Shameless.)
In theory, I'd have no issue with someone re-posting something I wrote, if they asked for permission first, and received it. After all, don't bloggers blog to initiate discussions about whatever it is they are interested in? And if people post a line or two from my blog because they're interested in the content or have something to say about what I wrote, that probably wouldn't bother me much, if I was credited and it was being done in good faith. But this just left a bad taste in my mouth, because it seems to me that these ploys are designed solely to direct traffic from where it should be going - the blog or website with the actual content that a person is searching for - to these other sites that just re-post the content and really have nothing to do with the content itself. There was no real interest in, or discussion about, what it is that I had posted. While some people might have been content to have another link leading to their blog online, to increase traffic and move their blog up in search results, that's not what I'm interested in. If there's no real connection to or interest in what I'm writing, the way I see it, you're just taking my content, secretively and without my permission, to increase hits to your site. It just doesn't sit right with me.
I just wanted to blog about this because this could be happening to other bloggers without them even realizing it. When is the last time you Googled your own blog? Hopefully you don't find anything out of the ordinary, but if you do, it is good to know that sometimes, all it takes is an e-mail. While I'm not impressed with the initial action by that website, I do appreciate that it didn't take much to get it resolved. Now, we'll see about those other sites that I saw my blog associated with that have no real way to contact whoever the administrator is. I may just have to give up on those ones, for my own sanity.
In the meantime, I did add a little copyright symbol to the bottom of the blog. My understanding is that while content like my blog posts or photos is copyrighted automatically when it is created (at least in Canada), and the symbol doesn't really make it "official" because the copyright exists whether or not that symbol is there, it does show that it is copyrighted, and for me, the symbol brings attention to that fact when otherwise people might not be thinking about it.
Well, now I know, and I'll keep an eye out for this sort of thing happening in the future. I hope other bloggers will too. And I learned a little bit about copyright law - though I wish I hadn't had to!