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The most brazen article theft I've ever experienced

  1. RonElFran profile image100
    RonElFranposted 3 years ago

    I just discovered one of my Civil War articles copied in it's entirety, without attribution, in the online newsletter of a "camp" of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. That's not an organization with which I am entirely in sympathy! I thought about contacting them, but then I saw this disclaimer in their newsletter:

    Copyright Notice:
    In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted material published herein is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who are interested in receiving the provided information for non - profit research and educational purpose only. Reference: Http: www .law. cornell .eduuscode/17/107 .shtml

    They claim "fair use" in copying an entire 2339 word article! I'm not an expert on such matters, but I'm pretty sure you can't just steal someone's entire article and publish it as your own, without even giving the author credit, under a fair use exemption.

    I have sent a DMCA complaint to Google. But this newsletter appears to be mainly distributed in print form, and I don't know anything I can do about that.

    Maybe I should just take some solace in the thought that even the SCV likes my work.

    1. ChristinS profile image96
      ChristinSposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      copying an entire article does indeed violate copyright law and is not "fair use" at all.  "Fair Use" would be if they cited a small section of your article - that they credited you for and then wrote their on commentary on it.  Taking a whole article, republishing and claiming it as "fair use" is bogus.  I would contact them and tell them they can pay you for their use of your work or you will consider all your options under the law. 

      While it may be flattering that someone likes your work - theft is theft and that is not fair to writer's who work hard on their material. People need to realize they are not just entitled to things for free because they see them on the internet.  Frustrating.. Sorry that happened to you!

      For more clarity on "fair use" here is the link from the U.S Copyright office that addresses that issue specifically.  http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

      1. RonElFran profile image100
        RonElFranposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        I think you're probably right, ChristinS. Though I have no expectation it doing any good, they need to be reminded that what they are doing is neither legal nor fair. So, I will contact them.

    2. PegCole17 profile image97
      PegCole17posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      It really hurts when our hard work and research is taken and used without permission. I found a couple of mine on a Documents for sale site that seemed somewhat scholarly. They took the articles down but I had to submit the DMCA and report it to a site they said monitored their content. I also found an entire article of mine used in a travel ad. It gets really frustrating. I hope you have success in getting this resolved.

    3. relache profile image90
      relacheposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Their fair use claim is bogus.  Hit them and their internet service provider both with your takedown notice and watch how fast they remove your stolen content.

    4. Jayne Lancer profile image97
      Jayne Lancerposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I wish somebody could tell you what to do about this. Having your hub copied in print form must be the most frustrating thing about the issue - it obviously can't be 'taken down' as a web article easily can.

      I've just been reading up on it, and it seems the only thing to do is sue. But is it worth the effort? I think I'd certainly send the 'camp' site and the SCV main site a warning, in which I'd quote the law and inform that I will sue if it happens again. It would at least let them know that it hasn't gone unnoticed and that you'll be keeping an eye on them in future (if your DMCA complaint hasn't already done that). Giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they don't know already, it might also educate them on what they can and can't do where copying other people's work is concerned.

      I found some useful information on Fair Use here: https: //w2. eff.org/ IP/eff_fair_use_faq .php

  2. Lisa HW profile image73
    Lisa HWposted 3 years ago

    I'm not defending anyone here, and I don't condone article theft at all; but I've found from past experience that organizations (I'm assuming the people who put stuff on the websites of organizations) often aren't entirely "up" on the thing that taking stuff from anywhere online (and posting it) is (shall I say) frowned on.   hmm   I think sometimes some of these places have - like - little, local, offices with "whoever" doing their site.   Again, not defending them.  Just thinking there's at least the chance they don't know any better (but, of course, the chance they know very well.).

    1. Marisa Wright profile image98
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I second that, Lisa.  In fact this has happened to me twice, and twice I've sent them a (polite) email explaining the legal situation and received a very nice apology in return.

    2. Pollyanna Jones profile image97
      Pollyanna Jonesposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Same here. A polite message to the people that had copied an article of mine, and it was taken down without fuss. Maybe RonElFran, try writing to them first to explain your shock at finding this, and see what they say? I would escalate it if they came back to me with a bad attitude, or if they ignored me. It is very upsetting when this happens, so best of luck in getting things resolved.

    3. JoanTheChoirLady profile image86
      JoanTheChoirLadyposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Starting with a personal message to them sounds like a good idea to me, too.  But make sure that the message includes your picture, Ron.

      The most flagrant theft I've ever experienced was someone who copied my Cinderella story verbatim on their blog and actually said, "written by me . . . from my imagination."  It was on Blogger, I notified Google, and soon after the entire blog was gone.

  3. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    I think it is almost always worth letting people know they are making mistake, the next group they plagiarize may go straight to suing them.

    1. Millionaire Tips profile image91
      Millionaire Tipsposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I agree.  Some people may also know that what they are doing is wrong and think that nobody will find out.  They need to know that people can find out when they do wrong.

  4. RonElFran profile image100
    RonElFranposted 3 years ago

    I did send an email letting them know that their use of my article was not covered by fair use, and asking them to take it offline, and to notify readers who already received their newsletter of my authorship. Joan, I didn't think of including a picture! We'll see if they respond. If they don't, my next step will be a complaint to their hosting service. Thanks, everybody.