I'm wondering this in terms of Hubs being stolen and published elsewhere. Let's say a Hub is stolen, meaning it is copied and published on another site, and you are going to file to have it removed or something along those lines. But let's say you no longer have it published on Hubpages but have since moved it to your own site, but the copied one is out there on another site.However, let's say you either have it still sitting on HP unpublished or you have copied it in full, for instance, using the Firefox add-on ScrapBook which copies a Hub totally and saves it. Can the date showing when the Hub was originally published help you legally in any way, for instance in filing a DMCA?
Second part of the question: What if the stolen Hub was copied to a total crap site? Is there any reason to worry about it at all?
This doesn't really answer your question directly... but I think it becomes a bit dodgy if the copied content has ben UNpublished by you, in the meantime. If the earliest date stamp isn't out in the public domain, I'm not sure how much it can help. It's a bit like "poor man's copyright" in the days of printed articles. If you wrote a short story (for example), we needed to physically mail the document to ourselves by certified mail to establish earliest use... it had to be "public," as in have the post office postmark.
If you have an actual screen shot, showing the date, it might be different.
What DOES work (and I believe "counts" in cases of establishing "first use") is to use the Wayback Machine/Internet Archive's "on demand" submission feature, which creates a permanent snapshot of any public page, and it carries authority because it's a third-party record. Of course, that doesn't work retroactively, but it's good practice to create these snapshots when you publish your content to writer's sites that may come and go with the wind.
I used to do the copyright through the mail thing, hadn't thought of that in years. I guess we're a couple old school guys.
I hadn't thought of the wayback machine, that's a good idea. I do have copies of my whole HP account that I copied with ScrapBook. It's an add-on that copies everything--format, images, text, the whole look of the site and it will even copy the My Account page with all the Hubs on it, along with all the Hubs--from the copy, you can literally go to the Hubs from the My Account page. I'm just wondering if this is a legitimate copy, but you might be right, might not hold water.
I believe that as long as the hub is still active the date stamp serves as proof of publishing date. This can be further backed up by your stats page dates and, if needed, support from the staff.
Great question, Nathan. I would also like to know if the date a hub was created has any legal weight. Displayed copyright text, although it serves notice that the work is copyrighted, is just text. But I wonder if Hub timestamps constitute some sort of proof of publication.
Uncertainty about date precedence can lead to confusion with Google DMCA requests. After Yahoo Voices shut down and all that content had gone offline, I found a stolen copy of one of my articles and sent Google a DMCA request. They came back and said they couldn't determined whether my copy of the article (I had saved it to my own site) was the original. Turned out that the thief had spoofed the publication date listed on his stolen copy to make it prior to my actual date of publication. But he made a big mistake. My article concerned President Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address, but the thief dated his copy prior to the date of that speech. When I pointed this out to Google, they went ahead and blocked the thief's page.
But if that internal inconsistency had not been present, I'm not sure I could have proven that mine was the original.
That is an interesting story Ron, it's humorous the thief didn't even think of the date of events in the article. That is concerning and also good info for what I'm asking here that the date could not have been proven to Google (other than the thief's error),
I have often wondered if it matters when our hubs are copied to "crap sites." Sometimes I see a hub has been stolen, and when I search for it, it's on some site that has 3 other articles on it in another language. I figure it's not worth the trouble if it's a site with no traffic. Sorry about your work though, I know it hurts.
Sometimes Google has asked me for evidence about the original date of publication, mostly when I've updated a Hub and the DMCA I'm filling is for a page which was copied before my updates were made, so I send them a screenshot from my Account section of Hubpages which does show the Hub title and original date of publication. I do sometimes add the original date of publication (And the URL) to a text capsule within a published Hub which has been frequently copied, for additional evidence.
Yeah, one of my Hubs is copied to exactly the kind of site you're talking about. I have strong doubts the site gets any traffic or any other kind of attention. They've scraped some content and plopped some ads on it.
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