Matt Comer

Gay network's possible copyright infringement

Filed By Matt Comer | January 05, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: copyright infringement, Eric Wood, intellectual property, outgaylife

Early afternoon on Monday, Jan. 5, I published an exclusive story on the network's alleged copyright infringement and violations of intellectual property rights.

The network, containing at least 21 other websites with the same or similar content, had republished and reposted material from LGBT publications, blogs and mainstream news organizations. In almost every instance, original authors and publications weren't cited, and, before they were deleted entirely, the network had almost 300 instances of possible infringement on The Associated Press' copyright and intellectual property.

It completely burnt me up to see a gay website stealing content from other gay websites, blogs, newspapers and magazines.

Porscha Yount, the associate publisher of Stereotypd (formerly Out in Asheville), one of the possible victims of the infringement, put my frustration well in her own words: "Publications have individuals working really hard to write stories that have original content and that are interesting to their readership. For someone to take that and claim as their own is, quite frankly, theft. 'Copyright infringement' sounds fancy but really they are just stealing content."

What bothered me more was the network owner, Eric Wood, and his seemingly ambivalent attitude toward the very real possibility that he'd broken the law and stolen other people's intellectual property.

"I would assume that there's thousands of other sites, literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of very similar sites as mine," Wood said, asking why he was the only one being contacted. "All you would need to do is go and look at or or Typepad or any of these user submitted sites. You would find ten thousand times what is on my website."

When I noticed that the AP content had been removed from his website, I contacted Wood again. This time he admitted he removed the content "because of copyright" and said that "it's not worth the battle."

LGBT bloggers and journalists work so, so very hard to create high quality work. In such a small and demanding market it takes so much diligence and perseverance in order to make a living and a career out of doing what we love to do.

When people like Eric Wood come along and steal our content, claiming it as their own, our work is cheapened. Gay bloggers and journalists don't deserve that.

Read the full story at

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Our news engine at consolidates and filters news from about 500 news sources. Therefore, every day there are hundreds of third-party articles added.

I think that there are three requirements:

1. Attribution

2. A link to the original article

3. Limiting content to the syndicated teaser which should constitute fair use.

I have encouraged other sites to use our news and blog feeds on the same basis.

Recently one of the larger GLBT sites copied some original material from our site's opinion blog. The teaser got re-aggregated as a news item with a link and attribution from us to the offending site. When I asked them about it they informed me that it was coincidental. It can be very frustrating.

Matt's article expresses this frustration in very meaningful terms.

I have had people use my written works, and if they were put in a magazine I was always asked permission.
But a question. I try to help suicidal, angry and depressed gay youth understand their significance and worth; and I will use the writings of others to try and help them. If I know the author I give credit but if i don't I can't even though I don't take the credit myself. I'll say this, "Like someone has said..."
How do I link to the original site with a URL[??].I don't even know my own URL-I'm not computer savvy.
Sometimes I wish I could just type in a URL to avoid having to send a long article but how?
Any help would be appreciated. When health and time permits I want to set up a safe website for all suicidal and depressed youth to come to and meet others who can encourage them.

did they take any content from interstateq, q-notes, or bilerico?

this does get me riled up, because it's the illegal extension of the mentality that all content (music, art, writing, tv, etc.) should be free. And it's never free - there's always someone putting money and time into creating it.

But these folks go one step further and try to profit off someone else's investment time and/or money, and they should know better. If they aren't here to produce something new, then they should just get a 9-to-5 and get out of the website business.

Alex... No, I didn't find anything from my site, Bilerico or Q-Notes.

Blaine... Look at this site to see how to make an active link on a blog post or html page.

We find this a lot from Bilerico Project. One twitter feed that I subscribe to simply grabs the first headline and first few words with a link to their site. On their site is the first little bit of our our post and a link to our site.

Others aren't as generous and just steal the content and then promote it on their own site. Our Google alert for Bilerico always has at least 3 or 4 of them each day.

I usually only contact folks who haven't completely copied an entire post as their own. If I see that they are promoting it as their own though, my "contact" isnt' as nice. LOL

Bil brings up a good point about monitoring activity. Although I am curious - why twitter in contrast to subscribing to the RSS feed?

Another preventive strategy is on the push side. Given that the central issue is "Fair Use," I am at a loss to understand why some people syndicate to RSS entire stories rather than just the teaser limited to about 400 characters. Doing so benefits both parties as long as there is attribution and a link to the full article.

On the MSM/Progressive side, Think Progress, Right Wing Watch and Media Matters syndicate the story in full - which is also expensive in terms of bandwidth and cycles. On the right, absolutely-crazy-Hartline does the same thing. Of course, Hartline doesn't bother with niceties like P tags. The result makes him seem even more incoherent,