Seriously, what is up? Will people never learn?
Back in January 2009 and November 2009, InterstateQ.com unveiled massive copyright infringement and intellectual property theft by the OutGayLife network owned by Eric Wood (see note at bottom) . In that case, Wood had stolen dozens upon dozens of other news organizations' and bloggers' content, including from mainstream publications and The Associated Press.
See, we weren't talking about simple quoting of a bit of an article here or another bit of an article there. No, Wood's copying and pasting went well beyond the normal "blockquoting" you'll see credible bloggers do on their sites. Wood was copying articles wholesale from dozens (maybe hundreds?) of websites and news organizations, often without even the tiniest bit or shred of credit (and, hey, forget about a link back to the original story).
Now, it seems Wood's mistakes are being repeated by yet another gay website operator.
So, here's the back story: Over the weekend, the production director at my day job alerted me to stolen qnotes content appearing on the news section at JustGuys.net, a social networking site for gay and bi men.
Tracking down contact information for the website's owners was like searching for a needle in a haystack. I searched high and low and never found it. Eventually, I sent copyright infringement notices via two contact forms, one on JustGuys.net and the other on the website of JustGuys.net's owner, Century Media Group, Inc.
After almost 24 hours of no response from Century Media, our content was still available on JustGuys.net. Unhappy with that lack of response, I turned all Machiavellian and told a little white lie to get some sort of response from the company. Just a few hours after filling out another contact form -- this one for JustGuys.net advertising inquiries -- I got a return phone call from the illusive Bill Graff, Century Media owner.
"Hello, is David James available?"
"Who am I speaking to," I asked.
"This is Bill Graff, from JustGuys.net."
"Well, actually, I'm not David James. I'm Matt Comer, editor of qnotes newspaper in Charlotte, North Carolina," I said. "Did you get our copyright infringement notices?"
Of course, he said he hadn't. I asked for a direct email address, he obliged and I emailed him the notice again. It didn't take long until the content was down.
But, then in the evening, we received this response to our take-down demand letter/copyright notice:
There has been no copyright infringement on our part but we have removed that news feed because it was not relevant. We will not be featuring news feeds from goqnotes.com in the future. If you do not want your content to be redistributed by other news aggregators, you should consider removing the RSS feeds from your website. RSS feeds are used for the sole purpose of redistributing content across the internet. I spoke to our attorney and he has assured me that if a website goes through the effort of distributing RSS feeds of it's content, then it cannot reasonably expect that content not to be redistributed.
Also, please do not use our advertising interest form for anything other than advertising interest.
Graff's not-so-honest attempt at defending himself ultimately failed. I responded:
Our RSS feeds do not publish the full content of our stories. You would not have been able to display the full content of that article through RSS. Further, the existence of RSS feeds do not allow someone to republish copyrighted content for commercial purposes.
Nice try, though.
You said: "Also, please do not use our advertising interest form for anything other than advertising interest."
Then you, like all reputable companies and business people, should make your full contact information readily available to the public.
Why does it seem dishonesty and theft often go hand-in-hand?
Is your content being stolen?
JustGuys.net's news section contains dozens and dozens of articles reproduced from other websites and news organizations, including mainstream daily newspapers like The New York Times, as well as content from The Associated Press. The site also includes content from LGBT news organizations, such as the Edge Media Network, 365Gay.com, Keen News Service, ProudParenting.com and others.
Edge Media Network's publisher and CEO, David Foucher, confirmed they had not given JustGuys.net permission to reproduce their stories. He told me they've also sent Graff a notice to take down their content immediately.
If you think your content might be among JustGuys.net's illegal reproductions, take time to look around the site and track down any instances of Graff's theft of your content.
If you find your content has been used illegally, you can contact Bill Graff via phone at 617-959-1792 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need to send Graff official, written correspondence (from an attorney, perhaps?), here are two addresses provided courtesy the California Secretary of State:
PO Box 34231
San Diego, CA 92163
4452 Park Blvd. Suite 301
San Diego CA 92116
Note on OutGayLife intellectual property theft: OutGayLife.com isn't defunct, or so I learned today. And, the website owner Eric Wood, like Bill Graff, is still engaging in copyright infringement and intellectual property theft (a quick survey of the site revealed several articles stolen from 365gay.com with no attribution, citation or link back to original stories).
Cross-posted from InterstateQ.com