Blogography, for lack of a better word, is a diversion. I spend about ten minutes each day writing an entry (a bit more if there's a cartoon), another ten approving comments, and another 10 to 20 answering emails. It's not a very big part of my day, but it is a part that I'm rather attached to. My online life means a lot to me, and the people I've met because of it mean even more.
Which is why I am starting to get fanatically pissed that people are stealing my blog. And I'm not talking about the hundreds of MySpace bloggers who try to hotlink to my photos... I am talking actual theft here.
Back in February, I got an email from my friend Dave++ telling me how somebody had taken photos and content from his web site and created a new fictional person based on his life (you can read the fascinating story here). Something similar had happened to me the previous summer, so I could relate... a reader had sent me an email telling me that somebody had stolen most of my travel photos (like these) and then blogged about the trips as if they were the one who had taken them. I was curious more than upset, and fired off an email telling them that they should either give me credit for my photos or remove them. Instead, they removed the entire blog, which was okay too.
But that was not the end of it. I still get emails from Blogography readers pointing me to other sites that have stolen my stuff. Sometimes it's just a photo or two, which is no big deal (though I do wish they would give me credit, as specified by my Creative Commons license)... but other times it's much worse. They steal entire entries. They steal cartoons and erase the copyright. The steal photos and claim to have taken them. They steal my site layout. They steal my web feed. They steal EVERYTHING.
What really burns my ass is that many times these thieves have money-generating ads on their blogs, meaning that they are PROFITING off of my work. Do you see any ads on MY site? No? That's because THERE AREN'T ANY! If I am not making any money off of Blogography, why should anybody else get to??
A few weeks ago I was pointed to some kind of television critics site where some ass-clown had stolen my entry about why Lost sucks... in its entirety... and posted it with their name as the author. When I wrote in about it, I was told that there must be some kind of "misunderstanding" and that they would look into it. Since the site had paid advertising, I wrote back and said that this was completely unacceptable... either they remove my content IMMEDIATELY, or I would start contacting their advertisers. Their solution? Rewrite the piece with different words to say the exact same thing. Whatever. It's not like I have the money to have a lawyer sue their thieving asses.
And a few weeks before that I was battling with somebody whose entire site was nothing more than my web feed displayed in their layout... with paid ads! WTF?!? How can ANYBODY think that it's okay to republish somebody else's free material and get money for it? But people do... because I've had my entire "television" and "Hard Rock Cafe" categories stolen as well.
Is it just me, or does this suck ass? For the web feed thief, I actually had to get the idiot's web host involved because he refused to remove my work. His attitude was that "anything put on the internet is fair game," and he "had every right to use it however he wanted to." He honestly thought that there was nothing wrong with stealing my content and making money from it. It's this kind of bizarre behavior that has me completely baffled. If you didn't write it and don't credit the original source, you're just a stealing liar. How could it possibly be interpreted any other way?
This would all be so much easier if I could hire mercenaries to track down the people who steal from me and have their stupid asses killed.