"What are you gonna do? Complain? And start a massive public fight with someone extremely famous and get smashed into dust by thousands of fans? No thanks. And that was my Uber, too! I paid money to have one of my jokes stolen by a multi-millionaire! When people hit a certain level of celebrity they start to think the world actually revolves around them and they can just take something if they want and say it's theirs." — hbomberguy, Harris Michael Brewis
Blogography has been going on for a while now. Over twenty years, to be exact. And the vast majority of that time I've been posting daily. As you might guess, having twenty years of content on the internet means that you've got loads of stuff for people to steal and claim as their own.
And it does happen. I regularly get people writing to me saying "Did you know this person is taking your stuff?" Usually it's DaveToons or my photos. Sometimes it's my posts. Twice it's been people stealing entire months of my posts and pretending to be living my life. Including the time a person stole my travel posts, including those talking about blogger meets that I had organized!
Back in my early days, I would write to them and ask them to credit where they got the material or take it down. Eventually that was too much effort so... as long as they weren't making money off my work... I just let it be. If they were making money off my work (when I myself am not), I'd usually send them a bill with a usage fee. They'd never pay it, but odds are they would take it down. A notable exception being a very famous blogger (circa 2007) who stole one of my posts (complete with my photos!). I sent them a bill for $2,500. They replied telling me "no" and said that I should be grateful that they were giving me "exposure"... except they weren't, because my name or a link to my blog was nowhere to be found. Rather than risking all-out war, I let it drop. Which is why when they had a spectacular downfall due to a bit of a scandal years later, I chalked it up to karma.
There is an exception to my kindness, however. If you're using my work to promote hate speech or to promote people who promote hate speech, I threaten legal action. At least I do now. Back in the day I was far more crude. Once some hateful "Christian" organization used one of my photos in an article condemning homosexuality. I was furious. But first I was devastated, because it came the day after a young gay man had taken his own life after relentless bullying. My photo was being used to create an atmosphere so toxic that this young man would rather die than have to live in it. And that caused me to become unhinged. So I changed their hotlink to point to a photo of gay oral sex which had "BLOW ME!" written on it. It was like that for at least two weeks before they noticed, at which time they wrote with their intent to sue. I told them to go fuck themselves, and to stop stealing my shit or I would be the one suing them.
On the other end of the spectrum, I also get people writing to me and requesting permission to use my stuff. So long as they are not making money off of it and it's not promoting hate speech, I always agree. And if they keep the copyright intact, I don't require them to credit me. If they're a charity or an educational organization, I even volunteer to make changes if it would be more helpful to what they're using it for.
And, yes, I do realize that there is likely a ton of my content that's been stolen which I will never know about. Especially by video creators, which brings us to the reason for this post. "hbomberguy" (AKA Harris Michael Brewis) whom I have been following for a while, just released an epic 3 hour and 50 minute video which discusses plagiarism on YouTube. And he has some fantastic examples within. I know that this is an incredibly long video, but it's well worth your time to watch. And I hope you do, because it's a treat...
I am confident that YouTube, as a part of Google, has all the tools they need to go after those who plagerize their content. But they won't be proactive like that because videos make them money with ad revenue, and it's not in their best interest to be proactive like that.
Except on behalf of major movie studios and record labels who have the money to seriously sue them if they don't at least search for stolen songs and clips from movies and television shows.
As for blogs like mine? We're entitled to nothing at all. Well, except plagiarism, obviously.
But I'm used to it. And have been for a very long time.