Friday, April 20, 2007

Stolen Stories

A question about copyright from Caving Liz. Can anyone help her?
Does anyone know what the legal situation is if chunks of text are taken from a website and used on another website, without persmission or acknowledgement from the original site???

Is it plagiarism, or abuse of copyright, or what?

Thanks to Sharon, I have been using Copyscape to 'protect' my caving webpage. On the rare occasions when I remember to use Copyscape to check for copied pages, I usually find one. Yesterday I did a check and voila........ I found 2 pages had copied chunks of text from my page without my knowledge, and neither of them acknowledge me as being the source. My page is

One is Virtual Malaysia, which is part of Tourism Malaysia.

The other is an Indian Travel Agent in Tamil Nadu.

I have a feeling they have copied lots of text from lots of sites as they probably don't have their own first hand knowledge on the places they are marketing.

Does anyone have any experience about this? What can I do?



Anonymous said...

IANAL, but IMHO your pages are being lifted because you don't have a copyright message. You maybe need to something like "(c) 2006 Elizabeth Price -- All Rights Reserved" on it. After this you will need a disclaimer "While every effort is made to.. the author does not warrant the accuracy of the information...etc." you know, the standard disclaimer so that if you make a mistake, and someone gets hurt or worse because of it, they won't sue you.

This post (c) 2006 Anonymous (The original !) :D

Kenny Mah said...

I have the copyright disclaimer on all my blog pages by default. And ever so often, I notice that some of the pages that link to my blog seem to have nothing to do with me whatsoever.

Off I go and have a look and they've copied a whole chunk of my entries, probably to get more hits from people who Google terms that normally would bring them to my blog.

It's annoying, but I do wonder if there is truly anything we can do to stop this permanently.

bibliobibuli said...

anon - yes, i went to liz's site after i posted this and found there was no statement of copyright at all.

i faced the same problem when i found blogposts lifted, and stuck up a creative commons blogsticker. don't know how protected this actually makes you, but it would make those who steal content think twice.

animah said...

It's infringement of copyright - whether or not you have a copyright notice.
The purpose of the "(c) 2007 name" is to notify the world at large who the author is so they know who to contact if they want to use it. As far as I am concerned if a person can see who the blog owner is, can see the date of posting (copyright last 50 years - in most countries, I think - I'm not up todate with the international conventions), then they can contact the owner and seek permission.
Only the US requires registration of a copyright. Everywhere else, the author owns it automatically unless she has transfered ownership to another party.
Liz, you have every right to write to those who have copied your work, requesting them to "cease and desist" i.e. remove the material immediately, failing which you will take legal action. I believe you can also ask for a share in their revenue obtained as a result of your material - again I'm not quite up to speed, you can check with an IP lawyer.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks animah. it is a worry.

for the record i am happy for other people to use my material provided that they have asked for permission and credit it. one of my main reasons for blogging is to place useful stuff on record in a public domain. what hurts deeply is if people pass your work off for their own.

sympozium said...

You don't need to put up any copyright disclaimers as long as your work is original. If there's substantial repoduction of your work, then there may be a case of copyright infringement. However, the problem is who and where you're going to institute the action for the infringement? As Sharon noted, a warning or a disclaimer may serve to make someone hesitate before reproducing your work.

Anonymous said...

It depends on the site I guess. If you have a site, say anything on it, there's always a possibility that someone might want to sue you because of something you said. So it makes sense to have a disclaimer. And while you're there you might as well slip in the copyright message, it's not as if it's going to cost a lot :D

caving liz said...

I posted a comment a couple of hours ago but it didn't appear! Thanks to all of you who have posted comments. For some reason I always thought you don't need to put copyright notice on www, just as sympozium said.
I then googled "All righs reserved" and it seems that nowadays you don't need to put this, as the law has changed, according to Wikipedia.

Just wondering if any of you guys use Creative Commons as suggested by Sharon?

Syar said...

Unfortunately, I am not very knowledgeable in Internet copyrights, and it is such a grey area as it is.

And this comment really has nothing to do with this post, but I am in need of some help. My name's Syar and I am currently interning at The Star. I'm writing a story for Youth2 about poetry slams and the poetry scene here in general. My editor's asking for samples of the work read at the slam and I am in need of some contact. I was wondering if you could offer any assitance whatsoever? The article's going to be published this Wednesday, so I need to send in everything by Monday (23/4/2007).

My email is

Any help or infor you can give me would be great. Please and thanks!

Anonymous said...

haha! even Star reporters come here for help with their stories. ur blog is so happening!

The Viz

bibliobibuli said...

syar - this is getting to be the hottest topic in town lah! just did an interview with your rivals!

i blogged a lot of the stuff you need so just follow the labels e.g.

live literature
performance poetry

and then you should find most of it

you can give me a call if you have any more questions or need any more help


you have a tight deadline lah!!!!

btw i echo liz' thanks. i was quite horrified on her behalf when i saw how her work had been used

sympozium said...

Copyright is copyright regardless of the medium of publication. If your country's Copyright Act has extended the law to cover the internet (and many have) then there can be an infringement of you copyright if someone uses it without your authorisation. Copyright need not be registered in most Commonwealth countries. One way of finding out is to go to the websites of the relevant countries's IP offices: eg in Malaysia it's the Malaysian Intellectual Property Office (MYIPO), Singapore's is called IPOS, UK's is The Patent Office,...they all have websites giving summaries of the various IP laws.

bibliobibuli said...

sympozium - didn't know this and thank you sincerely for it.

animah said...

The Malaysian Copyright Act is one of the most amended statutes in Malaysia (after the Federal Constitution).

caving liz said...

Yes, thanks Sympozium on the info about copyright in Malaysia. I haven't looked into MYIPO
But I wonder how it works with websites, is it based on where your server is located, or where you are located or what?????

bibliobibuli said...

free legal advice from top lawyers on my blog, liz

sympozium said...

Suing someone for internet copyright infringement is very tricky - the best bet would be to institute an action where the server is located. But this is extremely pricey (assuming the server is in UK, you'd have to hire UK lawyers), and time-consuming. For case law on internet copyright infringement: look at primarily the US cases, some UK ones and EU. Australia also has some groundbreaking cases notably the Kazaa/Grokster case. Do note also that while YOU feel that your copyright has been infringed, the judges/arbitrators may feel otherwise, so be sure to have a strong case first, or you might end up with costs for BOTH parties, you and the alleged infringer. If you're in Kuala Lumpur I can recommend a very good firm of IP lawyers - they're reasonably priced and will probably not charge you for first consultation. They can probably tell you whether you have a strong case or not. But if you're not losing money over the infringement (in terms of royalties etc) and your reputation has not been impugned, my advice is that you forget it and go on with spelunking :-) 99% of times my advice to clients is, forget it. Find a solution between the two of you. Litigation really, REALLY the LAST avenue you should consider. By the time your decision is granted (and assuming it's in your favour, and it could be years away), you'd think, what the hell was that all for?)