This Article Was Stolen

Robbers. Thieves. Unethical. Without Merit.

There’s just no other way to describe an organization that steals content, then represents it as their own.

This is the case with a website called "THE WINERY".They describe themselves as "part magazine, part newspaper, dedicated to wine.

What they do, is this:

-Surf Wine Blogs
-Post 100 words of an entry from a Wine Blog
-Create a link that says "Read More"
-Take the reader to the entire entry….located on their own site.

In other words, they are representing the content as their own. If I ever do this on FERMENTATION, someone call me on it in the harshest words, then never read this blog again.

But I thought I’d do a little experiment to see if they are actually reading the blog posts they are stealing for just automatically posting them without looking at what their computer program goes out and picks up. Hence, the title of this blog posting.

My suggestion to other wine bloggers whose work is being stolen and misrepresented is to see if this little test works, then do it your self.


15 Responses

  1. Josh - May 24, 2006

    It looks like there is no editorial control, just links to RSS feeds that are collected and hosted on the site.
    Blogs are linked to, but the site referrs to them as submitters, erroneously implying that we are taking an active part in supplying the content.
    If whomever is responsible for the site wants to continue using the wine blogosphere’s content, he or she should list the sites being syndicated and make it clear that no one is submitting anything.
    I’ll join you in the crusade.

  2. Duarte Da Silva - May 24, 2006

    Wow! These guys really suck. They don’t provide a link back to your site until you reach the entire article. They also have it labeled “Submitted by:” which implies that you submitted it to them. It’s not even a real blog! No RRS feeds or track backs. I will NOT be visiting that site.

  3. Bill Wilson - May 24, 2006

    This is pretty tacky. It would be one thing if they’d put a decent sized “We cull the wine blogs so you don’t have to” type of disclaimer at the top.
    Plagiarism and copyright infringement will always be an issue online.
    Anyone want me to send a cease and desist letter/email to these folks?

  4. Bill Wilson - May 24, 2006

    I forgot to say I do like Tom’s guerilla-style approach to fighting these turkeys. I’d love to see about 20 “this article was stolen” headlines on that page.

  5. Michelle - May 24, 2006

    I’m amazed that they don’t even admit to culling RSS feeds. Nor did I see any contact information on the site, beyond posting in the Forums, as Catavino did.
    It’s sad, because by not crediting the blogs directly, they are alienating an audience. By not sending people directly to the actual posts, and instead placing the article on their own site, they are losing out on the comments, which can be every bit as educational and/or entertaining as the original conversation starter.
    They’re sort of missing out on the basic blogging etiquette of attribution, eh?

  6. Outdoorgrrl - May 24, 2006

    Hmmm…I had an image “stolen” from my site a while back. (Published w/o permission or attribution.) At least I got a note from the publisher saying he had used it. I kindly asked for compensation for the use of my photo. Long story short, they removed the picture from the site saying they didn’t realize the image was for sale.
    It’s hard to understand how anyone could think this type of thing was appropriate!

  7. Ron Sober - May 24, 2006

    My personal blog is copyrighted through Creative Commons, and I would recommend that you do this. It won’t cost you anything and the Creative Commons copyright has actually held up in court in the past. If they are just stealing your stuff, then maybe they have an application that checks for a digital copyright entry. Here is the URL for creative commons…
    I have even used this to copyright a blog and also to copyright printed materials I use in wine courses.
    Your intelectual property is your property and should not be victim to prowling websites.

  8. Jeff - May 24, 2006

    This was going to be one of those things where I was going to be upset if my content was stolen, and I was going to be upset if my content wasn’t stolen.
    What’s wrong with my posts? A Veruca Salt kind of whine …
    I think people that are into the wine blogosphere kind of pick up on the rhythm of who is doing interesting things and who isn’t and these guys, I don’t think, are doing anything interesting. Like prison justice for pedophiles, I’m sure these guys will come to a likely justice without much intervention.
    That, or a post from Tom on incorporating Creative Commons on everybody’s blog would be helpful.

  9. Benito - May 24, 2006

    Dirty pool, old man! Dirty pool!
    I wonder how many other sites are doing this? I get form-letter e-mails every week from various sites that want to “syndicate” content or something like that. I ignore all of it, but those are just the sites that are asking politely.
    Fortunately, in the wineblogging community, reputations are honestly earned over time, and regular readers will go to the originating site, and actual winebloggers seem to be pretty consistent about accurately linking to each other. We haven’t had a big plagiarism scandal yet, have we? At least on the piece of crap site you linked they’re giving credit to the author’s name. That doesn’t justify their actions, but it could be worse.
    Re: Outdoorgrrl
    I had the same problem recently, except that it was a photo I took that really didn’t look all that great. I decided not to raise a fuss about it, as I didn’t want credit for a sub-par photo. Still bothered me, though.

  10. Alder - May 24, 2006

    Unless they didn’t have the “By [blog name]” tag on their stories when you wrote this, you’ve actually given them permission to do what they’re doing!
    See that Creative Commons license there on your sidebar? It stipulates that people are able to use your content, even for commercial purposes as long as they attribute it to you. Which as far as I can see, they are doing.
    You’ve got a published RSS feed of your site, and all they are doing is syndicating it (as someone else pointed out, probably automatically, without any cut-and-paste).
    If this makes you angry, then just change your Copyright stance. Until then, my friend, you’re tilting at windmills of your own making.

  11. tom - May 24, 2006

    You are of course correct. However, I do make some pretty nice windmills.
    That said, it’s not as though I’m going to take them to court or anythinig. I just wanted to point out that the tactic is sleezy, without merit and thieving.

  12. David - May 25, 2006

    They are stealing and using the content to drive their google ads. I did some checking and their Domain Name is registered by a “private” service:
    Might be worth an email to those folks, I’m guessing they would be able to shut down “The Winery”.
    You may have uncovered the wine worlds first google click scam.

  13. Ryan Opaz - May 25, 2006

    They took down my forum post and it took forever to get my content back from them…

  14. nimbleferret - May 30, 2006

    Attaching the note to this post clarifying the situation (which is posted elsewhere):
    We *DO* request permission from bloggers — by no means do we want to steal anyone’s content. That said, clearly some blogs — such as yours — have slipped through the cracks, and for that I apologize. We don’t want to have anyone’s content on the site that doesn’t want to be there. Luckily, at least 95% of the bloggers that we contact are happy to join our network and recognize the value we provide. Right now that value is limited to helping readers filter through articles using “tags” that we have labelled articles based on our analysis of their content — however, we plan to continue adding features that add value for readers. Importantly, this arrangement has generally benefited bloggers by opening up their content to a larger audience, and built up awareness for their own sites.
    I felt that it was important to clarify this because I think that there was a misunderstanding. We DO seek out permission, although clearly something systematic went wrong. Once again we have removed your articles from the site, converted the wine site to a linking-mode to be as conservative as possible, and of course I apologize for any inconveniences caused.

  15. Eve Collins - May 30, 2006

    Why am I not surprised? There is so much copying going on and not only amongst wine blogs. It is disgusting. But eventually the blogs with a steady flow of genuine information like your blog will prevail.

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