This Article Will Not Be Stolen

In response to my post yesterday about an Internet Site that was apparently lifting entire articles from wine blogs and posting them in their entirety on their own site, I received this e-mail:


I just saw your posting made here ( Most importantly, I have removed the Fermentation articles from TheWinery.  However, I did want to clarify the situation.  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 in the case of your blog something went wrong.  Once again we have removed your articles from the site, and I apologize for this error.

Thanks for your understanding,

Mario Grech"

My response to Mr. Grech was:

I’m sure bloggers see the value of your site…..the value to you.

You are offering no incentive to have a reader return to the site that actually created your content. Zero reason. Your site exits merely to reap income from google ads based on your lifting of work from others.

The problem is that most bloggers don’t have the financial ability to sue you. This is of course why you’ve never made a mistake and accidentally had a New York Times of Washington Post article “slip through the cracks” and appear on your site.

Thank you for not stealing FERMENTATION’s content anymore.
Tom Wark…


20 Responses

  1. Ryan Opaz - May 25, 2006

    They did the same thing to me and it took forever to track them down and get my content removed. Now that they have they sent me the same notice. It appears they don’t ask permission from anyone, until someone complains. UGH….

  2. Fredric Koeppel - May 25, 2006

    Boy, you are one tough customer!

  3. Jeff - May 25, 2006

    Hmmm … I must have slipped through the cracks, as well. You’re point is spot-on correct. The only benefit to my blog would be the link-through back to my site which DOESN’T EXIST.

  4. nimbleferret - May 25, 2006

    Obviously you didn’t believe what I said in the email, but that is fine. Clearly something went wrong systematically regarding TheWinery as more than one blog was enabled on the site without prior permission. Again, we don’t want to steal anyone’s content and we actively seek permission from bloggers! Until this gets sorted out, however, we are going to be as conservative as possible — the site will default to providing links to articles (as opposed to the pages on our site). Hopefully this at least somewhat demonstrates a show of good faith. Once again, sorry for the errors on our system.

  5. Hugo - May 25, 2006

    I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad that my content wasn’t stolen too? I’m not gay but it’s a bit like a guy trying to pick up your mate sitting next to you in a bar – it’s just nice to be wanted.

  6. Greg Walter - May 25, 2006

    I think that your complaint was reasonable and justified. It’s a pretty good bet that you and Ryan are not the only blogs that have “slipped through the cracks.” No accident there. Some people choose to unfairly profit off of other people’s hard work, rather than invest the time and money it takes to create an original product.

  7. tom - May 25, 2006

    Hopefully Mr. Nimbleferret will be more careful in the future as he suggests he will in his comment above.
    As Alder from Vinography pointed out yesterday, the Nimbleferret folk were within their rights to simply take the content.
    However, this serves to remind me what I hope I always knew: What’s legal and whats right isn’t always the same.

  8. Greg Walter - May 25, 2006

    Alder is right — and so are you. But I’ve always learned that doing what’s right is far better than settling for what’s legal. We each hold ourselves to certain standards. To me, it’s one thing to aggregate content for the purpose of aggregating content. It’s another when you do it (and nothing else) for no other reason than to make money off someone else’s work. I realize that the license is the license. That’s what’s legal. But it’s not right.

  9. Jathan - May 26, 2006

    Beau and I use the same CC license:
    I seriously doubt any of the bloggers on the site were asked for their approval before they were aggregated. It seems those of us using this license or something similar were protected.
    My suggestion would be that the following bloggers request their content be removed, and implement a CC license (or if you have one already, something a little more protective..see above).
    Wine Camp
    Dr. Vino
    Wine Sediments
    Wino Sapien
    Tablas Creek
    The bad thing is, aggregation sites like this are popping up all over the place, and contacting them for removal can be a challenge. This site had no contact page, and had a hidden Domain Registration. Better to protect yourself from the start.

  10. Dr. Vino - May 27, 2006

    That CC license states that the content can be copied with attribution, which is exactly what is happening. Which brings us back to what is right and what is legal…
    A site has started reproducing my posts in their entirety without my permission.
    VERY annoying. VERY unwanted.

  11. Mary Baker - May 27, 2006

    My site was hit at 5 p.m. last night. There was no letter requesting authorization. According to the U.S. Copyright Office (I have had occasion to inquire about this before) it is not necessary to apply for a copyright in order to own copyright. There are also ways to report these infringements to the major search engines. Stealing an entire article, with or without attribution, is outside of fair use doctrine–particularly as it is clear in this case that ALL the material from MANY sites has been stolen.
    My post is at:
    I think you will like what I did with keywords . . .
    Thanks, Tom!

  12. Mary Baker - May 27, 2006

    Ah. And now I see that if I click on the “Dover Canyon Winery” link it takes me to a nimbleferret page listing ALL 45 Dover Canyon posts!!! And then if I click on “Read More” it takes me FIRST to a nimbleferret link like “” which is a redirect pop to my website–except that there is no indication of a trackback. What does that mean?
    I wonder if there are copyright attorneys on the Squires’ site who would have an opinion?

  13. nimbleferret - May 27, 2006

    We were merely linking to articles on your site. If you clicked on the links they took you to *your* site. That is not a copyright infringement. Any feed reader (Bloglines, Google Reader, etc.) aggregates feeds in the same manner.
    In any case, since you clearly don’t even want us to link to you blog, we have ceased doing this as well.
    As for why we use a redirect page — it’s to allow for features that will be rolled out in the future. Users that have registered for an account on the site will allow us to track the articles they have read for them. This will allow us to personalized the site for our readers, which will include a number of features: ability to search through the articles they have read, have the articles sorted based on the ones that the reader is most likely to be interested in based on a number of factors, etc. The idea is to help readers discover new sites and surf the blogosphere more efficiently.
    I totally understand why some people have chosen to shoot first and ask questions later, but I think it’s really important to realize that this isn’t some spam site. When it was pointed out to us by Tom that something had gone wrong on our end, we took action immediately and switched the site over to a linking mode so that we could be sure we weren’t infringing on anyways material (if this was REALLY some spam site we obviously wouldn’t care about copyrights and we certainly wouldn’t be engaging in this converation on this blog).
    Hopefully this helps to clarify things.

  14. tom - May 27, 2006

    Mr. Ferret:
    Much better. It appears you are no longer thieving content in toto from other blogs to make a buck.
    If you’d like to continue to use partial FERMENTATION Content you may now do so with my permission…with one caveat:
    Post an apology to all wine bloggers for having stolen their content, place it at the top of the “” page adjacent to the “TheWinery” text logo and leave it there for 2 months. If you agree to do this, you are free to reproduce partial elements from FERMENTATION with a link back to the original article on this site.

  15. nimbleferret - May 27, 2006

    We haven’t been intentionally stealing content — something with the system or process got messed up. Skimming down your blogroll, LennDevours and Shiraz Shiraz could attest to the fact that we requested permission — because they granted it.
    Now that we have converted over to a linking mode, we’ve opened up the system to all of the bloggers that we hadn’t gotten around to contacting yet (since I don’t think anyone would object to being linked to).
    So unfortunately we’re not going to place a statement saying that we “stole content.” While your blog would be an excellent addition to the site, I’ll have to turn down your offer on those terms.
    I understand your concerns, but they are better directed at the thousands of sites that really are doing what you’re saying. There’s enough crooks on the internet that I’d hope you could give an honest site a break.

  16. Eve Collins - May 30, 2006

    Thanks for making me aware of these issues. From now on The Winery blog is on my blacklist. May be this is the most effective way of dealing with it. Love your blog, especially as you are not one of those guys bashing France, like many US wine blogs – I live there and I like it there. C’est chiqué d’dire ça, I know, but it is true.

  17. Dezel - May 31, 2006

    Well looks like I am part of the commune who had their abode pilfered through as well. I would have to agree with Hugo’s post to an extent, but Tom makes some great points. O’ Truffles, red wine and technology, what can a wine blogger do ?

  18. GamerAndy - May 31, 2006

    I believe I was one of the bloggers contacted in regards to this, since one of our posts is currently headlining and I have never been contacted in any way. I’ll be blacklisting as well. Frankly, I’m happy with the average 300k page views and 2.8 million+ hits we pull in a month and don’t need a profiteering leech using our content as spambait. This will be the 4th site i’ve dealt with that has done this exact same thing. Just because you have access to our RSS feed does NOT give you the right to pirate original, CLEARLY protected content (see copyright info at the bottom of the page). The reason i’m posting this here instead of on my site is because I don’t want to divert any of our curious readers to your mish-mash of stolen thoughts.
    Shame on you sir.
    It’s people like you who give the internet a bad name.
    Adam Levine
    [email protected]

  19. GamerAndy - May 31, 2006

    Incidentally, We’re a VideoGame News site, so this isn’t strictly confined to their winery portion. The entire site appears to be one massive content grab

  20. nimbleferret - May 31, 2006

    We’re not “stealing your content.” We’re providing a very brief excerpt, which is acceptable by fair use, with a LINK TO YOUR SITE so that readers can read the article. This drives traffic to your site — i.e. it’s a good thing for you. In any case, I’ve excluded the blog since you clearly don’t want to be linked to.
    The permission that we’ve requested of bloggers are the ones whom we’ve requested to host their content on our pages. It is not necessary to request permission just to excerpt-and-link. This is exactly what search engines do. (In fact, search engines go one step further and provide a cached page, which IS somewhat questionable).
    In any case, I’ve removed any links to your site now.

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