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Creative "caching"
A marketing company has stolen one of my articles
Robert Charlton




msg:792409
 7:01 am on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm sure many on the board here have had original material ripped off online, but this one maybe has a slightly different spin. The folks who ripped me off even credit me and acknowledge that the material isn't theirs, and may even really believe they can use the material because of this acknowledgment and the word "cache."

To explain... I just ran across a copy of an article I'd written, carefully indexed in the "Articles Library" of the "Resource Center" of a direct mail and online marketing company. They called it a "cache" of the original article, a "snapshot of the article when it was entered in our database." They also say, "all articles in our cache are copyright their respective authors and not property of blank-blank Marketing."

I don't want to resurrect Google cache questions here. I do think these people are perhaps purposely distorting the word. I trust my much smaller "cache" of their comments isn't a problem.

I've sent them a cease and desist email, and I've indicated I'd be phoning them to discuss compensation for the use they've made of the article. They may have also included the article in one of their newsletters.

Any creative suggestions on how I can put their feet to the fire... assuming I can get them to empty their cache?

 

nell




msg:792410
 4:29 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was jerked over by a hosting company once. They refused to even answer any e-mail I sent to them. I got a cheap domain and put up 50 pages of totally negative crap about them and used my SEO skills to rank those pages next to theirs. (XXX HOSTING SUCKS, XXX HOSTING A RIP OFF, XXX HOSTING CHEATS, etc, etc.)

Within a week they phoned (not e-mailed) and agreed to resolve our differences.

dingman




msg:792411
 10:12 pm on Oct 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

It might also help to reform their general practice if you were able to send a heads-up to other authors they have included in their "cache". An isolated complaint will at best get an isolated fix. If they get a whole bunch of complaints, they may fix the practice.

Robert Charlton




msg:792412
 12:25 am on Oct 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

dingman - Interesting thought... I looked further and yes, there's an article written by one of the Webmaster World moderators. I've just stickied him and invited him to post here if he'd like. I don't know whether they had his permission or not. They also link to the sites they "cache" from, but in the case of my article, it wasn't on my site.

As to whether complaints will lead them to reform, they've built a good part of their site around this practice.... I'll let you know what happens next.

Robert Charlton




msg:792413
 5:33 am on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well... I've exchanged several ultimately amicable messages with the owner of the company, who seems to be completely nice and sincere, and very naive about copyright. I think it became a fruitful exchange for both of us.

The crux of the matter is that she thought that because the site is a "free resource" and they didn't charge people to read the articles, that it was OK for them to use my article. I'm paraphrasing her email here: "This is just a simple situation of our posting the article for people to read."

Apparently, most of the authors had been notified and were agreeable to having their articles posted on the site. She didn't have a clue what "cache" meant technically, but hadn't meant it to be deceptive.

I come away from this now realizing that...

(a) It's wise to spell it out, along with the copyright notice, that "this article may not be reproduced or distributed without the permission..." etc etc.

(b) That even though they say that ignorance of the law is no excuse, it is probably one reason why online material is appropriated. I'm sure it's not the only one.

dingman




msg:792414
 7:27 pm on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

and very naive about copyright.

That could be dangerous when you're publishing matterial you didn't write yourself!

Axacta




msg:792415
 7:59 pm on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nell I love that kind of "get back at 'em" kinda stuff - two thumbs up! I had a problem with a domain name registry who lost a domain name for me and blamed me for it. They would not pay to get it back so I tied them up with e-mail for about a month - I figure at a shop rate of 70 dollars per hour to respond to my e-mails they spent up to a couple of thousand dollars.

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