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Is our website content equal to a musicians right to their song?

     
8:27 am on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I can appreciate this being a head scratcher. If you create an article or research a subject and write a page on your website about it, do you think that's the equivalent to a musician creating a piece of music? I will get to my point later.

PS. Not the thread title I was looking for but clicking submit is a permanent move. Shucks.
8:51 am on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Different terms but both are protected by copyright depending on jurisdiction (country.)

See DMCA [copyright.gov]

Also, we do have a Copyright forum [webmasterworld.com]
2:55 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. I was asking in general terms, whether people think of their own website content as being equivalent to a song that a musician composes. As I would hope most people see creation and being copyright. Ownership.

I bring this up because of the next big issue for webmasters and website content creators. It has been moving in a bad direction for content creators for quite some time, but people seem slow on the uptake.

If radio stations played your song, and gave verbal accreditation, like your name and name of song, is that really sufficient retribution?

Let's be real here. If people aren't thinking about this now, maybe they should. What do I know though.
3:14 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There has always been and will always be content theft and plagiarism, especially the easier it is, and the Internet has helped facilitate infringement.

I'm not sure what else publishers can do than is already being done.

What do you propose?
3:24 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have successfully gone after websites who have used content of mine without permission. Having a copyright certificate helps. But you should be aware of Seciton 17 USC 113(c) "wherein content has been offered for sale or distributed to the public lawfully, copyright laws do not prevent the making, distribution, or display..." I have had websites try to use this argument, but none successfully. Regardless, depending where you are (Country) copyright infringement of content can be difficult to prove.
4:27 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys for the discussion. I really don't have any other outlet to talk about big picture type subjects.

To clarify, this goes far beyond people taking other peoples content. It's far more than source website A writes an article and then website B takes that content and pastes it onto one of their pages.

I bring this up because of one simple ad I saw this weekend on a bus stop shelter. The ad says: "They're playing your song. Have they paid for it?".

This is about the trend of those little boxes that sit on the counter and can tell you about everything. Just ask, and it will tell. With your and my help. These "answer" services are not new, but they are becoming baked into many things. Samsung will have their equivalent very soon. This even goes beyond the Google answer box. Every major tech giant is about to use their answer technology in their devices.
8:47 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If radio stations played your song, and gave verbal accreditation, like your name and name of song, is that really sufficient retribution?
Radio stations pay the owners money (royalties) when they play their music.
10:00 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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And this is with my point about whether composing a song is equivalent to writing an article or researching and writing a website page on your findings. Radio stations can make money. If those radio stations just provided the name of the artist and song and that was the "accreditation"? Somebody please tell me what the music industry would be like or who would enter into an occupation where monetizing becomes futile.
10:11 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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MrSavage - You can certainly charge fees for others to use your content, nobody's stopping you. That's how syndications are set up.

Example: You could charge a membership for access to your RSS feed.

But you need to think in real application and not theoretical concept :)
10:38 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In the US, there's the concept of "fair use". If your page has 1000 words of content and someone quotes a 10-word snippet in the context of talking about the site, there's no way (in the US) you'll be able to charge money for it, or even prevent them from quoting you. But if they quote 500 of your 1000 words verbatim, then all the "no infringement intended" claims* in the world won't protect them.

If those radio stations just provided the name of the artist and song and that was the "accreditation"? Somebody please tell me what the music industry would be like or who would enter into an occupation where monetizing becomes futile.

I hope you meant "attribution". The earlier typo "retribution" was even better, because that's exactly what you would get from ASCAP.

Copyright law is generic. That is, there isn't one law for music, and a completely different law for words, and a completely different law for paintings and so on. That's especially true of the more recent legislation, where they explicitly include protection for media that haven't been invented yet. ("But the law didn't say anything about Blu-Ray :: whine :: I though I was OK as long as I didn't put it on VHS!")


* Like those YouTube videos where they upload the entire content of something they obviously don't have the copyright to, and then you wonder why the uploader's account is gone next week.
11:26 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I see it this way. My website exists on the web. My articles, written and researched by me, can be read by visiting my site. Suggesting that because my sites are not behind a paywall means that the content is free to use as a building block for your business or a product of which I gain zero revenue on?

It's funny. I would essentially have to block my site from the internet so the content can be copyright protected. It's like saying because you have an article online and not behind a paywall that it's free for the picking. Something is wrong with this mentality. Or am I wrong on that?
11:31 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Nature of the beast. People think because they are sitting at a computer with dozens of tools made to copy & publish, they have the right to do so. They have become "copyright blind."

Imagine how print publishers felt in 1955 when Xerox invented the photocopy machine and started putting them all around towns for people to use.
11:38 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The whole fair use argument is likely going to get tested. If I spent $1000 to research what the best television is, and then those findings are used by you and your product, and I get sourced only?

I think the "fair use" debate is obviously built on the basis of old technology. I bet you if I put up 30 seconds of the UFC fight then I will get a takedown notice. But the fight was 20 minutes and I just used 30 seconds? What about that "fair use" argument? What if I use 10 seconds of that UFC fight rather than 30 seconds? That's not going to matter. How about a Nintendo game music in the background for 5 seconds? YouTube can parse out music no problem. It doesn't say, oh, you're using 4 seconds of a 3 minute song so that's fair to use for free.

I may be oversimplifying here.

If I specialize in televisions and I list the best 5 televisions on my website after hours and hours of research, can Alexa come along and use my findings for their device and just source me and that will suffice? What idiot will spend time on something when monetization is more and more unlikely?

Oh great, I gave the Google answer box the answer for the top 5 televisions. Answering thanks to my expertise, with a link at least. There is a chance of monetization albeit slim. Put a box on a table and ask the same question, and the box gives the person the answer from my site, I'm making zero income. There is no site visitor. A voice telling the person where they scraped the answer from is hardly sufficient.

Echo Dot? Glad I helped Amazon sell more units and helped make it useful to people. At some point the practice will hit a crossroads. The era of scrape has been underway for a while but a scraping website owned by Tom, Dick and Harry are the least of the concerns.
11:47 pm on Jan 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to go on here, I'll just add this.

I see devices like Amazon Echo as being as a radio station. Radio stations need the songs and Echo needs the answers. Radio stations pay the song owners, Echo does not. Echo makes Amazon money, Amazon does not make answer provider any money.

Technology can do anything. These companies can find ways to track who they scrape from. That's the starting point on this.
4:18 am on Jan 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately copyright, while automatic on publication, is primarily a civil process, which means that enforcement is up to the owner of the copyright. It is a brutal pita: discover infringement, identify the miscreants, determine the best approach to counter the infringement, serve appropriate legal complaints, et cetera ad nauseum.

I (well my law-type-person's paralegal) send 100 to 200 DMCAs and other cease and desist requests each and every week. And have for years. Fortunately, I break about even on the process. But it is still a pita.
Note: actually registering copyright, in some jurisdictions, is the only way forward for anything beyond cease and desist.
Note: and as several singer/song writers find themselves in court each year over whether their latest hit is too much like some prior art... neither the act of creation nor copyright enforcement is simple or easy, for either musicians or copywriters.

Just another cost of doing business.

For a giggle a couple of 'different' approaches to infringement this past year:
* my sites are frequently copied whole in India and retranslated into Hindi (currently 4 instances), Bengali (currently 2 instances), etc. et al you get the picture. Getting them dropped from Google search and AdSense is pretty automatically straightforward, however, the local/regional ad networks/SEs usually ignore copyright infringement claims. The one thing that does work most of the time is - if one can identify an actual person associated with a site - my law-type-person notifying them that a US and/or Canada small claims court judgement will poison ever coming to North America. Pay up and take down or...

* there's an enterprising script kiddie who was simply scraping sites straight to Wix including third party ad/af network code with id changed to his. Being underage (a lot) none of those ad networks should have accepted him. Apparently no webdev but me noticed their entire content had been 'borrowed'. My law-type-person spoke with his parents and everything came down. All the 'proceeds of crime' were donated to the local women's shelter/crisis line. And I think he's grounded like forever.

And sometimes there is nothing one can do but shake one's head:
* there's a guy in the Ukraine who runs the same niche blog in most eastern European countries, same content just different cctlds and languages. He pulls content from English language sites in that niche including several of mine. He appears to be personally fluent in several if not all of those languages and to do most if not all his own translation. Is considered by the various local/regional media to be 'the' goto expert on the niche and on webdev. He seems to have figured out the line past which Google search/AdSense will take action... Gotta respect him despite wanting to throttle him!
4:37 am on Jan 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I hear what you're saying about the rampant copyright issues online. If answer boxes and search answer boxes become the norm then the other websites stealing my content simply don't matter much at all. Obviously written word can be scraped for the purposes of Echo type devices and images are a different set of circumstances.

Those stories are amazing!
11:05 am on Jan 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Takes diligent, hands-on attention, but all these scrapers can be stopped. There are a dozen or so scrapers designed specificly to find & retrieve product reviews.

Blocking these UAs, known server farm IPs, malformed headers & specific behavior is an effective method of defense.

There's a ton of info about this in the User Agent forum. [webmasterworld.com]

Of course when the SEs take our content and use it in the SERP, there's little we can do to stop it.
3:40 pm on Jan 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Great tips. The topic though is geared towards answer box products or technologies. The ones that need answers to be useful and those answers are supplied for free from websites that write content/articles/findings/answers to gain traffic which can provide a means of revenue.

Websites that scrape are one thing, but this is well beyond that stale and dated concern. Google cares much less about sending traffic to a website to get the answer so the whole scraping issue becomes less and less relevant every passing second. Why do I care about some their website owner who scrapes my content when that content is becoming less and less likely to see organic traffic and generate revenue?

This isn't about next week or next month. This is about the trend and where things are headed and not about what exists and has existed for years.
12:36 am on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@MrSavage

Why not simply block GOOG from scraping your content that could be Answer-Box Material? Why not? Is that cause you want the page to rank in Goog? That train left a while back, sorry.

If the source of traffic actually becomes abusive with your content, block it. That would be my approach, been that way for a while, specially towards Goog and Bing.

This could be Borderline Cloaking, but no one says that I cant serve content that is diff that what scraper like Goog think could rank for the query that is best for the page visitors.

I look at it this way, You send me traffic cause I got content. You republish my content on your site and traffic from your site drops to NILL. I give you other content to index for same URL and look elsewhere for the traffic for the same URL, just cause.

^^^on top of that what @keyplyr said. We've been at it for years at [webmasterworld.com...]

P.S. stale content to Goog/Bing/Alexa could be fresh content else where.
5:57 am on Jan 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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no one says that I cant serve content that is diff that what scraper like Goog think could rank for the query that is best for the page visitors.

I don't understand how this benefits the human visitor (me, f'rinstance) who arrives at your site expecting to find suchandsuch content. Wouldn't it cause less annoyance if you simply blocked the major search engines outright?
4:19 am on Jan 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Here, I won't put my images online, only in magazines. That way they cannot be easily stolen. Better yet, how about I put my website on my laptop only. That way I can tour the country showing people my website and it cannot be stolen or scraped. Idiotic is saying that because my album is on my website, that search engine X can serve it up themselves because, well, it's online afterall and I didn't block them from doing it. It's like a store without an alarm system or locked doors. Because my doors aren't locked, go ahead, come in, take whatever you like. You are justified because it wasn't locked up. Back to websites, because I'm online means that it's free to steal for your own usage or at least scraping the answer part and then posting that for your users or your answer box product.

Caring about website X copying and publishing my content is like dividing zero by 2. Heck, let's say it's zero divided by 5. If 5 people scrape from a zero revenue generating source, it's still going to amount to zero. Of course in 2017 there is still some money to made otherwise people don't scrape.

Chasing copyright infringing websites is a fruitless exercise. It would be like arresting the street level drug dealer. You are not going to affect change whatsoever. Sure, on some level there is some pride in it, but in terms of wasting time and not affecting change, it's a home run.


[edited by: not2easy at 6:47 am (utc) on Jan 27, 2017]
[edit reason] TOS #4 [/edit]

 

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