Monday, 30 January 2012

Blog Theft

I don't tend to rant (too often) on my blog but I'm making an exception tonight because I'm pretty peeved.
A Google Alert landed in my mail and when I clicked on the link I was quite taken aback by what I saw.

Last week I re posted what is easily the most open and emotional thing I have ever written on my blog. I did so because everywhere I look (including in the mirror) I see people struggling with the weight of the world and sometimes a shred of hope is all you need to get back on track.

Below is a screen grab from the source of today's Google Alert, PlayPennies. They have reproduced my post on their site without my permission. 

To add insult to injury they did add the following at the end of my post.

"Are you the owner of the blog above? Click HERE for our resource page for “PlayPennies loves” badges and banners."

I don't want to come across as rude, or ungrateful for not graciously accepting the honour of 'Blogger of the Week' but it really isn't cool to lift someone else's copy and then try to palm them off with a badge that gives a back link to your site.
Not cool at all and given the nature of my blogpost, it's actually pretty distasteful. 

People from PlayPennies, please remove my content from your commercial site and can I suggest that you actually attempt to make contact with your lucky bloggers of the week in future?


  1. Really poor taste. I'm sorry this happened especially after you've been so generous to share your story when many of us can not xoxo

  2. I'd be shaking with anger. How hard is it to contact you ahead of time, never mind that it is a pretty personal post!!!

  3. With a post as sensitive as this, I'm really surprised *anyone* has the gall to copy it - regardless of their intention.

    I was "highlighted" by Playpennies about a year or so ago. It was pointed out back then by a number of people that they should be requesting permission to repost - or at least to contact the blogger to let them know that they are "featuring" them but it looks like they are taking the same approach.

    I have the contact details of someone who worked there (not sure if she still does) so if you have no joy, let me know.

  4. I agree - given that they have mentioned your name at the top of the post and are not trying to pass it off as their own - why on earth didn't they contact you?
    Hmmm tho makes me think when I am highlighting the top 10 funny post of the month I don't actually ask permission - but then I also just post links to their sites - and son't reproduce their copy at all so hope that is ok - no complaints so far x

  5. Thanks guys.
    They absolutely SHOULD be asking permission to repost, what they are doing is bang out of order.

    Am a bit mad:)

  6. @NANHM - I would suggest that posting links is OK (everyone loves a linkback) but reproducing more than a snippet/teaser is, as Sian says, bang out of order!

  7. Wow. That is astonishing. I was featured by them over a year ago now, at which time they just wrote up a summary of my blog and linked to it - and contacted me.

    Obviously something changed!

    I guess actually reading your 'blogger of the week' and then writing your own copy was too much like hard work for them.

    Shame on them, this is appalling.

  8. welcome to the Internet Sis, unfortunately this happens a lot, and not just peoples blogs, if I had a £1 for everyone that has stolen our forum code and tried to pass it off as their own I would be a very rich man.
    You should contact them and ask them to remove your content, if they do not comply, find out who their website is hosted with and contact them informing them that their client is in breach of copyright which is almost crtainly in breach of their hosting terms and conditions. I have found this works very well in the past.

  9. @NANHM - A link and a snippet is how it should be. It's respectful. Lifting a whole post is just so wrong.
    And....that is a commercial site. My post is stuck between money off deals and buy it nows. I wasn't writing about where to buy a Hello Kitty Scooter I was writing about how my depression very nearly killed me... but moving on to the next blog post I could win a FREE NUBY SOOTHER if I like a freekin Facebook page.
    So disrespectful.

  10. Say hello to my big brother people... Thanks Huw, they have already sent me a couple of DM's on Twitter
    "if you don't want to be featured I'll ask my editor to pull the post? Just let me know."
    Does that mean I don't get to keep my blogger of the week badge do you think??!

  11. Distasteful. Disrespectful. Using your post just to get traffic to sell advertising and make them money. And look at the TACKY how I lost 5 stone in 15 weeks ad. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

  12. Well well well, just found this thanks to your post No where near in the same league as what you may be going through of course but nada nudge came my way about them doing this....

    Hugs x

  13. What a crock of crap! Surely id they have taken the time to nab -err highlight- your post they could have gotten in touch first to see if it was ok to use it! After all right under your header that they have pinched is your email icon!

  14. I am gobsmacked. I cannot BELIEVE anyone would do this! Extremely tacky and rude!!

  15. Yeah that is pretty cheeky, and in a way worse than someone just lifting it who sets it up on Wordpress and claims it as their own. All of us (I'd assume) have copyright over our material, and it's not hard to click a link at our blog to our Twitter/Facebook or email address.

    If they did it to me, I'd be pretty peeved. It's not exactly a "quality" site, just a lot of comps etc. And I thought you weren't allowed to have likes of a Facebook page in comps anymore- they seem pretty lax on rules.

  16. @20somethingmum

    Yes, we all have copyright over our material, it is a right you have as soon as you create something, you do not have to claim it, it is automatic, you just need to prove you did it first if their is a dispute.

    Tell them to pull it, and you want them to post an appology on their site, if they refuse to appologise, it sunds like time for a Blog about them, I'm betting more people read your blog than visit their site.

  17. That is absolutely appalling. What else is there to say?

  18. That's a bloody poor show: how hard is it to contact a blogger, when all their details are readily available. Most of us even have a fast response time. The adverts are particularly insensitive, when you consider the sensitive topic and content of the post.

    And to write 'are you this blogger?' at the bottom. They should bloody well know which blog they copied and pasted from.

    Poor, poor show. But amazing, beautiful, sad and well-written post that deserves to be picked up by better sites than playpennies

  19. That is horrible and a very poor advert for them in that they clearly can't be sensitive - hope you manage to get it sorted

  20. I want to share a response to your post Sian. On Sunday, we blogged about your site. Sian wrote a post which raised some points about post-natal depression, and we thought it was a really important topic to share. As Sarah wrote in the Playpennies post, it wasn't her usual type of content, but she thought it was pretty important to highlight and share with Playpennies readers.

    Since then, we've been accused by Sian of stealing the whole blog post without permission. We quoted 178 words - clearly shown as a quote - from a potential 1099 words in the original post. None of us here at Playpennies would ever copy a post and attempt to pass it off as our own content - the very idea goes against the basic moral and ethics of any blogger.

    All of us who write at Playpennies are proud to be part of the mummy blogging community and linking to other bloggers we love and respect is an essential part of blogging and sharing who has influenced or touched us. We are horrified that Sarah's recommendation has been taken the wrong way and we are obviously incredibly apologetic. To make sure there's no misunderstanding about the quotation we've removed the few sentences we highlighted here and wanted to apologise for causing offence.

    On a personal note, I got my 1 year old out of bed and was getting her breakfast this morning when I got a text from Luschka saying that I should come online quickly. I am now sitting here and I feel physically sick from everything that has happened. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes that you've reacted like this without even emailing us to let us know there was something wrong.


  21. It's a bit rich moaning about how you've been treated Emma.

    I'm not sure you see anything wrong with what you've done even now, so I'm afraid the crocodile tears don't wash with me.

  22. Emma,
    I don't understand what you don't get. Half a post, a whole post, its the same thing.

    You took MY content and posted in onto YOUR commercial site without so much as mentioning it to me and that is wrong.

    I haven't suggested that you attempted to pass the post off as your own but you have acted improperly here not me and that is why you feel sick.

    I see that you have removed my words - now please do me the courtesy of removing my blog header image and the link to my post too.

    Can I suggest that show others a little courtesy in the future before acting in this way?

  23. I agree with the previous poster. You don't really seem sorry at all but make out Sian is overreacting and taking things out of context and to make things worse you are trying to get sympathy by telling everyone you are feeling physically sick and crying. Has anyone your end thought about how Sian might be feeling? Sorry but what you've done and how you deal with this is bang out of order...

  24. This really is a sorry tale. Playpennies just don't seem to think that they have done anything wrong do they? And as for trying to make sian feel guilty for standing up for herself, well that really sucks.

    I just saw them post on Twitter and I quote (like how I've done that...)
    @geekisnewchic Yes it is. I hope it was just stress making me feel sick rather than morning sickness... I'll find out later.

    Seriously..... I think that they should just apologise and shut up cause they are digging themselves into a very big hole...

  25. Thanks for all your comments people. x

  26. I don'ty understand, if someone had shared the article through Facebook would you make the same accusations?

  27. Other anon user.... more to do with specific personal content in the blog post in question, and the commercial nature of the blog network I think.

  28. Sharing a link to an article on Facebook is not the same at all. I have share buttons on my site and welcome my readers to share links to my content.
    What I don't welcome is it being lifted without my permission for use on a commercial site.

    And people - do leave your names rather than going anon. If you have something to say please give yourself a face.

  29. Emma, I have tried to respond to your 'response' on your website but due to a bug on your site I cannot comment without first joining your site, which I have no intention of doing. This is what I was trying to leave as a comment:

    You are in a very difficult situation. You are a commercial blog, making money from your content. You may argue that you took a quote but you actually took the image, header and a sizeable chunk of a post of a blog that had clear contact information on it and retained its copyright, copyright is 'in whole or in part'. You took part of that blog and did not seek permission. Worse than that the blog was obviously of a very personal nature and had not been easy for the writer to share, she had been brave to do so. It shows poor judgment and a lack of integrity on your part to reproduce such a personal story (or indeed any story) without first seeking the permission of the writer. For the person who did this to then go bleating about how upset she is about her treatment is beyond belief. She has no claim to any sympathy in this situation, she is a content writer for a commercial blog who stole someone else's content and made no attempt to contact the writer.

    To add salt to this wound you then respond (on your own blog) with this hand-wringing exercise. To suggest that your love of blogging makes you morally incapable of doing what you have done is inexcusable and illogical - you did do it and you clearly feel it's beneath you to be accused of doing what you have actually done. You should have simply and genuinely apologised instead of trying to excuse yourselves for your behaviour. Shame on you.

  30. I agree whilst I do not write my own blog or have my own personal website I do read many different types of online media and agree that due to the personal nature of the post making contact to first discuss if this was OK would be a standard expectation.

    I say this especially as Emma has now said that it would have been nice to be contacted should you have a problem, whereas if they had made the initial contact it would have never come to this in the first place.

  31. This is just shocking, and Emma clearly doesn't get it at all...I hope Sian, they remove all the images and content, and don't stress about it anymore!
    Mirka @Kahanka

  32. @elastaples I also saw the irony in that comment!

  33. Thanks for your support Mirka.

  34. Eek, this is just awful.

    Sian, you're right to kick up a fuss about this. Hopefully PlayPennies will start contacting bloggers before posting their words, in future.

  35. This is such a sensitive subject and more to the point a very personal one. I get that they wanted to do some "good" in highlighting the severity of PND but to lift your incredibly personal content without your approval is just wrong. It goes against any blogger integrity that they claim to have. It would have been so much better had they simply admitted they were in the wrong, apologised and moved on.

  36. "You took MY content and posted in onto YOUR commercial site without so much as mentioning it to me and that is wrong."

    No, it really isn't. It's called fair use and it's what allows commercial news organisations to do their job all the time. Informing their readers of things they should see.

  37. Let me add that it doesn't take away anything from the bravery and honesty of your post either. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  38. Yossarian, please don't patronise me.

  39. Wasn't my intention at all - I'm just passing comment in a quick and rushed manner I'm afraid and perhaps not coming across clearly. The distinction between plagiarism and fair use is there in both law and practice, and I think it's a good thing that it exists (and its existence is under threat via SOPA, PIPA, ACTA et al). Not really familiar with PlayPennies, but at first glance it looks like there's a lot of other things I'd be in absolute agreement with you about - this just isn't plagiarism is all.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. I am not really understanding the vitriol. Why be so nasty about this? The blog post on PlayPennies has a few quotes from the post in a much longer post, and links to this website, and it makes it clear that the post is there to highlight another blog on the internet that the writer thinks people should visit. If your objection is that you don't want even that on the site, and you had asked them to take it down and they didn't, then I could understand taking this sort of tone with them. But it is clear from what you're writing here that you didn't.

    sorry for the deleted post above, I accidently wiped half my post (stupid laptop) just as I was posting it.

  42. It was a truly amazing post, that you wrote, and I'm not surprised to see people linking to it all over the internet. It deserves a wide audience as it is one of the best things I've seen written on PND. I wish I'd been able to read something like that a few years ago it would have made a big difference to my life. I hope that it helps others too.

  43. Hi,
    I just wanted to say that although the site in question should have asked your permission before mentioning and reposting some of your blog, these websites do an amazing job however of making us aware of articles that may be of help to people in the same position. I know that it could have been done in better taste however, I do feel that if you have posted it on the internet and on a blog for anyone to see, that you must expect people to read and possibly share it to others. That is afterall what the internet is all about. I wouldn't have seen your blog if it wasn't for playpennies posting it and I am glad they did as it is a topic very close to home and its nice to know that people have come through this problem and are now winning in life...something to look forward to. So don't be too hard on them and thank you both for posting this blog and sharing it, to help others get through the difficult times. You now have a new follower to your blog and I'm probably not the only one so maybe take something positive away from this too, however cross you may be.

  44. Anonymous,
    This isn't about being cross, it's about common courtesy.
    I don't have anything left to say that I haven't already said today.
    I'm not stupid and of course I am aware that the internet is a big place but the sensitive nature of this post pulls very sensitive reactions from people. Reactions that I want to be able to respond to myself, in the comfort of my own space.
    Im not so precious about my post that I try to control who quotes or reproduces it, it has actually been very widely used.
    My point was and is that Playpennies should have shown me the courtesy to ask if it was OK if they shared my post with their readers.

  45. I think it is shocking that they didn't ask you. It is a post that you had taken such a long time to share. All it took was an email to ask if they could share the post. Hugs x

  46. Ask them to remove the complete quote and they should take it down. But as Yossarian pointed out it is not illegal nor is it an infringement of copyright.

    But why have a blog? Presumably you want to share your thoughts and feelings with others so that they also can see that there is hope no matter how desperate or bad they are feeling. That things can change, that things can get better.

    In one respect, mention on the Playpennies site will have given your blog much wider publicity. If it has helped even one individual is that not a good thing?

  47. I am a mummy of a 3 year old & about to give birth to twins. Play Pennies has a load of information in one place & if it wasn't for that site then I wouldn't have found yours.
    I'm not sure why a massive site like PlayPennies featuring your blog when it clearly states at the top "PlayPennies Loves Mummies-Tips" upsets you. I'd have thought it would bring a lot more readers, like myself, to your blog.
    I thought it was good of them to highlight your site & didn't think for a single minute that your material was theirs.

    Anyway I just wanted to give you my perspective as a reader - who doesn't normally post anything - hence why this post is anonymous - however my name is Melanie, I am from Livingston & I am mummy to 3 year old Charlie & twins due to come on 14th Feb.

    & thank you for your article. PND is one of the things that I worry about out of the whole pregnancy/birth process.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx


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