Lord Give Me A Sign ** edited April 17

Today I got an incoming link from a new website, which I will decline to name at this time. So as I always do, I clicked the new link to check out what this new site was all about. And it’s everything that I’ve written. Word for word, photo for photo, video for video. It’s my site, with a different title and template. No contact info, so I can’t e mail this person who seems to be blatantly stealing and reposting my work on a daily basis. I don’t know what this is, but I want it to stop.

Friends in the blogosphere, fellow bloggers — has anything like this happened to you? Should I be as pissed off about this as I am right now? How can I make this desist immediately? Please, holla at your girl and tell me how to handle this situation.

** I was contacted by the umbrella Website’s creative director, who explained that they were trying to develop a new website and were reposting RSS feeds that they liked in the interim. Apparently they meant to e mail and let me know, but never got around to it before I freaked out. I’m going to be posting an Afrobella FAQ soon, to clarify my feelings about being reprinted elsewhere. I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your love, support, and advice! I wouldn’t have even known how to contact these people without your suggestions.

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Comments

  1. Ugh, I hate that shit, Bella. You do have a Creative Commons thingy, but I’m not sure how much you can assert that with your doppleganger. Write a nice cease and desist first and wait to see what happens next. You do have rights, but it’s up to you how much you’re willing to battle.

  2. i can’t believe this. i am speechless.

  3. Yeah, I was just advised to edit that link — don’t want to give them any traffic. But for real, when I first saw that I felt sick to my stomach. I work so damn hard on this site, and I have no way to contact these people to tell them to take my stuff down. Not sure how to move forward, here.

  4. You have the right to be upset and feel violated. You work hard at what you do and for someone to steal it just isn’t right. I’m sorry this is happening to you. I love your site. Keep up the good work.

  5. It has not happened to me but I remember that this happened to the CNN website last year. I suggest contacting your webhost to see if there is anything that they can do ASAP.

    Best Regards,
    Bygbaby

  6. Eni's Girl says:

    Hi Bella,

    In one way it’s sort of a compliment to you. You have a great site. But it’s still wrong. A member of one of my IT user groups (DC Web Women or DCWW) had a very similar experience. It’s called copyright infringement and it’s illegal. Here is a little blurb written by one of the Web Women about the concept of copyright:

    “When anyone creates anything, i.e. writes a story, paints a picture, or
    designs a website, and puts it into some tangible form outside of their
    thoughts and imagination, they own the copyright rights to it, even if they
    haven’t registered their work with the U.S. Copyright Office.”

    You can send them a notice and takedown letter. The article is at http://www.dcwebwomen.org/legalease/takedown.html

    Good luck.

  7. That really sucks. Unfortunately the Blogline feen had the link so I did check it out and it is awful! I’ve heard of picture stealing but that is taking it one step too far. I think they probably used one of those back up softwares like I use to back up my blog to make a copy of your site…

  8. Well you know you’ve hit the big time when people start stealing your content. Are you sure this isn’t a scraper or a spam blog? If it is, then you should edit your RSS feed format because they’re just taking all your content directly from your feed. I read your feed, and I can see everything (images, etc.). While I enjoy full content feeds, if you have to change it up to get scrapers off your back, then that’s what you gotta do. Weird that they linked back to you though.

  9. They linked to Bella because they copied verbatim a post in which Bella linked herself, as in, she was referring to an archived post of her own. The link you had up earlier is part of a larger site and there is contact info on there. Holla at them.

  10. I will, Nova! And thanks for the head’s up, Liz. I need to investigate the RSS feed angle, I don’t know enough about this stuff, sad to admit.

  11. i was able to go to the website. i can send the contact info page if you need me to.

  12. Another thing you can do (along with the wonderful advice you’ve already been given) is look up the domain name at whois.com and you’ll be able to see who registered the domain.

  13. Hey girl,

    Yeah it has happened to me before and I just usually contact the person. If you can’t find the contact info on the page, seach whois.sc to get their info.

    I would also put a Creative Commons thing on the site (just like someone stated above).

    That’s bogus though, we all know you are writing this and I’m glad u put that losers link down.

  14. They steal your content so that people will visit their site and they make money from advertising off the traffic you generate for them with your good content. That person probably has many other sites they copy too. Scum of scum.

  15. The creative commons badge AND the copyscape badge have been on this site for as long as I’ve been a visitor here. So obviously the content thief doesn’t care. They’re just wanting to get bella’s content and traffic like E said.

  16. I just have to cosign all the people who said that this wouldn’t be happening if you didn’t have such a great site. I’m sure you’ll handle it though. Good luck!

  17. Sue Le Vent says:

    Is it a real site of one of the spam blogs? A lot of times spammers will copy text to lure people onto a site just to get them to click on ads.

  18. Man, these internets are ruthless! I did what you suggested, looked up on Whois and also discovered the bigger site at play. I sent a friendly e mail to the editor first thing this morning, so I sincerely hope that all of this will be rectified by the day’s end. Thanks for all of your kind words, suggestions, and positive feedback. I was at the end of my rope last night, and you helped pull me back in.

  19. Hey chica…I feel your pain. It has happened to me before. I emailed the guilty party and asked that they AT LEAST give me some credit for writing it. The next time I knew they had taken their blog down completely.

    Good luck on getting some justice.

  20. D. Owens says:

    Hey Bella,

    I sympathize with you during this whole crazy ordeal. I think the site you’re referencing has also appeared to rip off the name of a legitimate online magazine and on top of that thievery, they’re also stealing your web’s content. Good luck with catching these blatant rogues.

  21. I’m happy that you are getting this resolved. Hopefully they will cease and desist quietly. It’s terrible that someone would stoop so low as to copy your entire site. Sheesh! People need to understand that it’s not always a compliment when you copy someone. Individuality is what makes us who we are. The occasional summarization of a story and a link to Afrobella would have sufficed much better than blatant copying.
    Lately, I’ve been dealing with a lot of copycats here in RL and as you can probably tell, I have no tolerance for it. I’m rooting for you!

  22. I just tried to visit the site, and the link didn’t work. Could it be down already? I sure hope so! I’ll keep you all posted.

  23. Isn’t there someway you can make your blog hard to copy or something. I know some blogs you cannot copy and paste from. Look into it. Maybe that’ll help.

    Raycal
    NightFire Candles
    http://www.nightfirecandles.com

  24. tribalsun says:

    Oh my God! This happened to me with blogger. Last year, I was new to blogging and used my first and last name (real names) to blog. Someone highjacked my blog name and started a blog posting all kinds of insanity. Of course, no contact information, no way to comment. I sent letters (certified) to the CEO and Chief Counsel of Google, Inc. explaining what had happened and ask them to take the sight down.

    Result- they told me to buzz off and that they wouldn’t do anything about it. So while it’s horrible what has happened to you, at least they havent taken your real name.

    Basically, if anyone where to look me up on the internet, they’ll see that insanity and attribute it to me since my name is unique, ethnic. It causes me nightmares and panic attacks sometimes, but i just have to put it out of my mind and maybe someday, blogger will be sold or google will go out of business.

  25. I spoke too soon — just visited again and they’re still up. DAMN. Apparently, I’m going to have to get gangsta and investigate my legal options.

  26. If you have your work copywritten you can always take them to court! I love your site and hate that people would do such

  27. WTF! I think that you have the right to press charges in this case. This is a very serious offense. I’d get a lawyer if I was you…

  28. OMG bella! My bf is a serious techie maybe we can help. I also suggest that you get a lawyer. This is a serious offense. Nonetheless I wish you the best, I love this site and I am pissed that someone has done this to you.

  29. Hi Bella,

    I know your upset. See what legal options you have. Justice will be served. You reap what you sow. So whoever is doing this is going to get a big karmic smackdown soon. You always get what’s coming to you one way or another. Stay strong,Bella.

  30. We know the REAL site girl! Keep up the great work!!! :-)

  31. This post made me come out of my lurk-hood. I am a ethnically diverse girl (Greek/white/Latina w/ freckles) that has a powerful, red, naturally curly afro that I love! For those that are ignorant out there…afros are not race specific. I have enough hair relaxer disasters, curly hair woes and frizzy tangles that anybody, regardless of skin color, may have. :) Afrobella Rocks! You have saved me from buying the wrong products over ten times!

    I absolutely LOVE your blog and I’m saddened that this has happened to you. Is the offender a website or a blog?

    Steps you can take (if it’s a website or a Movable Type blog set-up):
    1. Go to GoDaddy.com and enter the domain name of the copyright violator. http://www…..com It will say this domain is taken – so click to find out by who.

    2. Then check and see who the nameservers belong to. This will help you determine who is the webhost.

    3. Then go to the web host’s website and Contact them. Let them know that your copyright is being violated.

    If they are an American or EU web host (and not hosted in some kind of shady location), they will pull down the offending website within 24 hours to protect themselves from any potential lawsuits that you can bring against them. :)

    Unfortunately, if the blog is hosted in a foreign country that has NO internet or electronic commerce laws, you’re stuck. :( Sad but true.

    If it’s a blog company like Blogger, Typepad, etc. contact them directly and they will remove it as well. :)

    You can also block the offending IP address from visiting your website by contacting your webhost but I don’t know if that works with blogs.

    Anyway… hope I’ve been of some help. :)Keep posting girl!

  32. Nina, Nova, all of you who have offered help and words of encouragement, thank you. I have sent a second cease and desist letter to these people, and am consulting with a lawyer. My next step is to contact the blog company. And now back to your regularly scheduled Afrobella!

  33. umich girl says:

    i am sorry to hear what has happened to you afrobella… but people out there are ridiculous… i have a friend whose entire myspace pae was copied, there is another girl out there pretending to be her… people need to learn to love themselves

  34. jerseybred says:

    Afrobella, do what you need to do to stop this madness and do not let this get you down. You can fight this and win!

  35. bella – please pursue all the options you have to make them stop. creativity is a gift…and shouldn’t be hijacked. there is a site you may know about already – http://www.copyscape.com . You can type in pages/sites you produced and it will do a preliminary check of the web to see if your content is elsewhere. you’ve officially hit the big time on the web now! :)

  36. mistresscorpio says:

    Bella,

    My husband has had to slap down three spam bloggers stealing his content in the one year his site existed. This link provided most of what he needed in order to get them to stop: http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/04/10/what-do-you-do-when-someone-steals-your-content/

  37. I’m so new to blogging I can’t think of anything that you can do to stop a bum like that. Is there anything Word Press can do? It’s obviously and blatantly copyright infringement, it’s horrible and it seems they could close the blog down.

  38. Hi webmaster!

  39. Hi webmaster!

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