Saturday, August 14, 2010

Copyright Infringement

By Christine Thackeray

This week I found myself eating my own words. On another group I belong to, a woman complained that she had joined a list called the Clever Homemaker. Each day the site owner would post articles about entrepenuer ideas and ways to save money. The woman that joined it was amazed at the consistant quality of writing until one day the words sounded familiar. They were hers.

Jaquelyn was a write and had published an article for a e-magazine. Can you imagine her surprise at finding her article lifted to increase this woman's platform, which was extensive. As she began searching previous posts, she found that this was common practice for her posts, very little of any of them were original.

When she asked about her options, I told her she could send a cease and desist letter and was entitled to have her not use the information and pay her up to 150% of the cost she would have gotten for an equivalent article. (Which financially wasn't that much.) BUT she was angry, offended and wanted more-- AND she got it.

Jaquelyn contacted Yahoo, along with her publisher and the list was closed down. When I heard that, I had to applaud both Jackie and Yahoo for their quick response. What the woman who owned the list was doing was stealing and reaping the benefit of other's work (esp. with 6,000 members). As writers we also need to act to inform and protect the writing of both ourselves and others. It's not just about the money but doing the right thing.