How come you can never find a copyright cop when you need one?
I wanted one the other night when I chanced across a web site that scrapes the entire content of MiniMediaGuy and republishes it — without permission — with advertising stripped across the top. As you can see whatever son-of-a-bot is behind this scam visits the same indignity on other web sites that choose not to display advertising on their front pages.
The nerve of these scoundrels! I try to be a good cyber citizen. I average 90 minutes a day in researching and writing this blog. I’m proud when visitors spend a minute or two reading. And I publish under a Creative Commons license that allows free, non-commercial use.
How do I shut down this thief-site?
Perhaps I should call the FBI? I see them invoked like boogie men on rented movies. But the FBI may be too busy not finding Osama bin What’s-his-name to hunt down an Internet scraping operation. Besides given my paltry traffic it would take a lot of clicks to make this a misdemeanor.
Maybe the lawyers who helped Viacom put the fear of copyright into YouTube would be so kind as to help a lowly blogger. After all BoingBoing says they sent out 100,000 “bullshit DMCA (take-down) notices.” They’ve obviously got the boilerplate ready. Why not crank out one more bullshit take-down order pro bono?
Of course I’m not Viacom. I’m a writer who can’t afford a lawyer nor am I likely to persuade one to take this case on contingency unless the infringers have deep pockets. That I find difficult to believe otherwise why would they be stealing content from me?
But it bothers me that neither the law nor our culture protect the individual creative act against a technology that automates the theft of ideas. It makes me feel like I’m working for the Internet when it should be the other way around.