The problems with copycats and international piracy in the arts and crafts community are not limited to images or ideas, but extend to information resources. Pirates copy workshop materials, tutorials, instructions, even entire e-books often posting the information without permission or links to the original source.
Recently, I asked Carolyn Graham Edlund of Artsy Shark if she was ever copied. She has graciously allowed me to share her "experience with copyright infringement" of her written work along with the solution.
From Carolyn Graham Edlund:
"I created an online directory of places that artists could sell their work online with links and full descriptions, which you can see here. At the top of the page, I give permission for others to share the first ten listings with a link and attribution."
"I became aware from a reader comment that my directory had been ripped in full from my site, and they shared the offending link. The other website had no contact page, but I was able to post a couple of comments letting them know that I was the author, owned the copyright, and demanded that they remove the directory. They did not comply, and actually started grabbing screenshots of every listing in my directory to “enhance” their version of my property."
"Then I decided to report the site and the infringement. A search of the URL on who.is revealed that GoDaddy was the provider, and I called them. Turns out that GoDaddy only sold them the domain name, and although the offender was in Cyprus, the hosting company is located in Pennsylvania."
"I contacted the host, reported the infringement, gave them links to both pages, and asked for their help. Literally within fifteen minutes, I received a reply from them that the problem was solved. The website that had ripped off my material was literally shut down – poof! I have checked the URL since and it seems to be gone. I have no idea whether the person will attempt to make another site with this information."
"My experience with artists concerned about copyright theft is that awareness is on the increase, and so is the level of outrage. The problem is that many artists feel helpless. They believe they cannot afford to do anything about infringement, but that is because they are merely ignorant of the steps they can take to protect and enforce their copyrights. When people find out they have recourse, they are eager to find out more."
Thank you Carolyn for sharing your experience and solutions to this international pirarcy of your intellectual property.
Everything that Carolyn did to "take down" the copied materials is well within our ability. The steps are free and it only requires a little time. I'd estimate about a half hour.
Links for finding a "Whois" and a sample DMCA notice are in the ASK Harriete post: "DMCA "Take Down" - Action & Advocacy Against Copycats"
Are you wondering...
HOW TO SHARE INFORMATION
ethically, and legally?
If you are particularly enthusiastic about a workshop, resource, tutorial or instructions an appropriate behavior would be to review, evaluate or endorse the information on your blog/web site /Facebook and post a link to the workshop’s homepage. By citing and linking to the original resource, you have honored the value of the original author and in addition you have created your own content. This was quoted from my lecture The GOOD, The BAD, and the UGLY in the Age of the Internet .
If you have NOT written the materials yourself, it is illegal and unethical to copy and share this information beyond a quote (with citation and link to the original source) without permission from the original source.
Even if the materials are free, DO NOT COPY and share the information with others without permission from the original source.
Writing a review with a link to the resource is the best solution offering your readers information and the Internet original content.