A big thorn in my side

Months and months (maybe a year, has it been that long ago?) after I did it, someone finally emailed me asking why I had added the javascript thingy to the Charley Project casefiles to make it more difficult to copy them. The script makes it impossible, in most browsers, to highlight anything on the page, therefore making it impossible to select and copy text. There are ways around this however.

The person tried to guilt me, saying that wasn’t the purpose of my site to get the information out there? I replied saying Charley gets the information out there quite nicely. I added the script because people were regularly copying my casefiles and putting them on their own sites without attribution, in violation of my extremely generous terms of service. I would be within my rights to prohibit any and all duplication of the stuff on Charley; as it is, you can take all you want as long as you include a link to me. But quite a few people wouldn’t even do that, in spite of my repeated requests and reminders. In one case, when I wrote someone to tell them they’d stolen my entire casefile and would they either remove it or add a link, they quickly altered the casefile and said, “There’s no stolen bits, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But I had taken a screenshot of the page before and could prove they had plagiarized me and then tried to cover it up.

I don’t understand why these people will not add a simple little link to me. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. I work hard writing up those files and putting them together. If someone isn’t aware of the terms of service, fine, I will enlighten them. But there are some people who are repeat offenders, who regularly apologized and promised to put up attribution in the future, and then continued on as usual, time and time again. I could name them, I suppose, but what good would it do, besides possibly starting another comment war?

The script may well go away soon as Pri upgrades my site for me. It doesn’t really work anyway — as I said, there are ways to get around it and still plagiarize my site at will. The theft still happens, but not as often as it used to I think. But I felt like I had to do something. The repeated thefts were really making me angry.

6 thoughts on “A big thorn in my side

  1. Sandra July 31, 2009 / 10:22 pm

    Fortunately, I think most sensible people would agree that you were right to add the script. An alarming number of people seem to think that all objective media (encyclopedias and the like) exist in some bubble where the concept of intellectual property simply doesn’t exist.

  2. Emily August 1, 2009 / 12:30 am

    That Brian’s Prediction site drives me crazy for just this reason – looks to me like they copied and pasted your charley casefiles en masse. Any time I google for additional info on a missing person their site comes up and it’s just the exact same plagiarized info. Plus, it appears to be some crackpot fake psychic who pretends to solve crimes in his dreams? Too bad the only thing he’s done is stolen your profiles – haven’t heard of him solving even one.

  3. Cheryl August 1, 2009 / 12:35 pm

    I tried reading Brian”s Predictions a couple of times but for some reason his website format makes me crazy. If I did a Google Search and his site came up, I would click on the link and would always end up on the home page. Never could find any of the things I was looking for. I finally gave up on it.

  4. emma l August 2, 2009 / 2:52 pm

    i’m in agreement. Just link back! I always just post your link. I don’t see what the big deal is.

  5. Lisa August 3, 2009 / 8:36 pm

    I try to remember to link to you. If I forget, please send me a gentle reminder.

  6. JerryG August 6, 2009 / 8:23 pm

    I usually highlight stuff as I read it so that if my attention is turned away for a minute or two or ten, I can go back to reading right where I left off. So imagine how annoyed I was the last few times I’ve come to this website…until I read this blog entry, perfectly reasonable explanation. I don’t like it, but it’s not my website. Also most of the information isn’t that long anyways, so it’s ok.

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