I wrote a massive, 2000 word rant about this yesterday morning, just to get it all out of my head, but what it basically boils down to is this:

The hosts of the site which had stolen 500 of my posts removed it on Friday night.

Not without a fight, and not before they’d recommended we hire a lawyer (AGAIN) to have it removed, but they finally, albeit reluctantly, agreed to take it down.

Oh, and they ALSO took down the OTHER site we found on Friday, which:

  • was ALSO registered to Lin Shuideng.
  • was ALSO hosted by the same US company which was hosting the first site.
  • ALSO contained around 500 of my posts, copied and pasted in their entirety, complete with images and watermarks. In fact, it was the SAME 500 posts the first site had stolen.

I don’t get much luck with this kind of thing, do I?

Oh, and Lin Shuideng? Had around 300 domains. As far as we can tell, they were ALL hosting stolen material. This person wasn’t just ripping off me, he/she was ripping off HUNDREDS of people. So if the hosts had stuck to their guns, they would have required a possible 300 people to hire 300 lawyers, to file 300 pieces of paperwork, to stop ONE PERSON BLATANTLY breaking the law.

Because that would be fair.

In the end, the hosts DIDN’T remove Lin Shuideng’s hosting account because of the theft of copyrighted work. No, they said they’d found mysterious “other issues” with it, which had forced them to remove it. I’m not sure what could be worse, in hosting terms, than stealing from 300 people, but whatever it was, it got them to take down the two sites that were ripping me off, to my great relief.

I say “relief”. To be honest, I’m still mad as hell about all of this. And not just because yet another working day was lost, spent fighting an intellectual property thief, rather than doing the work I’m so far behind with, but because I don’t feel justice can really be said to have been done here. Sure, Lin Shuideng will have woken up the next morning to find that his/her illegal websites had all vanished into the ether, and that must’ve been a bit of a bummer. But… that’s it. There are no other consequences for this person, who will surely just start again on another host. Three hundred illegal websites is not a small thing. It is not an insignificant thing (not in a business sense, anyway). It is large-scale theft, and yet it will go totally unpunished, and there will be absolutely nothing to prevent this person going on to do exactly the same thing again.

That’s the way it is, though. If someone steals your physical property, the law will protect you for free. If someone steals your intellectual property, the law will extract a large sum of money from you in order to protect you. If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to pay, the criminal will be allowed to go on breaking the law, and that’s not fair.

We’re now waiting for Lin Shuideng (or the NEXT Lin Shuideng) to pop up somewhere else, stealing more of our content. It was Shoeperwoman.com this time, but next time it could be TheFashionPolice.net, or it could be this site. Or it could be YOUR site. Isn’t that a worrying thought?

  1. ~ * ♥ * ~

    I totally agree with you Amber, it is crazy how you have to fight so hard to a}. prove that your intellectual property is yours and b}. to protect it from other thefts. *shakes head* Something really needs to be done about it I think.

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

    1. I know, it was so frustrating on Friday… I had all of these posts, many of which actually had watermarks with the name of my website on them, and still the host was effectively saying that they couldn’t decide who owned the copyright, and that I would have to hire a lawyer to prove it to them. It’s not like I was asking them to make a complex, legal decision, either – the theft was as blatant as it’s possible to be, the person hadn’t even tried to pretend it wasn’t all stolen. Still, it all worked out in the end: I’m just constantly waiting for the NEXT one to pop up now, though!

  2. “If someone steals your physical property, the law will protect you for free. If someone steals your intellectual property, the law will extract a large sum of money from you in order to protect you.”

    Never truer words were spoken. We represented a young band once upon a time in a fight against their record company. They won but only because their parents all clubbed together to help them fight the battle.

    I am glad that you have publicised this Amber. All I can say is that in the online world, the innovators are the ones who are copied. Not much of a comfort of course but a sign perhaps of the value of your reputation x

    1. It really is unfair… With the last case too, every lawyer we spoke to was basically saying to us, “You will definitely win this, you have a rock solid case… but it’ll cost you a fortune”. It really does come down to a case of “whoever has the most money will win,” and it really amazes me that that should be the case.

  3. It is very worrying – the quote from Caveat Calcei above says it all really.

    Must have been so stressful for you to know this was going on and have very few options to act.

    I just read your earlier post about justice only belonging to the rich – and my experience is also that, for intellectual property cases, it is so often a kind of war of attrition in which sometimes the “winner” is the one who can muster the most resources.

    I would love to know more about how you used Google Alerts to discover this. I use them too but did you use whole unique phrases from your articles to find out this was happening?

    On another note, I am very happy to have now discovered your lovely blog thanks to tweets by Caveat Calcei on Twitter.

    1. “it is so often a kind of war of attrition in which sometimes the “winner” is the one who can muster the most resources.”

      Oh, totally: and it’s not just financial, it’s the amount of time that has to go into it, too!

      As for Google Alerts, I’m probably not using them as well as I could be, because I actually only started using it last month, when the last issue came up! At the moment, I just have alerts set up for the website names, in inverted commas, but we’re looking at ways of possibly including certain words or phrases in each article to try to catch the ones that don’t reference the site by name. With this one it was really just luck, because my Google alert was for the word “Shoeperwoman”, and one of the posts that had been stolen was a post I’d written saying that I’d just set up a Twitter account using that name. That was the post that came up in the alert, which was lucky because I’m not sure I’d referenced the name in any of the other posts that had been stolen. We definitely need to think more about the best way to use this, though. Oh, and we also use Copyscape periodically to check for duplicate content.

      Glad you’re liking the site, by the way – at least something good has come out of it 🙂

  4. This is an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE! I really wish there was something we could do to help you stop this from happening. If there is anything at all we can do … you’ve only got to shout.

    Thinking of you.

  5. This is so unfair! I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to have people ripping you off like this. It just really makes me angry when people steal other people’s work like this, and how the law doesn’t protect people from this kind of theft.

  6. I just started blogging in January and I have yet to figure out this whole copyright on the web thing. It’s a scary and maddening thought that someone can just take your content, the content that you spent so many hours crafting.

  7. An absolute disgrace is what I thought when I saw your tweets last week, but now, although I’m really glad it was dealt with, it really makes me think that yes, it can happen to anyone… I’ve heard/read so many great bloggers complaining about this same rubbish business… it’s so unfair.

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