The Story of My Life

Yes, it’s another post about people who copy my websites. Sorry, I’d be bored hearing about this by now too, but it really has become the over-riding theme of our lives at the moment, and it makes me so angry I just have to keep on venting. Feel free to scroll on by…

So, remember in my last post, when I said I was particularly angry because although we’d successfully managed to get one host to remove Lin Shuideng’s copy-cat websites, there were no other consequences for this person, who would be free to just start up again with another host?

That’s exactly what happened.

Last night, the website I wrote about last week was reactivated, this time with 600 of my posts copied in their entirety.

And so we begin again. Another Friday, another day spent filing DCMA notices and trying to persuade yet another host to stop the same person, doing the same damn thing. And I know we’ll be successful. The host will remove the site. And then next week? Next week we’ll get to start all over again, with yet another host. As this point I feel like we’re going to spend the rest of our days chasing Lin Shuideng around the internet, and I honestly can’t tell you how dispiriting that is.

On the plus side, I guess we’ll end up with a very streamlined process of filing paperwork and having these sites removed. It still just seems wrong to me, though, that I’ll have to file the same notice, against the same person, over and over and over again, when really, someone like Lin Shuideng should be prevented from registering another domain or buying new hosting space ever again. I know that’s not practical. I don’t have any solution to it. I just know that thanks to Google’s awesome work with their algorithm, before they were removed last week, the copycat sites were ranking higher than for the articles they’d stolen, which means that I was losing traffic to someone who had just blatantly stolen from me. And the more duplicates there are of my work online (bear in mind that Lin had set up two websites, both containing hundreds of my posts, within the space of a couple of days), the harder it will be for my sites to survive. This is why I can’t just shrug my shoulders and ignore this. It won’t just go away: in fact, it will just get worse.

I also know that “Lin Shuideng” (I still don’t know if that’s a real name, by the way. I assume it isn’t, so I’m just using it as shorthand for “The Mysterious Stranger Who is Hellbent on Destroying My Sanity”) isn’t just stealing work from me. Last week, Terry did a bit of digging, and discovered some other shoe blogs which had been targetted by this person, and which now have illegal duplicates of large numbers of their posts online. Of course, we contacted the bloggers in question to let them know about it, but we notice that the copy sites are still going strong, so obviously they haven’t yet been successful in having them removed either.

Oh, and Terry’s detective work yesterday also turned up ANOTHER site, which has also copied lots of my posts, and this one actually has the cheek to have added the line “What do U think, xoxo Shoeperwoman” to each one. I mean, AS IF I would abuse the letter “U” in that way! And honestly: why would you steal someone’s work and then go out of your way to add the name of the site you’d stolen it from to every single one of the posts? WHY?

We’ve contacted the respective hosts of both of the new copycat sites.

We’re yet to receive a response from either of them.

And so it begins again.

I hope Lin Shuideng and everyone else like him/her is haunted by THAT OLD WOMAN from Insidious until the end of their days. Now THAT would be justice.


UPDATE: The new host removed Lin Shiudeng’s site on Friday night, in response to our DMCA notice. It was back up on Saturday morning, this time containing content stolen from various wedding websites (some of which, admittedly, appear to be free article sites, which would be legal to reproduce). Lin doesn’t really take a hint.

ANOTHER UPDATE: (Saturday, 2pm) I spoke too soon: just got a Google alert letting me know that Lin has set up a new website, with all of its content stolen from me again. Lots of personal photos on it, plus lots of reader-submitted photos from the Shoeper Shoe Challenge, which is really distressing me, because obviously those people didn’t submit those photos to me so they could appear all over the web. So we don’t even get our one-week break this time, we just go straight from fighting to get the last site taken down to fighting to get this new one taken down. Furious. On the plus side, it doesn’t cost us anything but our time to have these sites removed, but it WILL be costing Lin money to have to buy an entire new server every day…

YET ANOTHER UPDATE (Monday 23rd, 10am): We managed to get the latest Lin site taken down within a few hours. Damn, but we’re getting good at this! Terry’s spent most of the weekend tracking down more sites that are scraping our content… may as well get them all while we’re in “DCMA Mode”!

AND ANOTHER ONE! (Monday 23rd, 1:30pm) It turns out that while we were busy getting Lin’s last site taken down on Saturday (because that’s obviously our favourite way to spend the weekend…) Lin was just as busy setting up another one. With hundreds of posts stolen from me. Since last week, getting rid of this one person’s sites has become a full-time job for Terry. Obviously that’s not sustainable for us: no sooner do we get one site removed than another one pops up, and Terry is now spending ALL of his time having this one person’s illegal copies of our sites removed. How is that in any way fair?