*EDITED - see below*
My first year political science prof keenly pointed out that in politics, we should "follow the money" to understand a policy or perspective - why one group or another adopted the views it did was largely influenced by the trail of green. That sort of thinking - the "get to the root of it" is useful in many situations, not just politics.
Virtually all of the blogosphere has been writing about how shiteous bitacle is. For those who don't know, it's a site that just steals content from blogs, and posts it in its entirety, including photos, on its own web site so that it can earn money from advertising. Essentially, they steal peoples' writing, and post it as though we had agreed to have them take it and profit from it.
It bothers me that there are photos of the more intimate moments in my life (minutes after we were married, strolls through the park) and my thoughts and writing have been taken and are now being used for someone's commercial gain.
Now surely I knew that by writing stories and posting pictures that they would be read on the internet. I'm the one who put the photos up, and wrote a blog. I hadn't anticipated, though that people would take what I had done and pass it off as their own, again, for commercial gain. While bitacle has a disclaimer that says that the material belongs to the person who wrote it, but that leaves them doing what? Using it for their own profit without asking?
Ah analogies, you've always been my friend:
- It'd be like a neighbour borrowing your lawn mower without telling you and then running a lawn cutting business with it and being shocked you were upset. It's not your freaking lawnmower to borrow, asshat!
- It'd be like stealing a pie out of someone's oven to sell at a bake sale. You didn't make the pie! Bugger off.
- It'd be like stealing your neighbour's tomatoes out of their garden and selling them at a road side stand. Again, not yours to sell!
- It's stealing your roommate's essay and passing it off as your own. I'm pretty sure this had a word in university - plagiarism.
And so, apart from bitching and moaning about the asshatery that is bitacle (both skills I possess, to be certain) what've I done?
Well, I followed the money. I emailed Google AdSense to ask why it's their ads I see on mystolen content. Lest we think it's a one-front war, we should remember that Google AdSense is probably making more money off stolen posts than bitacle is, and that's not fair either.
They're frankly more than guilty by association in my book, they're parties to the offense. I also emailed bitacle notifying them they did not have my permission to post my blog, and asking that it be taken down, but would be shocked to receive any kind of response.
I've also changed my "feeds" to short, because I have read that helps, but frankly have no clue what a feed is so really can't guess the impact that'll have.
I've added at stopbitacle button to the top of my blog, and will probably go through my archives and add a disclaimer on my posts for anyone reading them on bitacle.
I'm not so drunk on my soapbox to believe that a lowly blog as mine will really have any kind of influence on google or bitacle, but I'd like to think that David won against Goliath, and that the power of the little guy should not be underestimated.
Finally, I'll also admit I'm contemplating packing the blog in. I've had a blast writing about our lives together in the 'shwa and have enough posts to write for years to come, but don't know that I'll continue knowing that people are profiting from what I write without my permission.
EDITED TO INCLUDE GOOGLE ADSENSE'S RESPOSE TO MY EMAIL:
Thanks for your email. I understand your concerns regarding the quality of
bitacle.org and hopefully can address them below.
Because we respect the confidentiality of all publishers, we cannot
disclose any additional details of our relationships with other sites,
like bitacle.org. However, I've forwarded your finding to our team of
specialists for further investigation.
To uphold the quality and reputation of Google AdSense, all AdSense
participants are held to our program policies
(https://www.google.com/adsense/policies ) and Terms and Conditions
(https://www.google.com/adsense/terms). If this website is found to be in
violation of any of these policies, we will take the appropriate action on
We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to continue to give us
feedback in the future.
For additional questions, I'd encourage you to visit the AdSense Help
Center (http://www.google.com/adsense_help), our complete resource center
for all AdSense topics. Alternatively, feel free to post your question on
the forum just for AdSense publishers: the AdSense Help Group
The Google AdSense Team