Bitacle Update: Taking New Action

In September and October of last year, I reported on Spanish scraping site Bitacle. In addition to covering the story, I also submitted a “DMCA Notice From Hell” to Google Adsense that resulted in all ads being removed from the site.

I’ve received a few letters and a comment requesting an update on the Bitacle situation. However, sadly, little has changed.

As of this writing, there are still no ads on the Bitacle site and the site does not appear to be making any money. However, they also have not stopped scraping and are continuing to offer their controversial “Aggregates” function while ignoring common Internet practices.

Hopefully that will change soon…

Using the Search Engines

Since Bitacle is hosted in Spain, the DMCA does not apply. Though the EU has a similar law to the DMCA on the books, Bitacle serves as their own host, giving us no one to report them to.

However, Bitacle still depends heavily upon the search engines to generate traffic and, eventually, revenue. Their “Aggregates” function was almost certainly designed with the search engines in mind and, fortunately, most of the search companies are American and do follow DMCA procedures.

The problem is that none of my content that was scraped by Bitacle was also picked up by Google or Yahoo!. Several searches for my own work in Google turned up nothing on the Bitacle servers. Even if they did, since I license my work under a Creative Commons License, Bitacle is likely within the bounds of what is allowed. Simply put, the removal of ads means that the use is not commercial and they already meet the other requirements of the license.

Therefore, I have no means of, legally, complaining to Google on my own behalf. I do not like Bitacle’s use of my content, but part of using a CC license is the notion that not all uses will be appreciated.

Bitacle may be scum, but when it comes to my material they seem to be at least in the lighter side of the gray area.

Stopping Bitacle

Despite the problems with reporting Bitacle to the search engines on my behalf, I would like to stop them and many bloggers agree with me. However, to do so, I need someone with a more solid copyright complaint against Bitacle.

Namely, I need someone with the following requirements:

  1. They’ve had their content scraped by Bitacle
  2. The scraped content has, in turn, appeared in Google or other search engines.
  3. Their content is licensed either under a traditional copyright license or under a license that disallows Bitacle’s scraping.
  4. They are willing to file a DMCA notice against Bitacle with the search engines.
  5. They are willing to work with me to file the notices.

If you meet those requirements, please let me know. I will work with you on compiling the notice and even file them on your behalf if needed or desired.

This is a completely free service, unrelated to any of my consulting services.

If we can get a few people that fit those requirements, we may be able to get Bitacle removed from all of the major search engines, crippling its flow of traffic and negating its impact on the bloggers it scrapes.

Conclusions

Without funding, a site the size of Bitacle will eventually die off. Already the site is moving painfully slow and is almost useless. However, the low cost of hosting ensures that it is a very slow death. It could easily be years before Bitacle disappears unless further action is taken.

Now is the time for the bloggers who are, understandably, upset about Bitacle to stand up and take action. Check and see if you meet the requirements above and, if you do, email me.

We might not be able to stop Bitacle from scraping, but we can ensure that they gain no benefit from it.

The more ways that we can keep Bitacle spinning their wheels, the more likely it is that they will simply pack up and go home, never to emerge again.

Tags: Bitacle, Content Theft, Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Copyright Law, Creative Commons, DMCA, Fair Use, Plagiarism, RSS, Scraping, Search Engine, SEO, Spam, Splogging, Splogs

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