For the past few months, Alex Shiels, an employee at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has been quietly operating a useful and unofficial blog designed to help users of the blog hosting service strike back at blog scrapers.
The Blog, simply entitled “Stolen Content” educates WordPress.com users about scrapers that have been pulling content from WordPress-based site, provides information for filing a DMCA notice with them and even provides a link to the stock letters section of Plagiarism Today.
The site, which has been online since March, has been growing steadily and is now being updated almost every day. Each posts provides the location of the scraper in a non-linked format, the IP address of the site, the WHOIS information for the domain, the host information and the email address to report a copyright infringement.
This makes it dead simple for anyone interested in reporting the site for infringement to do so, providing all of the tools they need in one place to hit back.
A Community Effort
Perhaps the best part about the Stolen Content site is that it is a community effort. The site solicits help from users via its tips form and use those tips routinely on the site.
This provides a great way for a blogger on WordPress to report an infringing site and get some practical help about what to do with it in quick manner. Furthermore, by making the information public, the likelihood that the host will receive multiple DMCA notices is increased, making it more likely that the site will be removed entirely from the service.
Perhaps best of all though, by targeting scrapers that are going after WordPress.com sites, the contributors are alerting other users to infringements that they might not have known about about previously.
If you’re a WordPress.com user, you should subscribe to this site. Not only could it alert you to infringements of your content and help you put a stop to it, but it gives you a chance to give back to the community by adding your own tips to improve the site.
However, it is important to note that the goal of this site is not to stop all scrapers or spam bloggers that abuse content on the domain, but to help shut down and frustrate some of the larger ones. There will always be more scrapers than one site can stop.
On that note though, if there is anything that I can do to help or if any WordPress user needs assistance with a tough case, please feel free to write or to post to the Performancing Legal Issues Forum. I am happy to help.