Long-time friend and Copyright 2.0 Show co-host Patrick O’Keefe recently wrote an article detailing a copyright battle he’s been dealing with regarding his well-respected fan blog for Bad Boy Records, Bad Boy Blog.
It turns out that his blog was having its content scraped and republished wholesale on another site. However, it wasn’t some random spam blog or forum posting, but rather, Global Grind, a well-funded hip hop and celebrity site associated with the well-respected businessman Russell Simmons.
To make matters worse, Global Grind was accepted into Google News, a feat beyond what most bloggers are able to do, and was active submitting O’Keefe’s content to the site. This meant that Global Grind was not only submitting Patrick’s content to the search engines, but making it available in queries Patrick could not compete for.
Though O’Keefe’s content seems to have been removed now, there appears to be other bloggers in a similar position. It appears that this case is far from over.
According to O’Keefe, he first noticed that Global Grind was taking his content after he posted a synopsis of a party Diddy held on the 13th anniversary of the passing of the Notorious B.I.G.. He found the entire article, word-for-world, on Global Grind’s site.
Global Grind had used his content previously, but always in excerpted format, usually including under fifty words and a link back. Though Patrick doesn’t know when Global Grind changed to its more aggressive format, it seems to have been sometime in February.
He emailed the site directly and had a conversation with Datwon Thomas. Though Thomas truncated the post in question, when O’Keefe noticed that other content of his had been reused wholesale, he raised the issue but saw no action, even after over three weeks of waiting.
This, in turn, led to O’Keefe posting his article yesterday, which has resulted in a great deal of attention being paid to this issue and, apparently, his work being removed from Global Grind. However, looking at the comments to the post, it appears other bloggers have been affected by this and, according to O’Keefe, their content has not been removed. .
The Google News Issue
Equally interesting to Global Grind’s use of other’s content is the fact that the copied content appears in Google News.
Though listed as a blog, Global Grind is in Google News and that includes both the original content and the content that was copied from other sources. This is despite the fact that O’Keefe and others who were copied have not been admitted into the service.
(Note: O’Keefe said that he never saw his work in Google News via Global Grind but has seen other’s content there.)
It is unclear if Google News is aware of Global Grind’s copying, though it seems unlikely, but it raises some questions about the stringent requirements for being in Google News and how effective they actually are at keeping unwanted content out.
Special Copyright 2.0 Show
In light of this recent controversy, myself and O’Keefe will be hosting a special edition of the Copyright 2.0 Show tomorrow, Wednesday the 28th at 6 PM ET. You can watch it live here and participate in the chat. We will be talking about the Global Grind controversy, including any updates on it and thoughts for those who are affected by it.
As usual, we will be covering other copyright news from throughout the week but we will be taking your questions and suggestions on this matter as well.
This type of content reuse is never acceptable. Though Global Grind seems to have removed O’Keefe’s work, others remain according to him. Global Grind did respond to O’Keefe in a private email, saying in part that they had removed his feed but not the previous entries and would go back and do that.
But while this kind of scraping is bad enough when a spammer or forum poster does it, it is even worse when a site that is as popular and connected as Global Grind is. Not only does the site have the traffic and reputation to benefit from such content in an extreme way, including monetarily as they run ads on every page of the site, but it also has the ability to completely replace the original site in the search engines and in the mind’s of users.
This type of reuse without permission is unacceptable and legally very dangerous. My hope is that Global Grind will stop this, if they haven’t already, and others will learn from this story.
Update: Right before publication of this article, Global Grind contacted O’Keefe and indicated that the scraping was due to a “legacy” system that was being deactivated today. The content in question, at this time, remains active. More updates to follow most likely.