Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Pirates raiding garden blogs

Blog theft has been a hot topic on blogs about blogging for a month or so now. This week I ran across it several times on garden blogs. I know that my house plants site gets scraped several times a day. Why that one of all my blogs should attract scrapers I don’t know? I haven’t looked for copies of it yet. The scraping may be legit for research or other such uses. It has always attracted large numbers of spiders and bots even before I converted it to a blog format.

You’ll recognize scrapers in your log files by they way they visit your site. Humans don’t visit every single page on your site in alphabetical order or in order of links. Nor do humans view pages so quickly. You can’t block spiders and bots with out blocking legit spiders like GoogleBot and Yahoo spiders. ( Know who is visiting your website, Google Analytics )

So far there has been no solution. You can pursue the offender but it is not easy and not always successful. The same rss that gives us newsreaders and back up tools also provides easy ways for the less honest among us to scrape sites.

During the Q&A of this session, the topic of blogs came up and what you could take from them to use in your own article and how you would then attribute this source. The panel’s reply almost made me apoplectic! They said: “These people put it out there and it is there for the taking” and to basically not worry about any attribution, link, sourcing, etc. Now this is a group that fights tooth and nail for its members to get paid by newspapers who buy only “first rights” to articles, then put them on their websites without additional compensation. And here they were, my esteemed colleagues, actually promoting theft and plagiarism!
Garden Rant: Garden Writers on Blogs: “Say what?” or “Steal from ’em!”

The mainstream media once felt that way about news and political bloggers. Slowly they are gaining respect and the same legal protections that reporters for mainstream media possess. I’m sure mainstream garden writers and media will also come around in time. In the meantime know your rights and check your logs.

You can block image bandwidth theft with your webhost or .htaccess file. This will not prevent images from being downloaded but will prevent others from incorporating them into their sites while you host them. Details on preventing image theft

Another problem I’ve run across only on garden blogs is iframing. This is when someone takes something of yours and puts in their site in an iframe. It appears on their site as if it is theirs and hosted their. I’ve found just renaming the file often works. If it doesn’t you can put something creative in it’s place. That always cures even the slowest learners.

More information:
Blog Pirates
Do You Know Your Garden Blogging Rights: Copyright Infrigement