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The Global Grind and The Practice of Content Scraping

Yesterday evening Black Web 2.0 was invited to an online chat conducted by Patrick O’Keefe of iFroggy Network and Johnathan Bailey of PlagarismToday.com regarding the practice of “Content Scraping.”  Patrick recently discovered that Global Grind was copying all of his articles in full, submitting them to Google News, and displaying them in on their website.    After contacting Global Grind regarding the content scraping and not achieving favorable action, Patrick hosted an online chat to discuss the practice of “Content Scraping” and why it is illegal.

What is Content Scraping

Content Scraping is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites.  Some content scrapers will only copy an excerpt from the content and include a link.  However their are tons of websites that simply copy the entire work without providing links.

Why Content Scraping is Wrong

Content Scraping is in violation of U.S. Copyright Laws if the scraper did not receive express permission from the Copyright Owner to use the work.  The U.S. Copyright Act clearly states: any person who exercises the exclusive rights of a copyright owner, without the copyright owner’s express permission, is an infringer of copyright.  17 USC sec. 501(a). Some Content Scrapers will give credit to the author or link back to the original content.  However, giving credit is never a substitute for asking express permission to use the work.  I discussed this issue here.

Content Scraping also enrages original content producers because scraping can result in loss traffic which in turn results in lost revenue.  It is argued that  content scraping confuses search engines because content appears in two or more places on the web.  As Patrick states on his blog,

Because my content is in two places, search engines can get confused and this can lead to my original article having to compete with the scraped article for traffic.”  He goes on to state that “Less traffic also means less revenue, directly impacting my quality of life.”

Considering the huge traffic numbers of Global Grind’s and other sites like, it is easy to understand why Patrick and other author’s of original content are furious their traffic is being scraped.

Resolution

Copyright holders have to hold Content Scrapers accountable for their actions.  Copyright holders can file DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) take down complaints with the search engines against the sites like Global Grind.   Also sending Cease and Desists notices may be effective.  If these actions do not produce results, Copyright holders may have to band together and file Copyright Infringement Lawsuits to prevent their content from being stolen.

Please leave comments as to whether you have been a victim of content scraping.

10 Comments

Comments

erickaEIC says:

This is a great article–one that I hope will give pause to practicing and would-be content scrapers. At Sister 2 Sister magazine we've not only had to contend with our online articles being lifted, we've had various sites post PDFs of entire magazine interviews–I'm talking six or more pages of content–like it's okay.

Thankfully most sites take our content down as soon as they're confronted (either by an email from myself or one of my assistant editors, or by a cease-and-desist from S2S's lawyer), but that's for stories we know about and are able to follow up on. Who knows how much gets taken by sites we don't frequent? Publishers–particularly independent publishers–don't have time to police every page on the Internet, but I agree that something must be done.

Jenny says:

GG is shameless, and unfortunately, they're not the only ones doing this. Thanks for the post and for raising awareness to those who may not have realized this is happening.

NetNoir says:

Report Global Grind to @MattCutts, that will do them instant damage if they are scraping whole articles.

Ananda says:

I appreciate this article. Needed to know about it. Thank you for writing it. Thank you everyone for your comments too.

Margo says:

As business owners we work hard to pay our writers and maintain strong content partnerships.
I also stopped following them when I realized how slick they were being.
Poor business practices always come back around.

I am happy this is being covered as well. I have been a victim of Global Grind's scraping for years. I actually reached out to GG's past owner about this two years ago. I asked him to remove feed and after he tried to school me on RSS feeds and fair use 200 word limit rule (which I didn't need schooling on) — he removed my feed and I am pretty positive he did. But as soon as he left the company (or stepped down) it happened again and they started scrapping.

It seems like they went down the list of every site big and small and set up their feeds and starting scraping – without knowledge or permission. They also set it up like you the publisher/blogger is submitting your links to them – which is not true. They need to understand – our sites are our businesses and they pay our bills, site fees and our writers – and to just disregard that to take content we put time and money into and not rightfully pay or get permission or do a correct link back — when you have funding and we do not – it's not cool and just wrong.

About two days ago when this story dropped I emailed GG and called them out on Twitter through my personal account and someone got back to me in less than 30 mins and removed my feed and content. I am thankful and I hope they don't try this mess again.

How about hiring some writers or setting up real content partnerships or content syndication deals. Help the community and sites you have taken from for such a long time. It's a shame and that's why I don't support GG and won't until I start seeing some major changes

It's about time Global Grind is put on notice for this.

I've been a victim of content scraping, but not for my personal blog. This article (which I'm very proud of)

http://freelanceswitch.com/working/how-to-upgra

When this was published, within 24 hours, my work was copied to a lot of other places, taking away valuable traffic that would have otherwise benefited that company. While I didn't lose out (it was a paid gig), I was a bit concern about this happening to me.

When I witness Global Grind doing this, I stopped following them. I don't care how much of a hustle they are on, they are profiting off other people's work.

We are not amused.

iFroggy says:

Thank you for covering this issue and for linking to my post. I appreciate your support.

Patrick

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