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BlogStars – Infringing CopyRight since 2005

Update: BlogStars is asking for feedback on this question now – you can have your say here.

Well it seems that I’m a Blog Star! (nofollow tag used)

Its a pretty flattering thing to have your RSS feed featured on a blog by that title – however I’m left feeling a little disturbed by it.

BlogStars is one of those blogs that is really not a blog. It is a public News Aggregator, disguised as a blog really that publishes other people’s RSS feeds – in full.

Now I’m not overly concerned for myself – my RSS feeds are just excerpts (for this very reason) – but others who are being republished have their full posts appearing here. Its like a new version of their blog.

For example check out the pages for Jason Calacanis and Blog Maverick.

Now these last two fine blogs might have been asked for permission for full reposting of their feeds – but I was not.

This is an increasing trend – every few days I discover another one of these ‘services’. Some of them I don’t worry about because they are purely being used for non commercial purposes, however others, like BlogStars have ads on them. This directly puts them in violation of my creative commons license which explicitly stats ‘You may not use this work for commercial purposes.’ BlogStars also publishes feeds from other services as well including Daypop, Blogdex and Feedster – again this is in violation of at least some of their published copyright information. They might just be on the way to a legal challenge or two if they don’t wake up to themselves.

Of course, like many other such ‘services’ BlogStars has no contact details on their ‘blog’ (if you can see one let me know) which forces me to a public humiliation post in an attempt to get their attention.

Those of you who have expressed frustration with me not publishing full RSS feeds might like to thank the fine people at Blogstars (and others ‘blogging’ in a similar way) for it.

The irony of it all is that Blogstars have an image at the bottom of each of their pages that says ‘page protected by CopyScape – Do Not Copy’.

Update: BlogStars is asking for feedback on this question now – you can have your say here.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Justin says:

    You can go to the http://www.upcome.com home page and click “your ad here” underneath the ads on the right column. It’ll take you to the AdBrite homepage where you can contact them through AdBrite. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just give you their wordpress login info. :)

  2. Justin says:

    BTW, How is what they’re doing with http://www.upcome.com any different from what you’re doing with breakingnewsblog? You publish full reviews and articles from sources like Cnet, etc. Do you think that authors who write for websites like CNet should not have the same copyright protection that you do? And, do you not make money off those articles/reviews? You have ads on those pages.

  3. Andy says:

    Free-loading, non-contributing bastards! They gotta be some ‘internet marketing’ whores who are drunk on ebooks and their own self-inflated guru-dom. Can you tell what script/domain is grabbing the feed? Oh never mind – you use FeedBurner like I do. If they were hitting your server directly you could probably block by referring IP.

  4. Darren says:

    Good question Justin,

    The difference is that I use short quotes and excerpts from articles or reviews an not full ones. I also only use excerpts from some of their work and not every article they post.

    For me it comes down to a ‘fair use’ policy. There are laws around the idea of what is fair – how you can use quotes etc – we stick to them as far as I can tell.

  5. Andy says:

    WHOIS entry. Book that flight and we’ll do a road trip. I’ll bring the baseball bat!

    Here’s their webhost.

  6. The worst part about that site is they use the ghastly Kubrick default theme. I mean, if you’re going to steal, steal some decent CSS while you’re at it.

  7. Darren says:

    quite amusing to see the title of this post now as the first thing people see when they come to their site! :-)

  8. dandyna says:

    c’mon, cool yourself, that blog is using ads, and you’re as well. it’s not a personal attack, just, relax, and enjoy the fact you’re the first foreign blogstar listed

  9. Justin says:

    Thanks for clearing that up, Darren. I looked up some info on Fair Use in regards to copyright…There seems to be a lot of gray area in these laws. I don’t think there’s any doubt blogstars is not “fairly using” the articles they acquire via RSS. My question about breakingnewsblog.com was the fact that your site is made up entirely of other authors’ works. I guess everyones ideas about what is ethical varies. And, I agree with Danger – they are breaking the law of tasteful web design.

  10. jim says:

    dandyna,
    Cool yourself? Publishing someone else’s work, in full, and then slapping your own ads on it is plagiarism when that person explicitly states that you can’t use it for commercial reasons.

  11. Darren says:

    You’re probably dandyna – I’m no doubt coming off here as angrier than I actually am. As I say above I’m ‘not overly concerned’ about it on a personal level. After all they do have links back to my blog (unlike others I’ve pointed out previously).

    I just think its important to highlight this sort of thing because it is becoming more common.

    Obviously this blog isn’t that big in terms of traffic so wont have much impact – but what happens which it happens on a larger scale?

    I also worry about the idea of duplicate content. Not such a big issue for me of course with excerpt feeds – but it is potentially not a good deal for those that its publishing full feeds of.

    Anyway – I’m not too worked up about it. Just thought it’d be an interesting discussion.

  12. Michele M says:

    I’m present too… I hope they send me some clicks….

  13. Tinus says:

    ‘nofollow’ is an attribute, not a tag! :-)

  14. dandyna says:

    yeah, i guess you’re right about your content and they’re using ads to gain money themself. I know. But actually, i don’t think people who’s managing Blogstars means to redistribute as their own or such. They clearly state the source is your blog.

  15. jim says:

    I read that post that tracked back here and I think they’re handling it in a very professional manner. It does sound like they weren’t trying to scam anything, just innocently trying to create a syndicate blog.

  16. Norty Pig says:

    I’m concerned though that people might write on blogs and ‘expect’ full legal copyright protection. Isn’t it about community, sharing of ideas? I write one blog and have a links blog and short of it appearing on a shelf in my local bookshop I’m not really worried about how they use the information or links there.

    My point is just I’d hate an overprotective approach taken to information on the internet… it was created with hyperlinking to information as its key element… so I guess what I’m saying is if you don’t want it stolen, used or referred to perhaps the information is better not placed on the net in the first place…

    Just a thought not a criticism.. the lines are quite grey of course.

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