A number of people have raised concerns lately about Tygpress.com posting bloggers’ copyright content without permission.
Here’s a bit of detail from Tygpress.com.cutestat.com:
This site is based in India. They registered their domain name through GoDaddy, but the site itself isn’t on GoDaddy’s servers. DigitalOcean is the Domain Name Server (DNS), which means their directory connects the IP address with their domain name, but the site itself is still based in India.
Copyright law varies from country to country, but generally, any content that you publish is under your copyright automatically. You can further assert this with a copyright notice, or you can use a Creative Commons License type that delineates the type of use that you allow.
Pursuing copyright infringement is based on the laws in the country where you and your content are based, not where whoever is taking your content is based. The U.S. has some of the strongest legislation with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). It allows sites or site pages to be taken down because of copyright infringement.
However, the U.S. can’t directly enforce what happens in other countries, so they rely on other countries to cooperate. That’s where things can get dicey.
Web scrapers wander around the web and “scrape” up content. A positive incarnation of this is search engine crawlers. A not-so-good version is sites like Tygpress.
I first came across this when I discovered a Sri Lankan site was scraping content off a Medium.com publication I had an article in. Presumably, they were trying to bulk up their sites with content to increase the chance of someone coming along and clicking on an advertiser link.
Because these sites are scraping published content off of your website, just like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines do, WordPress can’t stop it, because the content is already live for the public to access. And it’s not actual people doing the scraping; it’s automated bots.
So what about DMCA claims? Well, with a site based in India, it comes down to whether India is going to force hosting providers to take down sites that are scraping copyrighted content. My guess is that the chances of that happening are slim to nil.
Does this suck? Absolutely. Is it going to stop? Highly unlikely.
In the end, it comes down to making the choice that’s right for you. You can restrict access to your blog, but that ends up making things more difficult for your readers. You can file a DMCA complaint, but evaluate for yourself whether that’s going to have an effect on a site in India. Only you know what’s the best fit for your blog.
Ah, the joys of the internet.
You may also be interested in the more recent post How to Deal With Plagiarism.