Aug. 15th, 2012

starlady: a barcode with my DW username & user ID (barcode)
So there's a site called FriendBlab that is using people's RSS feeds and FOAF files to scrape and replicate their journals on their site - this isn't illegal, but it's certainly unethical, and quite a few people on my DW list have been affected.

I heard about this from [personal profile] ladyjax on Twitter, and she has a post with more info, Beware FriendBlab. She has the contact info for the FriendBlab "copyright agent," one Randy Charles Morin - I suspect your best bet for getting your journal taken down off the site is going to be contacting its upstream ISP, but starting with him will create a good documentation trail. I've heard anecdotally on Twitter that the ISP is already responding to people's emails - this thread on [personal profile] ladyjax' post has the ISP (GoDaddy, ironically) contact info and a sample email.

[personal profile] raanve has a post with more information, including the links to the Dreamwidth account settings page where you can change your RSS feed settings to make this kind of scraping a little less productive. I've changed my RSS settings to "brief summary," since I don't actually want to punish people who are using the RSS feeds for legitimate purposes (unlike the U.S. Sixth Circuit, but that's another story). For a disturbing but familiar look into what FriendBlab is doing, she also unearthed this page, complete with egotistical ranting about how the "intellectual arrogance" of the people who invented FOAF in 2000 (i.e. Brad FitzPatrick) is holding back people like Morin from profit evolving the internet.

It might not also be a bad idea to license your journal under a Creative Commons NC (non-commercial, which means that anyone scraping your content is in violation of your license terms if they serve ads alongside or otherwise attempt to profit from it) or other kind of license, for an extra layer of demonstration that this kind of scraping is being done without your permission or consent. Then go to this page at BoingBoing and read about Big Content's latest attempts to kill the public domain, fair use, and Creative Commons along with them.

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