I have done a lot of research today on protecting my (and your) work.
This article explains quite a bit. (And yes, I checked his copyright notice before linking him here). Basically this article states that it is important that you put a copyright notice on your site for your protection. And that you don’t have to register anywhere to use the © on your work.
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is an international agreement which governs copyright. According to this Convention; copyrights for creative works (which blogs are) are automatically in force upon their creation – even if you do not declare it. As an author – you do not need to register your work in any country that has signed this convention. Parties that signed can be found here. But basically, I think most major countries have signed it. An important point to note from the Berne Convention is that your copyright lasts for your lifetime and 50 years after your death.
Now I’m sure you are all wondering what the big deal is – I mean it’s just a spam blog – it’s not like someone lifted my work and is proclaiming it for their own. Well, that could happen (though really? If someone were to want to steal words – there are better bloggers than me to steal from). But the problem with Splogs (as they are commonly called) is that they are fake and only created to try and get viewers to click on the ads in the site. Since somehow (I haven’t figured that part out) they work it to where their site comes up first when certain key words are searched on Google (say….Gigi’s Ramblings). This can be harmful to my reputation. How you ask? Say one of you is telling one of your friends how witty and charming I am. They ask for the website address – but since it is far too long for any human to remember – you tell them to just Google Gigi’s Ramblings. They do and they come up with several of these splogs and never see my real website – which has been pushed to the bottom of the page –or heaven forbid – to the next page. They then think – what the hell? And then proceed to think that I actually produced that crap and that you must be insane to like that kind of crap. See? Both of our reputations ruined in one fell swoop.
Now – how to combat these folks. I’m still looking into it – but from what I can tell – if it’s a Blogger website you can “flag” it and report it. If not then you need to go to the host and report it. Which is what I did for this particular weasel. I have yet to hear back from them. But you can be sure I will be following up.
Of course, now that I’m in the midst of writing this post I can’t find the article – but somewhere out there Google has an application that will let you know when, where and how your name is being used. I’ll let you find that for yourselves – I’ve done enough today.
I certainly hope you appreciate all the work I have done for you today (instead of my boss – who thank goodness isn’t here today expecting actual productivity out of me). You’re welcome.