Someone stole my content

Someone stole my content

I have this love and hate relationship with the internet. I love it because it opens a world of knowledge to me, I hate it because I always have to research again to find out if the information is genuine and up-to- date.
I love it because it lets me meet people I otherwise would have never met before. I hate it because the algorithms only feed me based on my behaviour and searches.
I love it because it inspires me more than anything, I hate it because there are so many copycats out there that boast with content, code, photos, creations that are not theirs.

My son Arnan is the creator of several successful WordPress Plugins his constant battle is to protect his inventions and creations. He build a successful company, enabling him to live a life full of travel and working from anywhere in the world. But there are people out there that ride their ‘own’ success over his code. Coming in as regular paying customers they obtain access to his creative content and steal it.
Sad, sad, sad. The recent (eastern Europe) company doing so, stole many plugins and themes from other coders and are making a huge business out of it.

For me it is more about my writings being used in other websites, or supposed to be clients wanting me to proof write an article and use it without further project or any payment.
And photo material also, you see pictures showing up randomly and people do not even bother to change the pictures name.

But not only on the internet, people copy what you are doing, it is also your creativity your ideas that inspire people to do the same. I work online, and probably people think I pay my daily expenses from it. And that is why to copy it. They copy my video ideas they even buy the same camera to copy my photography starting to take pictures if the same subjects.
Recently two other expats became ‘photographers’ out of the blue. Running out of advertising income on YouTube I guess and looking for greener pastures. One of them bought the same camera I use… that might be a coincidence.But I do not think so. We follow each other in silence, and we copy ideas.

Sometimes the video topics I see with other YouTubing expats inspire me to do my own topic. But I always try to be original and not copycat the whole item or even the layout or setup.
it breaks my heart to see them struggle in the hope they have found greener pastures.

It breaks my heart even more to see my child, devastating over the theft of his code. And the copied text (even with the typo in it) to another business, leaching on his succes.

The internet is a cruel world. All our data is being used, all our ideas are being copied and it is very, very difficult to be genuine and unique because of so many users all around the world.
It is like writing a song, before you know it you have copied a line, that was in your subconscious all the time, but feels like you made it up yourself. But in the end it still is plagiarism. And plagiarism is theft. No matter how much or little changes you make to make it unique and make it look like you were inspired to cover the same topic or invent the same product.

What can you do about internet theft?

Not much. I researched the internet and a lot of creative people are struggling with source code theft, product copying and reused articles and photos without being acknowledged as the creator. I know in my archives you may find some pictures that do not mention the original creator, only the source where I found it, since sometimes it is unfindable. Or there is the lame excuse of lack of time to research a little more to respect the Creative Commons and follow it’s community rules properly. It is a shame that we creators are not better protected ont he internet and only one right mouse click away from crime.
Unless you have a lot of money and time to spent on the matter, and usually no individual has, you just join the crowd of devastated developers, creators, journalists, writers and photographer.

But JC, how about Copyright?

Copyright protection is international, because most countries have signed one or more copyright treaties. This means you have could have the right to have the item violating your copyrights removed anywhere in the world, assuming there is no other legal right barring it, such as “fair use.”

How to determine whether or not it is ‘fair use’

  • The purpose and character of the use. This analysis considers whether the use was for a commercial purpose (such as a sale) or for non-profit educational use (such as a photocopy to distribute in class). A non-commercial use does not automatically qualify as “fair use”; it is merely one factor.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used. For example, a court might not consider using one line of code of a plugin a crime,  whereas using an entire article would be. Also, if you copy the “heart” of the work, like the way a certain feature in a plugin works then that fact could work proofing exceeding “fair use.”
  • The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work. If the use would deprive the copyright holder of income, then it is more likely that “fair use” will not apply.

In case of stolen code: You also have to proof how the other person got access to your source code.

The internet is an international world, and maybe the person that infringed your product is not living in the same country. In that case you’ll need to decide which framework you can use to proceed. F.e. in the US, you can’t sue in federal court, unless the copyright is formally registered.

In all cases, after you have determined (may be after consulted with an attorney) whether ‘fair use’ is  exceeded, the first step will usually be to send a cease and desist or DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice. This usually carries more weight when it contains the letterhead of a lawyer, so consulting one would be a good idea.

TIP: If you decide to sue, because you have legal grounds to do so, determine also how much the infringement cost you, you can also sue for lost sales.

Lucky for me it does not go as far as stealing products, but if you Google: “Someone has stolen my code”, 
you will read so much sadness and corruption. The internet is a dark world. For me it is a few non creative expats, fellow bloggers and YouTubers that copy my ideas, try to follow in my footsteps.
For what?
I have no idea.
Maybe they think I am very successful in what I am doing, and maybe they think they can become as rich as I am……all I have to say to that is:

I’m creative
I’m unique
I’m authentic
I’m lovable
I’m a thinker
I’m conceptual
I’m a lot of things…….

and for some reason I still need that donation button:

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