Monday, June 21, 2010


Notice: If you are reading this on any other site other than
"West in New England" at Blogger or my blog
on the "Maine Genealogy Network"  you are reading 
copyrighted material taken from my blog without my permission.

 Well, it's happened again. A commercial website is publishing material
taken from my and other geneabloggers' blogs. One of the unifying
moments in the geneablogging community was a similar incident a few
years back that brought us closer together. It's been necessary since
then for us to remain vigilant and to react immediately when we see
any geneablogger's writing used in such a fashion.

In this case Thomas MacEntee issued a "Splog Alert" over on his
Geneabloggers blog about the site and told us how to
ask them to remove our intellectual property. Since then
has added  a "Contact" function and I've just sent my request through
that. If that fails, I will move on to lodging complaints to the parties
Thomas suggests that we use.

Now, I'm not very good at explaining just how sploggers profit from
what they do, but luckily footnoteMaven is, so check out her post
about it over on her blog here

Finally, Thomas suggested in an update that we strengthen our
copyrights with stronger language. If you look to the right on my site
you'll see I've followed that suggestion.

I await a reply from Until then, I will run that disclaimer
you see in boldface at the top of this post.


I just read an email from
"RootsFeed is not a Splog.

Your posts have been deleted"

I've removed their name from the disclaimer, but I think I'm going
to leave the rest there for now.


Heather Rojo said...

I only had to run a disclaimer similar to yours for one day, and I got my response from RootsFeed. Good luck to you! I hope you hear from them soon, although they think they are perfectly legal they will hopefully remove your posts.

Bill West said...

They've removed them. But I've left the disclaimer on the post, minus their name and might use it for more posts in the future to discourage
(I hope) sploggers.

Greta Koehl said...

Thanks for posting this and pointing to your disclaimer. I definitely add a similar statement to my blog.

footnoteMaven said...

You go Bill! Soon, they will have no GeneaBloggers to Splog.

Love their response to you! And as I said, I don't get my legal advice from


hummer said...

I had understood sploggers. Then again, I have never understood the need to take other's material without asking or giving credit. I am such a baby in the blogging world. Thanks for this post. I will watch.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Apparently, RootsFeed does not consider my blog worth bothering with (grin); so much the better. Saves them getting the sort of strongly-worded complaint letter I have come to excel at writing. Out of necessity, alas.

I think they are full of beans (and they're not Boston beans, either) saying that they aren't a splog. They grab content without permission and present it in a way that can lead people to believe that the blogger is posting as a columnist of theirs or something. They are also using a very broad interpretation of "Fair Use," which is quite vague territory. Vague or not, what they are using is not "Fair Use," to the mind of this genealogist-historian, trained in proper sourcing and attribution. They overstep the bounds.

I already had a strongly-worded copyright statement on my blog. I had thought that maybe it was too strong, but after this flap, I think it's just right. Maybe RootsFeed did think about taking my content, but thought better about it after reading my copyright statement!

But you know what I think it really boils down to, what really makes us seething mad? They just grabbed without the simple, courteous step of ASKING FOR PERMISSION. They acted rudely and arrogantly, and we gentle people in the geneablogging world were offended, deeply offended, by this lack of manners.

The situation would probably have been very different if they had simply asked for permission first.

Bill West said...

Karen, that's exactly what had me steamed. I've seen other bloggers who
say it's not illegal and not all that bad. Fine, but it's downright rude to take our work without permission!