From behind the WorldSnowboardGuide
Tales of independent publishing

Scumbag update

It’s high time I gave an update of where I am regarding my previous post on the illegal spidering and content copying.

First the spidering instance. I was easily able to work out which ISP owned the offending IP address using cqcounter.com and I sent an email to the address quoted in the ‘abuse-mailbox’ section, complete with the IIS log files and my own log files, pretty much everything i could find relating to this incident. To my amazement 2 days later i received an email back from BT, and here is an excerpt:

Thank you for your email dated 9th April to the BT Customer Security Team. I am sorry to hear about the inconvenience you have had with a DoS attack, I know how frustrating this can be. May I take this opportunity to thank you for forwarding your logs.

For your information, Port scanning contravenes BT’s Acceptable Usage Policy and Terms & Conditions. BT takes any abuse of its service very seriously.

I have carried out an investigation into this and I have taken action against our user to stop this happening again.

Pretty impressive stuff BT and very polite! Obviously my curiosity in wondering what BT did to stop this user from doing it again, lead me to send them another email, but i never received any further communication from them. I’ve yet to receive any traffic from that IP address again, but that’s not unusual in these circumstances anyway.

Now onto the content copying. Following the advice on the Copyscape website regarding responding to plagiarism i contacted the website owner and received the following reply (i have changed the name to protect the un-inocent):

SCUMBAG is primarily an online community and thus the resorts sections have been outsourced with an agreement with a third party that content is original or taken from authorized sources. Upon completion of the project, resorts were checked randomly to ensure there is no copied content (especially photographs).

We do not desire content from unauthorized sites since all content(description and stats) is easily available and updated live on other authorized sources and we paid for proper content.

Thus we are already checking the descriptions you mention and the descriptions of all resorts on SCUMBAG (and pictures) to ensure that there are no problems with your site.

Fair enough, if they remove all of the offending content then i’ll let this pass as I have much better things to do with my time. I asked them which 3rd party they bought their (my!) content from and received a reply back from them:

The third party is an independent company which we authorized to do this job. As I have explained we will be checking all descriptions to make sure they do not conflict with WSG. If you need to initiate legal proceedings, then you should do so against us and if we deem it appropriate, we will move legally against the third party

I’ve since checked repeatidly the SCUMBAG website and they have re-worded most of the descriptions, however the same statistics are still there and they are still using the majority of the photographs that are under WSG copyright. All far from satisfactory.

Next on the Copyscape list, was to contact the hosting company of SCUMBAG. I did repeatidly and got no reply. Also on the list is to contact all the various search engines telling them of a DCMA infringement, the idea of this is that the search engines will then drop SCUMBAG off their search results. This has been done, but the process is incredibly slow to see any results.

Own-it.org came back to me with a reply:

You have done the right thing in contacting Google. You should also contact the ISP hosting the Cyprus Company and ask them to take down the infringing material or close the site.
You should contact the Cypriot company detailing al the remaining infringements and ask them to take them down immediately . You should tell them you will take legal action if they fail to do so. You could also threaten legal action against them to make them reveal the name of the person who supplied them with the material. You might also want to contact a Cypriot IP lawyer and see if they would work on a “No win- No Fee” basis to make a claim of copyright infringement against the Cypriot site. Good luck.

Now this is the problem. There are stacks of websites offering all sorts of advice of what to do in order to get them to remove the content, but when they don’t remove the content, there very few companies which will pursue this for you and nothing in the way of state aid to help pay for this.

Under advice, I need to be careful about revealing information against the new legal proceedings, but an update will follow in due course.

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