... and when you come home all of your favourite things have been pinched.
Warning: the remainder of this post contains offensive language from a bitch pirate going Beloved on the ass of people who steal stories.
Occasionally I'll have a bit of a trawl around the net via cutting and pasting a sentence from A WineDark Sea into a search engine. Just checking the perimetres ... At about 4 this morning, suddenly wide awoken and bored, waiting for dawn, I checked the perimetres and found eight or nine of my posts at Topsynews.com, from hereon in called topsynewsfuckers. I was outraged and then a little flattered and then I was outraged all over again. Yes, they are using my words as 'content' on their news and entertainment website to spread malware and advertise shitty stocks and bonds. Mine are posted under 'humour and laughter' in the 'read and shop' section. Fuckers. Not your fucking read and shop fucking plaything.
You know how - when someone breaks into your house and steals your best jewellery - you feel flattered that they must have anticipated your good taste and your obvious style when they went to all that effort to smash and grab?
After the school run, I rang the Australian copyright guys in Sydney to find out where I stood and was directed via another phone number to a website where I was supposed to fill out a form or something. So I did what any self-serving and cranky Toa writer would do and emailed my mate Chris Pash in Sydney (a journalist who works in the content licensing business and is on the board of the Australian Society of Authors) - who emailed the copyright guy - who rang me himself fifteen minutes later. I pulled over on the side of the road because apparently it is illegal to carry out delicate copyright conversations on a mobile phone whilst driving a car.
Ross took me through it all. "What they have done is absolutely against the law but unless you have the funds to pay a US copyright lawyer then you won't be able to make them pay. All you can do is get onto their advertisers and let them know what (topsynewsfuckers) are up to. And put them on notice on your own website. And do you have a book deal?"
"Yeah. Some of the stories they stole are in the book."
"Then get the publisher onto it too."
I rang my publisher. Such a nice term, 'my publisher'. Mmmm. Comforting. She said, "Send me the URLs."
It gets better. I got online and did a search on topsynewsfuckers for sarah toa.
119 stories. Then it flicked up to 121 stories.
At this point I burst into tears.
121 stories. A year's worth of writing.
If you are a masochist it is worth having a look to see if topsynewsfuckers are pinching your stuff. They have taken other bloggers' posts too. I know, because I've looked. Go to topsynews.com and type your blog name and the name that you write under in the search bar at the top. Don't click on any of the intext links because they will take you to places that start downloading shit onto your computer without you asking. Don't click on the link to your blog at the end. It's not there to guide traffic back to your blog. It is a dodge link that will try to sell you a url or infect your computer. Just type in your name and if you come up, believe me, you will sit back in your chair with a dismayed, slightly violated feeling.
And finally ... I won't add a link to topsynewsfuckers here because I don't want to increase their advertising revenue. But I will put them on notice on the sidebar until they take my posts down/pay me/apologise/all of the above.
Topsy News. What a stupid fucking name. You thieving bunch of fucking cunts.