Monday, August 13, 2012

Oops, left the back door open

 ... 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?
No?
Really?

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.
And counting.
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.



23 comments:

  1. This happened to me with a company based in the Far East but run by two brits who were flogging 'services' to expats (finance, health insurance etc.)

    So what I did was write a blog post entitled, 'The Men From The Pru', hijacking their photos off their site, and wrote a review, as an expat of their services. I then got a mate of mine and techy geek in Australia to do some fancy stuff so that everytime anyone plugged the name of their company into Google, my blog post came up second, immediately behind their entry. Before long, I received a threatening email from one of them. I then sent a specially prepared response and then I received an apology from the other one. There followed a little bit of negotiation and a satisfactory settlement and I took the post down.

    You should try it. Visit their site, write a review and then we can all help you in the blogosphere by passing on the message and link and clicking on your Google listing for your post to push it right up to the the first page of the search engine. But I warn you, don't say anything libelous, you are, though, entitled to your opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, thanks Hippo. I know a google guy in Sydney ...

      Delete
    2. And I think that the last three sentences of my post, repeated often enough in comments, will help boost their search results.

      Delete
  2. Not looking would be the best option.

    Like I advise international students who ask if there will be redback spiders in their gardens. Yes, but only if you look for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But they are MY stories, Worst. Mine!
      C'mon. The average salary of a writer in Oz is supposed to be eleven thousand bucks.
      How fucking dare they steal from us?
      Idealist or realist or economist ... they are making good money out of me.

      Delete
  3. Taking your advice, I checked. Nothing on the site you list but how's this for knicking the search terms for a popular site to direct people to another site?:

    http://www.markosweb.com/www/hippo-on-the-lawn.blogspot.com/

    Looks like Aussie Nige will be busy on my behalf again...

    ReplyDelete
  4. You can also contact their internet host and google if you want, but I used to get angry, but now I just don't look for the redbacks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok. Put it this way. 121 posts times 500 (average post word count) equals 60,500 words. Is that worth looking for the redbacks?

      Delete
  5. No it isn't. Unless it is money that you could actually make. If it impinges on your income as a writer, as distinct from income someone else is making that is not available to you anyway then no, it's not worth it. If it is your to be published work, then the publisher is in a much better position - and has more incentive to do something and they will. Once you are receiving income, then your agents, ie those who are making money from your work legally, will be the ones that stamp on them.
    I don't think it's worth the anger otherwise. Leave the redbacks be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Worst, I kind of like your persistence.
    I guess that is where I am lucky today, and I was going to mention this earlier.
    I have a friend in Sydney with contacts to ring and a publisher who is willing to step up for me.
    But I haven't always been that lucky.
    http://therumpus.net/2009/01/the-rumpus-interview-with-malcolm-gladwell/

    If I didn't have those folk, if I was just writing as a fringe dweller ... then what? Can the redbacks just take whatever they want?

    ReplyDelete
  7. As I say, unless it is money that you could actually make. That's the defining point. Is it worth the energy? What is the return against the money you wouldn't make anyway? You will just be upsetting yourself otherwise. If you have the time and it's worth it, then the posts could be taken down. If you don't and it isn't worth anything to you anyway, them why upset yourself? What's actually better for you? Do the maths. Once you are making money, then it becomes worth it and more worth it to your publishers.
    Yes they scum, but just check that they are scum worth using your valuable time and effort on. Maybe they are. I doubt it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So should we post just inane shit on A WineDark Sea in the meantime, for fear of anything better getting pinched?

    I thought that any works we publish are immediately covered by Australian copyright. This was backed up today with my phone call to CAL. I understand the nature of the beast but if we are not covered by a publisher or some other nobs who have enough money to back us up, then are we wide open to anyone who wants to poach our work? And is money the defining point? Maybe it is. God. Dunno.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jesus Sarah. The inevtiable dark side of the internet. Are they at least crediting you with writing the material? Call me paranoid but I kind of knew this was possible, and have guarded my own writing, not because it is good writing, but because someone might plagiarise the ideas. Fuck, makes you feel like kicking someone's head in (and I hope my employers don't read that comment!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! I'm sure they won't.
      They credit sarah toa but the link that is supposed to go back to my blog is a dodgey one that goes to an advertising site.

      Delete
  10. PS Sounds like good advice from WOP but unfortunately, you and I care way too much about integrity and truth. Ho Hum, obviously outdated concepts when the internet rules the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thanks WOP for sticking with me during my ranting last night.
      But I just AM upset. They've broken in, stolen my stuff and sold it in a back alley.

      Delete
  11. Arggghhhh, stupid thieving assholes. I detest people like this. De-test.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Strong language is appreciated here Cathy. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bastards. That's theft. Ironically I didn't rate a theft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well ... feels like a good place to be in right now :)

      Delete
  14. redbacks can be damaging to vulnerable persons, sarah isnt but why take the risk and let them do as they please, if im working on something covered in them, i remove them best i can.simple.

    as for the spineless, retarded, uninspired cretins at topsynewsfuckers, you are worthless, yellowbellied thieves, stealing from the lowly to advance your own, soulless existance. you spunky eyed, dog wanking, goat blowers.

    thank you.

    power to the writers, especially sarah, go sista!

    ReplyDelete