Evil Site Scrapers are Back!

Dealing with sites that rip off Naked Capitalism content feels like dealing with a persistent infestation: you go an exterminate a few and they just keep coming back. Per my last comment on this sorry matter in December:

Another thing I have too often been slow to address is people stealing my work. The last time I found I had a site scraper (meaning someone who rips off entire posts, no permission, and often no atttribution) it took me over half a year to get around to it, and readers were enormously helpful in getting the offender to cease.

The problem is any time I spend on shameless site scrapers cuts into writing new posts. So I hope reader don’t mind my asking for help.

Richard Smith flagged some based on the unique to Naked Capitalism publicity surrounding Professor Outis Philalithopoulos:



Zmarter is a blog we also flagged in December, so they need a more concerted effort, it appears. Another site that took a recent post without attribution is:


The key bit is not finding out who the owner of the URL of the offending site is, although that is progress. Even if the operator of the site has registered it in his own name, and whoever the official admin contact is should get a nastygram, one can assume they know they are up to no good and are not likely to desist. The critical party is an admin contact at the webhost. If it is a commercial webhost, they do NOT like getting nastygrams, and they typically shut sites down first and ask questions later.

So step one is finding the admin contact at the webhost of the offenders, and also (as a matter of form) a contact at the site itself. Please post in comments to prevent helpful readers from duplicating effort.

Another thing that would be very much appreciated would be if someone prepared a cease and desist letter for each site. Not providing a form; that is one minute on a Google search. I mean actually picking a form and filling in the needed information so it is ready to go. If you are game to do that, volunteer in comments and put in a valid e-mail address. Richard will contact you.

Thanks a lot!

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  1. Paul Tioxon

    Consider the law firm of Dewey, Cheetham and Howe to be at yr service. Let me know what you want done.

  2. Siggy

    I liked the satire, moreover I found it cogent.

    As to the scraping. It’s an untended compliment, but there should be a way to ensure attribution.

  3. Mike Wasylik

    One way of dealing with site scrapers is to make sure all your posts liberally link back to yourself. That way every person reading will know where it comes from and you get whatever Google juice is available from the linkbacks.

    1. Edward Harrison

      These guys are stripping the links out of the material on purpose. FavStocks is really bad about this. They copy the posts via RSS and then strip out the links. Google News rewards them with traffic and they earn revenue from Google Adsense. Crazy? No, it works. That’s why they do it.

  4. Jim Hicks

    I went to all three websites and each one attributed Naked Capitalism as the source of the material.
    I don’t get your complaint. ???????

  5. Anonymous

    Commercial sites should not be profiting from the content of others and certainly crediting the author should always accompany a posting. If a posting, at least in part, is part of commentary, it is perfectly acceptable and even posting an entire article, particularly when sourced, is actually a good form of publicity. I think that any distribution of Naked Capitalism is educational and a public good, but I understand wanting to prevent abuses or someone trying to profit from someone else’s work.

  6. deeringothamnus

    Protecting intellectual property of any kind is not only expensive, unscrupulous people with more money than you can game the legal system to force you to spend yourself into a “settlement” where you give everything away. I know one inventor where, in the middle of litigation, a hedge fund paid millions to a company to force an inventor to spend as much as possible defending against baseless charges of extortion, to overturn a gag order, in an actual prior restraint of speech. That is what happens when the lest wealthy get in the cross hairs of the ruling class. Since it is impossible to do business without freedom speech. The inventor bailed and was forced to sell the technology outside the US, creating lots of jobs, but not in the US. In case anyone wants to know where our tax money ultimately goes, the shareholders of the suing company complain about losing their retirement. The hedge fund can go get billions more from a bank, which of course, gets money from the fed discount window. So welcome to the club Yves, as this samne sort of thing could well happen to you if the people whom you are asserting your intellectual property rights against are well heeled. This sort of story is not at all unusual, ,just not well reported on or noticed for some reason.

  7. deeringothamnus

    To give an idea how easily people can get you if they want to, there are lawyers who make a living suing over deficient patent markings. For example, if you see a sewer cover on the street with an old, expired patent marking, you can sue the sewer cover company for misrepresentation. The fact that the sewer cover company would have to make new molds is no excuse. In a society where anyone can sue anybody else for any and no reason, or no good reason, or for stupid but legal reasons, and thereby force you to spend yourself broke defending against irrational claims, the best policy is to be rich enough to reap the rewards of this system, or, to not to own anything.

  8. Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus

    Scrapers are like stray dogs camped on the periphery of a successful camp. Sure, thin them out from time to time if you feel the need, but on some level the complimentary nature of their existence should be understood. How many industrious (but tediously errant and sophmoronic) bloggers only wish someone would think enough of their content to scrape it?

  9. KFritz

    I went through the archives and couldn’t find the smarmy, “I’m really sorry, didn’t mean to do it, and anyway the dog ate my homework,” fake-apology fr/ the scungil who operates zmarter (zdummer?) website, in the Dec. comments. Could it please be reproduced?

  10. psychohistorian

    May I suggest that you do the scrappers one better and keep the money for yourself by creating a Google sucking scrapper site of NC. I would think that there are ways to do it insure that your scrapper site is always at the top.

    The assumption is that increased readership is desirable and scrappers are current ugly fact of internet life where monetarizing the data aggregations (information) and flows is the challenge. Personally, I would hope that the internet stays a bit of the Wild West and folks are challenged (but also rewarded) to stay abreast of the evolution of the medium. My contra to that thought is the whole equality of opportunity goal that is seldom realized in our class based world.

  11. joe

    Question: Do you actually want to spread the Gospel message out there by whatever means, or are you just in it for the money?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I. I am not Jesus Christ

      2. I am not in it for the money, there are more lucrative things I can do with my time

      3. I do however not like having the modest compensation I earn diminished

      4. Having my content appear on other sites puts me out of control of my brand, My posts can and do sit side by side with content I do not agree with and would never cross post here

      5. I want people who have read my material and have comments to put make them here. I do not like having my community/feedback diluted

      1. Anonymous

        I am not knowingly or willingly a “scraper.” This is the first I’ve seen the term. In around 11 years of posting/reposting/aggregating, I probably have used other’s material without consent or attribution, especially in the beginning, when I had little knowledge of copyright. I post/repost/aggregate/rant to educate and draw attention to problems. I have an issue and cause that’s been mostly neglected by the government, political parties and the media. I neither seek nor get financial gain from any time or effort. Recently, I have used pictures without attribution; now I will be more aware.

        Someone told me the Internet was “public domain,” once something’s out there it’s pretty much out of someone’s control.

        A building manager told me that you don’t get to choose your neighbors.

        I generally believe in the free-flow of information and communication–easily accessible to all. I think society benefits when information is available to be used and enjoyed by all. I agree with the comments about flattery and spreading the Gospel. Maybe there should be another way to compensate artists and authors. My effort has been mostly a “labor of love,” even desperation.

        Many are unfamiliar with the Internet or copyright or that some people online get paid for material. One thing authors might do is simply request that those using their material attribute or link to the original author or Website. Otherwise, it seems that’s the way the electrons bounce–that’s the nature of the Internet and maybe generally, public domain.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Sorry, the internet is NOT public domain. My material is copyrighted and my site name is trademarked. Taking an entire post is theft, period.

          There are clear rules re what constitutes fair use. I suggest you familiarize yourself rather than stealing other people’s work.

  12. Seal

    Blatant plagiarism appears to be the nature of the age we live in.

    I sold a 20” x 30” photo print of a Buddha I took at a Tibetan monastery to an “artist”, Paul Heussenstamm, in Laguna Beach. ‘Heusso’ re-photographed my photo using a hi-res 4×5 camera and began selling prints as his own work for a number of years. When I finally realized he was doing this by a random Google image search he refused to stop. I emailed his mother, also an “artist”, and that seemed to stop the plagiarism. ‘Heusso’ now makes available on his site a slightly re-named and re-color balanced image identical to mine that he says he acquired from another source.

    As I do not want my life to be about lawsuits I have never pursued any legal redress. I have Photoshoped my copyright mark on any valuable images I display anywhere. It took Galen Rowell a few years to get Wal-Mart to stop using his photo of a Tibetan rider as advertising.

  13. SqueekyFromm

    Most of my content is original, but for some reason, nobody seems to want to steal any of it. Sooo, I am OK, there.

    But I do feel bad about some of the pictures I put on the Internet Articles on my two main sites, because I would love to be able to link to credit the Artist/Creator where people could buy posters of it or something. I would even buy copies, myself. But there is no way for me to trace it.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  14. Firean

    Your book “Econned” is an excellent read, I’m near third of the way through it. Thankfully no one is attempting to rewrite and infringe your copyright; You deserve every $ earned for that work.
    I found it readily available on the book shelves in Amsterdam !
    ( do the scrappers re-post these comments too ? )


    I’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse….!

    “would you like some coconut cake with your scraping sir…?”

  16. David Bernier

    I don’t think I have much time or expertise to help.
    Still, what with scrapers not even providing attribution,
    you have my wholehearted moral support.

  17. Phoebe

    I never heard of Yves Smith or Naked Capitalism until this last year when your name, site and posts were cited on forums that I frequent.

    I think the sites and the posters/fans were all aware of and tried to be scrupulous about fair use – attribution, a link, a brief excerpt and an admonition to link here and read the entire post. Which I certainly did. And then came back again and again. This is my first comment here.

    While they did what they thought was the right thing as regards fair use,they most likely did not have your permission. But I have to think that you ultimately did benefit since your web presence and reputation as an expert and the traffic to this site were greatly enhanced by others singing your praises.

    The Righthaven lawsuits are based on the same premise, I believe – that permission trumps fair use. Which makes no sense to me since it seems to be an effort to choke off their own traffic. Please understand that I am NOT defending people who just rip off your posts, ideas, interpretations, etc and try to pass them off as their own or try to siphon off your traffic. I was just getting the impression that you don’t want people to link or quote you at all without specific permission. Someone making one post on a forum or message board is not all that likely to do that.

    You said you wanted comments to be made here – it kind of sounds like you want control over any comments people make about your content. But in real life, people are commenting about your exposes and theories on other sites in a community they are already familiar with.

    Anyway, I hope you don’t get the wrong impression about the points I was trying to make. I applaud you and your efforts to rip the covers off the horrendous fraudulent criminal activity that is going on in plain sight without any criminal prosecutions in sight. I really do think you deserve a Pulitzer.

  18. Rich

    “Reporting for duty Sah!”

    I’m happy to help to payback for all my RSS consumption if I can.

    Not sure if this form filling requires a lawyer mind, but contact me. I’m UK time and will defo make time.

    I really agree with this comment:

    “I generally believe in the free-flow of information and communication–easily accessible to all. I think society benefits when information is available to be used and enjoyed by all”

    But not if someone blatantly profits at someone’s hard work using Adsense with not even an attempt to link back.

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