At least half a dozen times, fellow China bloggers have written me, apoplectic, about someone stealing their online content. Each time, I offer to write a threatening attorney letter (for free) but tell them that may not be terribly effective. I then suggest they first very nicely ask the offending party to take down the content. Asking nicely does often work and suing a Chinese company in China for stealing blog content is just not likely to make economic sense for most bloggers who make little to nothing off their blogs.
Through a very circuitous route, I now have a better, more comprehensive straregy.
Michael Atkins of the Seattle Trademark Lawyer blog is putting on a Seattle Law Blogger Meetup today. His post on the meetup links over to the blogs of bloggers who have committed to attend. I started linking over to those blogs so as to know more before I go. I have so far looked at just the first two and I definitely will not be lost for words in talking with the bloggers behind those blogs.
The first one is Spam Notes, which is on “electronic communications, privacy, identify theft, data protection, adware, spyware, and more.” That blog has four posts on one of my firm’s better clients. Whoops.
The second is Seomoz.org (written by attorney Sarah Bird), where I quickly came across an excellent post, entitled, “Four Ways to Enforce Your Copyright: What to Do When Your Online Content Is Being Stolen,” explicitly detailing what to do upon discovering someone has stolen your content. Now that is China relevant. Blissfully, none of the four steps require a lawyer. They are:
1. Ask the offending party to take down the content.
2. “Send a Take-Down Notice to the Online Service Provider (“OSP”)”
3. “Send a Take-Down Notice to the Company that Registers the URL”
4. “Send a Take-Down Notice to the Search Engines”
Contacting the search engines makes particular sense if you are dealing with an entirely China based content thief.
Ms. Bird concludes her post with the following wise instructions on when to bring in the hired gun:
The great thing about each of the above steps is that they don’t necessarily require an attorney. However, if you’re getting some flack from any of the above parties, a strongly worded nastygram from an attorney with fancy letterhead may set things right.
Obviously, a lawsuit is last resort.
I can hardly wait to read some more of my fellow Seattleite’s blawgs. Oh, and just to make sure I achieve popularity at the party that my own natural charms could never attain for me, here is a list (with links) of the other bloggers expected to attend:
Eric Chiappinelli of Cases and Materials on Business Entities;
Bill Marler and Suzanne Schreck of the Marler Blog (Bill and I should have plenty to talk about)
Larry Munn and Jeffrey Vicq of Vancouver, BC’s Canadian Trademark Blog (yes, Vancouver is in Canada, but it is widely considered to be a Seattle suburb)
Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs (who I have known for years and whom I plugged here, here, and here)
Jill Pugh of the Employment Law Blog;
Michael Rice of Coderights;
Mark Walters of the Washington State Patent Law Blog; and
Mary Whisner of Trial Ad (and other) Notes.
UPDATE: The meetup was a raving success. Great people, great discussion, great food and wine. For more on the event check out the following posts:
— “Seattle Law Blogger Meet-up” on the Avvo blog. NOTE: Any blog that surrounds my name with the adjectives “super-smart” and “very successful” is guaranteed of a link-back. Congratulations to Avvo on your First Amendment victory. I will note that this blog quoted/extolled Bob Dylan (here, here, long before Judge Lasnik did so in the Avvo case.
— “Seattle Bloggers” on the Spam Notes Blog. Spam Notes is written by Venkat Balasubramani, who has a terrific high tech practice to go along with probably the coolest first name and the longest second name in the business.
— “Seattle Law Blogger Meeting Recap,” on Michael Atkins‘ Seattle Trademark Lawyer Blog. Michael, thanks again for putting on such a great event.
— “Seattle Law Bloggers Meet,” on the Employment Advisory Blog, written by Rod Stephens of the Stephens Law firm. Rod came all the way from Sumner, Washington.
— “Law Bloggers Unite,” on the Canadian Trademark Blog, written by Vancouver, BC’s Clark Wilson law firm. Lawyer-Bloggers Jeffrey Vicq and Larry Munn came from Canada for the meetup and they are claiming the next one will be in beautiful Vancouver, leading me to think we should re-dub the meetup the Pacific Northwest Bloggers Meetup or the Cascadia Meetup.
I also used this event to poach a bit of free advice off my friend, Kevin O’Keefe, of whom I am convinced knows more about law blogging than anyone else.