By: THE Sailor Scorpio
All right. Okay. Here we go. A cosmic slap of reality from the Fearless Leader of COSMIClub.
Background: Recently (around July 25, 1999) COSMIClub was found to be the victim of "grand theft website". A Sailor Sun (a newer one, a foolish one) had decided to start a club called "Sailor Moon Creation Club" or S.M.C.C. She also decided she would steal from COSMIClub to make her club the easy way. Instead of using her own imagination and hardwork, she stole that of COSMIClub members.
Evidence: The first signs were not so obvious. I started receiving persona updates for people who were not in COSMIClub. Needless to say I was quite confused. Then, I noticed one of them had a URL in the header info.
I followed it.
I said some very bad words when the page loaded.
There was a sentence copy/pasted from MY site! *eyes boggle* How do I know it was copy/pasted and not just typed word for word? The words "email me" were linked for messaging through the browser. Guess who's email address it went to! *head hits the desk* Then, I went to the index page. More copy/pasted text! Page after page was like that. And lo and behold! That background image sure looked familiar! Egads! *censorcensor* that's my beloved - personal - trademark - star background! AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH.... ahem ^_~*
Action: I emailed the owner (sailor_sun_) and demanded she remove the stolen material immediately. I also submitted her for Worst of Web - a bit premature, but I was going ballistic and needed to strike out. ^_~*
Counteraction: She replied to my email with (in partial) - " i didn't steel anything from you site, I have no idea what you are talking about!! It took me over a month to get everything ready in the club, I didn't steal anything from any one. it took me a long to to come up with everything on the site. I didn't steal anything!!! i think that you a jumping to conclusions! What are you saying that I stole? *glares at Sailor Scorpio*"
Insert Opinion: Excuse me? *blinks* Didn't steal anything?? *raucous laughter, glint in eyes* I do believe I would know my own exact words and MY created images when I see them. And, gee, it took her a whole one month to purloin what I had developed over the course of seventeen months? Boy, she worked really hard! *sarcasm drips*
Consequences: I contacted Yahoo/Geocities about this site's violation of their Terms of Service. I sent them a very detailed list of everything she had copy/pasted and stolen, where to find it on her site and where to find it's origin in COSMIClub site. The next day, the entire site was "unavailable for viewing". Coincidence? *shrug* I had also contacted the webring she was in and asked for their assistance in the fight against plagiarism by removing her site from the ring. I haven't heard from the Ring, and they may not remove the site's listing, but it's good to cover your bases.
Point of all this: Stealing from and plagiarizing other people's sites is not only wrong, it is illegal. Don't do it. And if someone has done it to you, against your "copyrighted material - do not take" notices, don't be afraid to contact their service provider - the webmaster of wherever the site is, and they usually have a place specifically for sending complaints. Copyright infringement is a violation of most (if not all) Terms of Service agreements that one must agree to before using the services of such places as Yahoo/Geocities. As mad as you are, do it in a simple, fact-stating manor as opposed to ranting. ^_~* And, PLEASE, do not bog them down with frivolous matters. (In other words, try to use them as a last resort.)
As a rule, I first ask (demand *grin*) the person through email to remove the stolen material. Usually, when confronted, they will comply. (That's been my experience, anyway.;) This Sailor Sun not only didn't comply - she claimed that she hadn't stolen anything and that everything there was hers! So, off to Geocities I went. Hmphf! ^_~*
Victimized? I've found that there IS something you can do about it besides spreading the word about the unscrupulous thief. Sometimes public ridicule is enough to have them turn-tail and run, but I, myself, am more into the 'absolute' type of punishment. I believe if someone steals, they lose a finger. I don't support this carpeted, cable TV bull in prisons these days. I am of the same mind on the Net. If you can't 'behave', you should simply be banished. Often, simple deprivation is enough to snap one into thinking twice about doing such things again.
People think the Net is there for their use or abuse no matter what. They get on and think they own the world. They think they are anonymous and therefore act in ways they never would in "real life". They think they can flit about helterskelter and do whatever they please without thinking. You can bet when they are suddenly cut off with the simple click of a mouse, they are seen jaw hanging to the ground staring at their monitor in shock. They can't believe it.
Here's a slap of reality, people. We don't want the Net to be patrolled and monitored and unfriendly. We're not going to tolerate people who act in ways that would bring about that necessity. The Net has it's own sort of government, and you better respect it. If you don't, you may find that you, and thereby whoever uses your computer, has been disconnected from the Net entirely. It can be done. It has been done. It will be done whenever the need arises.
When you sign up to use their service, you also effectively sign that agreement that states you will not abuse their service. When you abuse that service, they have every right to knock you off the Net without so much as a "how-do-you-do" - and they will not hesitate to do so.
Perhaps, when word gets around that sites which contain stolen material without giving all due credit are being shutdown, people will start to think twice about taking advantage of other people's hardwork. Perhaps they'll finally see just how serious their trespasses are.
Pilfering and plundering websites disgusts me. I do NOT tolerate it, and I am a person of action. If you want to test me, that is your folly.
"In the name of COSMIClub... I slap you with reality!"
*adds some of Sailor Engvall's "signs" to her box of naked Barbie Dolls and grins ferally*
Comments on this article can be sent to:
THE Sailor Scorpio.