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You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Aug 19, 2011
I'd love to say that was just an attention-getting title in order to get you to look at something more mundane... however it's not.

I've been battling with eHow.com for a while as they have contributors who have been blatantly plagiarising my work. You can read about it in detail here:
http://www.puppetsinmelbourne.com.au/blog.php/2011/08/20/open-letter-to-ehow-com-stop-plagiarising-my-content

The stuff that's important to you guys though is that tonight I spent several hours on eHow's website going through a lot of puppetry-related articles. And I'm shocked to say that a number of friends from P&S and elsewhere may have also had their work - text and/or images - ripped off with no attribution.

Please pass on the info: a number of their contributors also visit here by the looks of their 'resource' links, so perhaps we can get some attention.

I'm making a very loud attempt at getting eHow's attention, as they've ignored me in the past. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, or any other website, pass the info on.

I know it sounds petty, but they have literally re-written and copied many many of my articles that I've spent a lot of time writing: and this stuff cuts into my income (thank goodness most of the patterns are behind a pay-wall) along with my potential ability to work as a writer since I'd have arguments with people over whether or not that line on my CV really should be there (and it should).

More than that, eHow's contributors may be infringing on other people's rights, such as puppeteers who post images of things they sell and don't want anyone else using.

Thanks!
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by MsPuppet on Aug 19, 2011
Thanks Na.  I've often wondered how ehow does what they do. They also do it in many other areas, cake decorating, children's ministry, etc. Others do it too.  I am astounded at how many of the same cake decorating clips I see all over the internet.  Obviously they are helping themselves to whatever they find, with no thought about what they are doing.

Is there a way to keep images/info from being cut and pasted from one site to another (remember I am not tech savy).

T
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Shawn on Aug 19, 2011
There is a way to keep your images from being what is called "hot linked", but there is nothing really keeping folks from downloading (they do that when the look at your page) images and then uploading them to another server and useing them. Hot Linking is when they actually use the images on your own server and show them in another site. That can be stopped and is really not that hard to do. If you happen to have a hosting company that has cPanel they even make it pretty easy to do.

I really doubt that ehow is going to do anything. I reviewed quite a bit of the content on puppetry and the authors seem to know just how much they have to change things to get around copyright laws. Quite frankly I found most the content on the site lacking in any true details of any use. Emily and Paul are about the only ones I saw that had real content and there stuff was actually migrated over from the old Expert Village site when ehow took over it I think. The drawback is that since ehow is a bigger site it is going to get a higher page rank by Google which means that more then likely someone searching is going to end up there instead of someplace like Na's site or here where the content is good. I guess when you see one of these articles you could always leave comments directing folks to better sites with more content but that almost feels like dropping to their level or spammer tactics.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Aug 20, 2011
Posted by: MsPuppet on Aug 19, 2011
Thanks Na.  I've often wondered how ehow does what they do. They also do it in many other areas, cake decorating, children's ministry, etc. Others do it too.  I am astounded at how many of the same cake decorating clips I see all over the internet.  Obviously they are helping themselves to whatever they find, with no thought about what they are doing.

Is there a way to keep images/info from being cut and pasted from one site to another (remember I am not tech savy).

T

eHow is like Youtube: entirely reliant on members contributing content. You get paid (probably based on a percentage of advertising fees) per article - Youtube obviously doesn't pay people, but the idea is to rely on other people to write your content for you. I would think they have special relationships with Paul Louis, etc, whereby that person gets a higher fee for producing more high quality content. This brings in more visitors, and encourages people who wouldn't otherwise to get involved. What it means is they pay less staff; writing content is expensive.

Sites like this are less about quality content and more about churning out content. The more content and visitors there are, the more they can seek investment and advertising.

To be honest, it's not so much their staff to blame as it is that their contributors are not professional writers in most cases and do not know or care about copyrights. As such, the majority of what these sites have is crap content; but then, their income model (see above) doesn't rely on quality just quantity.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Aug 20, 2011
Posted by: Shawn Sorrell on Aug 19, 2011
I really doubt that ehow is going to do anything. I reviewed quite a bit of the content on puppetry and the authors seem to know just how much they have to change things to get around copyright laws. Quite frankly I found most the content on the site lacking in any true details of any use.

I quite agree; but then, I'm making an effort to put the pressure on them publically. I have left comments on the site about plagiarism, which is hooked up to my Facebook account. I've tweeted them about my above blog post, as well as tweeted as many eHow staff as I could find, and have had it retweeted by a couple of people already. My email was cc'd not just to their support staff but to as many other eHow emails as I could find.

And I'll keep making noise until I get a decent response. (I have a "response received, someone will contact you" standard reply in my email this morning) I'm looking at finding someone who writes about online companies, as I have a couple of connections there too.

As for getting around things, yes some of the content is borderline. *But* my marionette tutorial is quite clearly and obviously plagiarised and on that one alone even a non-lawyer could see who is in the right. If nothing else happens, I will be contacting a local arts law center for some advice on how to put more pressure on them.

Emily and Paul are about the only ones I saw that had real content and there stuff was actually migrated over from the old Expert Village site when ehow took over it I think. The drawback is that since ehow is a bigger site it is going to get a higher page rank by Google which means that more then likely someone searching is going to end up there instead of someplace like Na's site or here where the content is good. I guess when you see one of these articles you could always leave comments directing folks to better sites with more content but that almost feels like dropping to their level or spammer tactics.

Actually I have found that since my initial complaints, most of the resources and referral links have been to good sites (here or to other well-known puppetry sites). I don't think leaving comments does anything. No one who is interested in learning about puppetry - which, let's face it, are mostly going to be parents/teachers/hobbyists - are going to take notice and all they want is a 1-2-3 paint by numbers tutorial. Which they find at eHow.

What we really need is for eHow to actually follow the terms and conditions provided by them and to police this more stringently. I am reasonable enough to realise that things will fall through the cracks as the site/contributors is so large: but when something is reported and they don't do anything about it is when I get annoyed.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Aug 20, 2011
Just wanted to add this:
http://www.plagiarismtoday.com

An excellent resource for info on plagiarism, copyrights and how to tackle them on the net. I thought someone here might find it useful.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Jul 19, 2012
Open letter to puppeteers (if someone could post it on Puppethub I'd be eternally grateful):


I thought I'd start sending this message out. I've had a long-standing problem with eHow whereby they've been plagiarising my work. Although they've taken most of the articles down, some still remain.

However, I regularly check their site for new articles, and I continue to find puppeteeer's work plagiarised. Here's just one example:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7696038_make-puppet-costume.html

Please do visit the site and check: they often steal photos (some quite well known, from Bread and Butter), plagiarise content, and in general have been extremely difficult to deal with in regards to removing content. Which is why I'm sending out the message to puppeteers. They are arguably quite respectful when it comes to hiring puppeteers to do work for them, but I have never ever had an actual response from my emails to them. I've even tried round-about ways of getting anyone to talk to me about it.

So if you see your work there, please, do help combat the plagiarism. There is a HUGE difference between using your work as a resource and copying it outright - and they tend to do more of the former than the latter.

Also, if people aren't aware, the site is a "for hire" submission engine. They do not have a content staff so much as they have freelance "writers" who are pretty much people with no/any experience in writing. The idea is not to provide useful information based on their experience or knowledge, it is to provide content using keywords to attract visitors and earn advertising money. Suffice to say that your work is being stolen because the people writing the articles simply google for info and grab whatever they can find in order to make their money.

(With apologies to the various puppeteers I've already chatted to about this and who work for Ehow. You guys obviously create your own stuff, and I only take issue with the non-puppeteer-for-hire writers; and of course the editorial staff who continue to allow this issue to fester)
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Shawn on Jul 19, 2012
And if you would like to see where they got the idea for that nifty puppet costume making technique you can see it here http://www.puppetpub.com/costumebook.pdf along with many other helpful ideas.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Na on Jul 19, 2012
Posted by: Shawn Sorrell on Jul 19, 2012
And if you would like to see where they got the idea for that nifty puppet costume making technique you can see it here http://www.puppetpub.com/costumebook.pdf along with many other helpful ideas.

Yep, all of it was fairly obviously plagiarised from Puppetpub - I've already sent an email to her letting her know it was used. For such a well-written and obviously laborious book to write, Christy shouldn't have her stuff ab/used like that.

One of the reasons why eHow pisses me off is that it's quite clearly bad writers - I may source info and used certain things as inspiration, but I've never, not once, not even for some freelance work, taken other people's stuff and "rewritten" it. It makes writers appear lazy and stupid. And willing to write on any topic no matter their level of knowledge, just for a few bucks.
Re: You may be a victim... Posted by Rikka on Jul 19, 2012
Would it help to put logos/ watermarks in the pics and texts? I mean, they can hardly steal anything that specificly refers to a non-eHow- page. I guess you could never stop highjackers- even if you stopped one, another one would spring up, and stop a download is out of the question, as Shawn pointed out. Have any of you media highlords an idea to make content safe by pointing at somebodys own website? I mean: firstly everybody would know that it was stolen from another page and might rather want to look there. Secoundly that would not really be PR if the word got around- which it probably would far quicker if everybody could see it. You think that could be done?
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