Why You’re Seeing More of My Face

You may have noticed that my face is appearing in more of the cover images for my blog posts and in more of the cover images for my videos. There is a reason for that and it’s not that I’ve discovered a new vanity in my mid-40’s. The reason is that in my on-going battle against websites that republish my content without permission it is much easier for me to prove proof of ownership and originality when my face is in the cover image. If you’re interested in the explanation of that, read on. 

Most of the sites that are stealing my work these days are doing so via automated means. It’s relatively easy to write a script that scrapes all of the content from an RSS feed and imports it into a different site. Truncating or stopping my RSS feed stops some of the thieves, but most have moved onto using scripts that scrape directly from the site instead of from the RSS feed. That’s a little harder to stop so my recourse is to file DMCA takedown notices with Google to get them to remove the offending content from their results pages. Additionally, I then file DMCA takedown notices with the sites’ hosting services. 

Filing DMCA takedown notices is time-consuming and even when filed properly some hosting companies still require even more proof of original work and ownership. Being able to say, “hey, that’s my picture of myself wearing my favorite flannel shirt” is a lot easier and faster than writing an explanation of the originality of my blog post. Still, some shady hosting companies (usually located outside of the United States) won’t do a darn thing to honor my request. In those cases at least there’s an easy way for visitors of the offending site to realize that what they’re reading was taken from FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Resources if You’re in a Similar Situation

If you have a website or blog that is also frequently scraped, here are some resources that might be helpful to you. 

Help Understanding Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use

Whenever I publish something about copyright, I get a bunch of follow-up questions. These are some of the frequently asked questions. 

  • I embedded your YouTube video into my class/ school website, is that okay? 
    • Yes, that’s totally fine as long as you’re using the embed or link provided by YouTube and not downloading the video then republishing it (read YouTube’s TOS for more details). 
  • I like to share the title or a little summary of your blog post with my staff, is that okay?
    • Yes, as long as you’re not republishing the whole thing and or passing it off as your own. If you want someone to read the whole blog post, give them the link to it. 
  • Can I forward your newsletter to my colleagues?
    • Yes, of course. Hit the forward button in your inbox and share it as I wrote it (over-use of parentheses and hyphens is one of the hallmarks of my blog posts so don’t be tempted to edit those out). 

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