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RootsFeed Update

Here is the latest update to the RootsFeed issue:

1.  RootsFeed now has a contact form which you can use to contact them and ask that your content be removed.

2.  In a recent comment to the initial post, a member of GeneaBloggers states she received a response from RootsFeed (we assume by using the Contact Form) in which they stated:

Your posts were removed from the site this past Saturday. Rootsfeed did not violate your copyright. At no time did we publish in its entirety any article from your website, nor did we ever take attribution for any article. We posted an excerpt from the article with a link back to your site, which is completely legal.


3.  I would disagree with the RootsFeed statement on several levels:

– they have not addressed the fact that they are using a “posted by” link at the bottom of each post which makes it seem as if the blogger posted or contributed the post at the RootsFeed site.

– excerpt or not, it is still your blog post and you can dictate what can and cannot be done with the content whether it is three lines or 15 lines.

– while they do link back to the original post eventually, they only do so after a click which takes you to another RootsFeed page so you can be bombarded by their advertising.  This is not the same as a link back to your content – the link should be on the post title and on the initial click.

4.  I recommend that GeneaBloggers members “beef up” their copyright statement to clarify how content can and cannot be used and when permission is required.  I’ve added the following language here at GeneaBloggers in the sidebar:

You may NOT use the contents of this site for commercial purposes without explicit permission from the author and blog owner. Commercial purposes includes blogs with ads and income generating features, and/or blogs or sites using feed content as a replacement for original content.  Full content usage is not permitted.

Thanks to Lorelle VanFossen for the inspiration of the above language used in the post Goodbye to Splogs and Feed-Driven Blogs at the Blog Herald.

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Remember that it is sad fact of blogging that you must be vigilant as to how your content is being used.  Thanks to all those who gave me a heads up to RootsFeed during this past week.  As a community of bloggers we need to communicate to those who would profit from our work that you can’t just take without asking.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

9 thoughts on “RootsFeed Update

  1. I suspect Rootsfeed believes that the short quote falls within ‘fair use’ guidelines. Though the fact they aren’t quoting for review/educational purposes, but solely for commercial purposes, does make a difference.

    One issue is that the only blogs they are ‘syndicating’ are likely those that use RSS feeds. Because I assume that’s where they’re getting the content. And we as bloggers use RSS to make syndication ‘really simple.’ We want people to be able to view our blogs through Google Reader, Bloglines, Newsgator, etc.

    It’s the commercial aspect (and confusing attribution) of Rootsfeed that is the problem, not the syndication aspect. For if it is the syndication aspect, it is possible not to allow RSS.

    I also believe it is possible to put a header on your feed that provides a copyright message. That way if they do take it, the copyright message should appear at the top.

  2. It may not be possible to add a copyright notice to the header of a blog feed. At least, my search for a plugin comes up empty. It’s easy to add it to the footer, but of course, if they’re only quoting the first few paragraphs, that will be cut off.

  3. Elyse gave a recent heads-up about a splog you posted about earlier: — looks like they are still lifting content, including some from fellow geneabloggers … 🙁

  4. Dear John M. at TransDutch- I don’t have an RSS feed on my blog, and my blog is one that was splogged. I have no idea why my blog or anyone else’s blog was “chosen” by this website. Lucky me…

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