Early afternoon on Monday, Jan. 5, I published an exclusive InterstateQ.com story on the OutGayLife.com network's alleged copyright infringement and violations of intellectual property rights.
The network, containing at least 21 other websites with the same or similar content, had republished and reposted material from LGBT publications, blogs and mainstream news organizations. In almost every instance, original authors and publications weren't cited, and, before they were deleted entirely, the network had almost 300 instances of possible infringement on The Associated Press' copyright and intellectual property.
It completely burnt me up to see a gay website stealing content from other gay websites, blogs, newspapers and magazines.
Porscha Yount, the associate publisher of Stereotypd (formerly Out in Asheville), one of the possible victims of the infringement, put my frustration well in her own words: "Publications have individuals working really hard to write stories that have original content and that are interesting to their readership. For someone to take that and claim as their own is, quite frankly, theft. 'Copyright infringement' sounds fancy but really they are just stealing content."
What bothered me more was the network owner, Eric Wood, and his seemingly ambivalent attitude toward the very real possibility that he'd broken the law and stolen other people's intellectual property.
"I would assume that there's thousands of other sites, literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of very similar sites as mine," Wood said, asking InterstateQ.com why he was the only one being contacted. "All you would need to do is go and look at Wordpress.org or Blogger.com or Typepad or any of these user submitted sites. You would find ten thousand times what is on my website."
When I noticed that the AP content had been removed from his website, I contacted Wood again. This time he admitted he removed the content "because of copyright" and said that "it's not worth the battle."
LGBT bloggers and journalists work so, so very hard to create high quality work. In such a small and demanding market it takes so much diligence and perseverance in order to make a living and a career out of doing what we love to do.
When people like Eric Wood come along and steal our content, claiming it as their own, our work is cheapened. Gay bloggers and journalists don't deserve that.
Read the full story at InterstateQ.com.