MyVillage content theft – site owner says sorry

You’ll be aware the MyVillage network of sites is in the habit of nicking content from local blogs to help it attract readers and advertisers – judging by the comments on the post below detailing my experiences with the Greenwich site, it’s quite a problem.

Well, I’ve had an e-mail from the owner of the network, Roifield Brown, saying sorry.

Fair play to him. Of course, no such e-mail was received here last year, and that seems to be the case for many others. I trust that this post, and his e-mail, won’t be making their way illicitly onto the MyVillage Greenwich site in the coming hours.

MyVillage was a darling of the web scene about seven or eight years ago, but it seems to have scaled back its operations more recently. That’s not stopping it from trumpeting the existence of non-existent staff on its “contact us” page, though…

I thought Stephanie Phillips, the “senior editor”, would be the go-to person here. But my e-mail to her went without a reply. I’ve tracked her down, and it turns out she no longer works for MyVillage, so she’s an innocent party in all this. But that hasn’t stopped Roifield Brown using her name and photograph as a contact for the site. Not good.

So hopefully, here’s where this site’s unwanted relationship with MyVillage ends. Hopefully others will find it just as easy to pull their blogs out of this corner of the web.

Incidentally, you should visit Stephanie’s blog, Don’t Dance Her Down Boys, because she’s got ace taste in music and there’s loads of that there. Seems like she’s thriving well away from Roifield’s sites. There’s probably a message in that, somewhere.

See also: The Getgood Guide.

8 comments

  1. I’ve had the exact same C & P email from Roifield this afternoon. It seems like a bit of back tracking is taking place. Likewise I didn’t receive an intitial email asking for permission to lift my feed.

  2. I too received that email today. According to a response sent to Jon Bounds it seems no-one managing a non-London site received an initial email:

    “It appears Jon that when this was done emails were only sent out to the first blogs that we used in London, by the time we came to do a lot of other areas the researcher “ran out of steam” and I did not check. Again sorry for the inconvenience”

    http://getgoodguide.com/?p=382&cpage=1#comment-267

  3. They didn’t request to use my content either, and took several weeks of progressively irate emailing before they finally stopped. Not a fan.

    The really dumb thing is that my stuff is creative commons! If they’d used the right license, I couldn’t have stopped them (and wouldn’t have wanted to)!

  4. Thank you for the disclaimer and sorry for all the confusion. Obviously I can see from the way the site it looks like I am still a member of the MyVillage team but unfortunately I left quite a while ago.

    Good luck with your blog and thanks for linking to my blog as well.

    Steph x.x.x.

  5. Hi Darryl

    I’d be a bit more astringent, as people running big commercial sites should know better.

    If it was a chap with a local hobby blog I think the response might suffice.

    I’d suggest that a verbal apology for misuse of past content and no share in the revenue made from your content, while maintaining illegal use of everybody else’s content, may just be cheap words to keep you quiet.

    I don’t think warnings or moral pressure will help, and these guys are selling local adverts and making profit off the back of your stolen content.

    My suggestions:

    1 – The effective practical measure I have used in the past has been to get sites delisted by Google via their complaints form.

    2 – For existing violation, gather evidence, invoice a reasonable amount for all past usage on a 2 week deadline, then use the small claims court. For the future, put it in the T&C what the fee for reproduction.

    3 – Reproduction of a mere headline without compensation has been ruled as copyright violation in the recent NLA (News Licensing) case.

    4 – I’d also suggest that all existing articles be replaced with an apology for infringement and a link back. They might not go for that though.

    5 – Finally, is their copy of your content still in the Google cache?

    Rgds

  6. You might be interested to know that MyVillage have just been on Panorama for taking on interns, making them work a regular 9-5, one intern of which was given a “senior editor” role but with no pay at all.

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