A torrent of words

I write. As a freelance, I hold copyright on those words. “Ireland’s SOPA” wants to protect those words. But copyright already protects them.

My words have been pirated a few times. The first time, articles were cut and pasted wholesale from a website and re-used.

Not by a pirate website, but by an old-established company. We eventually settled for a rather handsome sum.

More recently, a story I wrote was lifted by two media companies, and placed on websites.

One was outside the jurisdiction. The publisher sent me a very nice letter when I complained, which basically said he had no intention of paying.

The second was a media company in Ireland. The claimed they got the story from a different source. I know this to be untrue.

A story I wrote once appeared on a blogger’s site. When I contacted him, he apologised, and removed it immediately.

It’s not greedy teenagers who are pirating my work. It’s respectable old media companies.

My submission to the Copyright Consultation Committee argued that my problem wasn’t teenagers torrenting my precious words, but lack of a small claims court to resolve my issues with these old media companies. “Ireland’s SOPA” won’t help there.

[Image by Faduda. using background from Morguefile.com]

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.

One comment

  1. Gerard,
    Often publishers contract with entities in India, Israel or other popular “outsourcing” locations, and the contractees will rip copy wholesale from copyrighted sources and sell this copy to their clients. I have seen this done first hand, as has my wife, who is an editor for an online reference source.
    The publishers say they “can’t afford to pay” domestic rates, and hence the outsourcing. You tend to get what you pay for, it seems. I am pleased beyond description that you reached a settlement with the party that stole your work. They are lucky you didn’t drag them through the media and courts.
    Best to you.

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