A Real-World Interlude: Infringements and Absurdities

I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be fuming or laughing, but neither is letting me write tonight’s intended post, so instead: here’s why. Consider this a cautionary tale, or a view of the true absurdity of the Internet. You can’t make this stuff up.

It began with an IM from Shinali, who had been looking for UZ’s original “catty wig people” comment in response to one of my posts. The comment should no longer exist online; due to some problems with the backup file when I made the move from the network formerly known as today.com to this site, I lost all comments made before the move. And yet… she found it. On a wordpress site whose url I will not give, partly because I don’t want to give them the satisfaction and partly because with any luck, it won’t exist in a day or two, a perfect copy of my original blog, comments and all. (I rather want to know how they did it; my webmistress tried for several days to fix the backup file I was given because it would not transfer anything but the tags, and in the end I had to put all my old content back up by hand, leading to months of copy-pasting.)

So I find this wordpress site. I establish its start date, because whoever put it up didn’t bother to remove its “Hello World” post. November 25, 2010. More than half a year after I moved to this site (and after the last post the copy-blog copied, which was April 2, 2010). Less than half a year before I realized my posts were still up at the site that the original network moved to and convinced them to fulfill their half of the contractual obligation and take my stuff down.

Wordpress.com tells me I’m supposed to fill out a DMCA form. Which includes contacting the owner of this thing (which I can’t really, there’s no contact information and the blogspot counterpart under the same name is pegged by my antivirus as an unsafe site). And includes giving the URL of the exact post copied, not the entire site. ….if I have to fill out an itemized DMCA for more than a year of individual posts plus three pages, I’m going to throttle something.

So, being the workaround-prone-type I am, I go to contact Wordpress support and ask them if there’s any shortcut for this problem. And just my luck: the 24/7 Wordpress.com support is down, I would assume for some sort of maintenance or upgrade. So my message of “Excuse me, this person copied the entire content from a site that technically hadn’t had the right to post that content for more than half a year, the original content minus comments due to a problem I never did figure out how to resolve is over here and is STILL older than the site you have there, even after you account for backdating—is there something I can do that won’t involve humoring them by visiting every single one of their pages so I can copy-paste the URL?” will have to wait until the following day.

I should be utterly enraged, ready to tear apart the internet with my bare hands until I find the person who yoinked my content. I should be chewing myself out for how long it took me to locate this thing. (I sure as heck wonder why they bothered, given they’re not even putting ads on it.) But since I can’t do that until Support is back up, I’m going to give in to my other inclination and laugh, since this couldn’t possibly get any more pathetic.

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