After my PHP coding guidelines article was posted on evolt.org, I got quite a few people commenting on it and visiting my site as a result. Out of curiousity, I googled for “php coding guidelines” to see who was linking to my article. Most people were slagging it off in weblog posts/comments (well, it was a contraversial article – especially since I disagreed with the One True Brace style) but one or two people had just ripped it and placed it on their sites verbatim without permission. Like BV Designs (might be gone by the time you read this) – when I contacted the author he thought it was okay because he put my name on it, until I pointed out that merely acknowledging authorship doesn’t protect you from copyright lawsuits. 😉
I suppose the net makes it easier to copy, but thankfully it also makes my life a lot easier to catch people who are ripping off my work and often getting advertising revenue as a by-product. Had this been published in a paper journal I would probably never have discovered the infringement, but the web (and particularly Google) makes it possible for me to catch the majority of culprits.
Of course, I don’t mind people linking to or quoting parts of my work (and it wouldn’t really matter if I did, since it’s classed as “fair use”) but taking the whole thing is a bit ridiculous. Perhaps I should have taken Intellectual Property Law instead of Computing? There seems to be a lot of money in that area at the moment, especially after I heard in a lecture today that patents cost in the region of £5,000+ to acquire – and I bet the lawyers get at least 50% of that. 🙂