The Bird in Borrowed Feathers [Update]

Update:

48 hours ago, the original post has been published by me. It was a very valuable experience to see how the companies would be handling this. The spotlight they were in was very small. We’re not a big company and we’re not really working in an industry that has a huge audience like the gaming industry for example. So obviously we wouldn’t generate much “buzz”. But that was the perfect condition! Companies usually don’t do something about anything unless they really need to, right? I mean go and ask your internet provider.
So I couldn’t wait to see how the companies would react to my post. I was sure that they’d rather remove our content than linking back to us, but it turned out to be the exact opposite of that. Only one company removed our content – all the others added links to the source material. Not everyone did so entirely in accordance to our policy, but hey – we didn’t want to push it.

And I don’t want to push it now, either. While my first idea was to write down how each company behaved afterwards, I decided not to. I will only show you some numbers:

Five out of five companies either removed our content or named us as the source within 12 hours after the initial blog post.
Three out of five companies contacted us by E-Mail to apologize in a more personal way, which is much appreciated.
Two out of five companies apologized on Twitter (as well) (also appreciated of course).
One out of five companies did not apologize at all.

Special thanks to Nominalia Internet, S.L., who really made some effort in rectifying their mistake. 

 

 

Original post

Dear Heart Internet Ltd,
dear Easyspace Ltd,
dear Nominalia Internet, S.L.,
dear Mainstream d.o.o. (mCloud),
dear Total Publishing Network, S.A.

The lines you are reading now are the 16th or 17th attempt of me trying to not only write a blog post about copyright infringement, but also to deliver the emotions connected with the issue at hand. Over the course of 2015, in which we have proven to provide reliable data, we had a lot of people telling us to stop providing the data for free and instead sell it. They asked us how we could ignore the money that is to be made with nTLDStats over and over again. We started to ask ourselves whether we were naive to believe that our way of running nTLDStats would be the way of doing it. Our conclusion was: Yes, it is the way. The idea that all the data nTLDStats would provide should be available for free has always been a part of the whole concept from the very beginning.

Of course we thought about third parties using the data to make money with it. So we decided that we do offer the data as well as an API to automatically gather the data, but with the restriction that you would never be able to make a copy of nTLDStats.

I don’t know what you thought nTLDStats would be, but it is a project that has been created because something like it hasn’t been available until then. Stefan, the owner of greenSec Solutions, already had way enough customers. nTLDStats was nothing that had to be done in order to make money. It started as a side-project – and still is. Of course it grows and grows and it consumes more time than we’d like to admit. But that is also the reason why Stefan isn’t taking care of nTLDStats alone anymore. There are 4 people working on nTLDStats now.

Did we belive that people would steal content from us? Of course we did. But we were guessing that it would be mostly persons who take data for their website and such. The least we wanted to do is to annoy them with lawyers, copyright and whatnot. Let them have some stats on their site. We even received evidence sent to us anonymously (which is kinda crazy, but nice) that our statistics have been used in presentations not available to the public. Domain broker created selling points with our data, our charts and figures. And thus, logically, made money. But even that was okay. It is how the world works after all and we can’t change that. But we wouldn’t want to limit access for so many people just because of a handful of others who aren’t citing nTLDStats as their source. We accepted it, because it would cost so much time to actually dig through the internet on a regular basis to find people who make use of our data without naming us as the source.

And then, a few days ago, I stumbled across a slide as part of a presentation. It contained our chart and there was no backlink, no mention of nTLDStats, nothing. But the slide has been shared eight times, had 282 views, six downloads and has been used on other websites 61 times. Now those numbers don’t seem to be that high, or are they? You tell me, but I think that it’s pretty much, given that the domain-, or specifically the new gTLD industry, isn’t so big (people-wise, not money-wise!) compared to others.

Finding that slide angered me. While for all the past months I mostly shrugged off reports of people using our stuff, this bothered me a lot. Not only because there was no source given, not only because people would think that the creator of the slide actually had that knowledge that we at nTLDStats worked our asses off for, spending so much time optimizing data, fiddling with our crazy large databases for hours, days and sometimes weeks. What bothered me was that an actual big company did it. A big company comes across, picks up your stuff and displays it as their own. Really now?

Slide from Heart Internet

Slide from Heart Internet

 

Easyspace

Easyspace

I wanted to know: Are there other companies doing this? Well, yes there are. And the most interesting part is that they apparently did it shortly after nTLDStats launched. Our research showed no copyright infringement in 2015. Wherever we found our material, it has been taken in 2014 already, back when we just launched. One could think that the content has been taken because 2014-nTLDStats haven’t had any reputation back thenand no one would care anyways.

I do believe that writers can overlook that whole copyright thing. Or shrug it off maybe. Why bother contacting some small website for my article in the name of some big company? I get that, I really do. I also believe that most requests from one big company to another to use their content is just to avoid bad press and lawyers shouting at each other. It’s not happening because big company A is respecting companies B copyright so much that they humbly ask to use it. Big companies are not an open source community. I mean, it’s capitalism all over the place, right?

Now don’t worry, there won’t be any lawyers. We decided against it, because believe it or not: We are nice people. But just so you know: In this case, our lawyers would mop the floor with your lawyers.

 

 

Nevertheless we are giving you the opportunity to make things right:

  1. Either remove our content or add us as the source of the material in question in accordance to our Linking and Content Usage Policy

  2. Our PayPal address is payment@greensec.de – feel free to send us any amount that you see fit as an adequate compensation for your infringement to our copyright. What would it be worth to your company? What would someone who violated your copyright for a year would have to pay (apart from your lawyers’ fees)? If you don’t have Paypal, drop us a mail at mail [that a sign with the circles around it] ntldstats.com and we give you our bank details.

mCloud

mCloud

Nominalia

Nominalia

Nominalia

Nominalia

Total Publishing Network

Total Publishing Network