I was surprised to find this morning when reviewing stats for my Sexdotcom.info site that a site called Skweezer.net has appeared.
I was even more surprised when I followed links through and found that this website has grabbed a large chunk of the content on my site and stored it on its own servers. This is what is commonly called copyright infringement, a more polite way of saying theft.
So I started doing a quick bit of researching on Skweezer.net and found, incredibly, that people are nominating this company for awards.
What Skweezer does is this: runs its software over a website and reformats it so it can be easily viewed on a PDA or mobile device. It stores and caches this information and then relies on people inputting URLs into its website to give them the PDA-version. But its version has ads on the top and bottom of the page – which is where it makes its money.
Except of course, there is nothing wrong with my Sexdotcom.info site when viewed on a PDA. I know because I have just checked it on my PDA and my mobile phone. It’s not perfect, but it is very easily navigated and all the text is clear, as are all links. In fact, having viewed the Skweezer version, I think that my version is actually better.
And that brings us to the unfortunate reality that Skweezer is in fact stealing the original content I have produced on my site and is making money off the back of advertising by purporting to offer a service that isn’t actually needed.
I have blocked the company from accessing my site through their IP address (I’m not the only one) and they’ll be getting a letter from me.
Okay, I’ve done a bit more research and it would seem that it’s not only me that is thinks it a little unreasonable that a company takes all your content and use it itself to make money. I found this irate man posting from January 2005. It would appear that Skweezer started out by stealing blog content, and has now expanded to stealing website content.
Let me make this clear: I have spent years, literally, learning about a topic, interviewing the people, learning about the law, following the twists and turns, meeting the people, talking to them, grasping the complexities. And then I have written about it, and published it. And a company has decided it will take that material and make money from it, even though it hasn’t a clue what those words actually mean.
It is copyright infringement and fortunately that argument was won several hundred years ago. Skweezer is not long for this world. Someone is going to sue the hell out of it.
The company has a blog. A blog which it has shifted to avoid a lot of aggressive comments last year, from http://greenlightwireless.net/blog/ to http://blog.greenlightwireless.net/. Although, having sent a response to a recent blog post, it would seem that the reason there are no comments on any of the posts is because the company doesn’t *allow* comments to its post. You can *send* a response but it then enters a company black hole. I don’t know why I’m surprised.
The one interesting thing about this though is that there is clearly a market out there for making websites simply accessible on mobile devices – something that the new .mobi top-level domain is hoping it can corner the market on.