"This must be a first. Mass plagiarism from E2.
" - mirv
In late May of 2003, the Everything2 community was rocked by what appeared to be a brazenly scripted database lift of material written by hundreds of E2 noders. The spoof website http://music.homepages.org had systematically searched E2 for any and all write-ups which appeared under the name of a band. Entire nodes, even factual write-ups which had nothing to do with an identically named band, such as "Kansas" or "Texas," turned up on the website, poorly formatted and completely uncut of details which unmistakably identified their origin (GTKY writeups, in-jokes). The softlinks were maliciously converted into links to Amazon.com, affiliate-style, in which the linker recieves money for each sale resulting from the Amazon link.
These write-ups could be found (no longer) at http://www.bandname.com-music.homepages.org, where "bandname" is the node of your choice.
To add insult to injury, all the stolen write-ups were followed by the notice "(c) 2003 1001 Media Group."
A WHOIS of the 1001 Media website turned up the Administrative Contact, Marty McKolskey. McKolskey was contacted by several noders who threatened to sic the dogs on them, however, the site did not budge.
However, on June 10, 2003, when the story broke out to the unwashed masses via the E2 catbox and this node, the homepages.org servers were brought to their knees within several hours. Infuriated noders swarmed Mr. McKolskey's personal websites, demanding removal of the material. Within less than 12 hours of phone calls, e-mail, and message board pressure, Mr. McKolskey agreed to remove the matierial. His message was as follows:
"Wow, it kinda sucks to wake up and find you're the world's latest villain.
"Anyway, I'm horribly sorry about the whole thing, as you may have imagined. My usage of e2 content was based on the (now clearly mistaken) assumption that it was indeed open content, as advertised in the open directory, and a few other places. Typically open content is really do-with-as-you-please kind of stuff, so I didn't see any problem in using it. Of course, finding several dozen angry messages on my messageboard is enough to dissuade me of that notion.
"If you'd still like to yell at me, complain, ask questions or just generally make any kind of comment, I've created a category on my messageboard for you to do so: >http://www.marty.net/cgi/marty/board/messageboard?board=everything2
Or of course you can just email me again (though emails to me have a tendency to get eaten alive by my somewhat overzealous spam filter).
"Oh -- and I'm removing the code entirely from my site, but if you should find any other content that shouldn't be there, e2 or otherwise, then let me know, preferably on my messageboard, since I check it every day.
Once again, I'm sorry, I apologize, mea maxima culpa, and it won't happen again.
According to posts on his message board, he made a total of $34.23 off the Amazon affiliate links, all of which has since been donated to E2 via the donation box.
Two interesting things about this whole fiasco. According to dem bones, unlike most other sites, where submitting content includes yielding copyright to the website, everything on E2 is owned by its creator. See the node Who owns our writeups? for more details on this. What that means is that, when something like this happens, it's up to us, the copyright holders, to take action.
Also, this incident could have been avoided completely had McKolskey not changed the content vis-a-vis those little (c) symbols at the bottom of each page and the Amazon links. If he had seen fit to just put up a mirror of E2, since this is, for all intents and purposes, an online, open-source encyclopedia, that would have been very much in the spirit of free exchange of ideas that E2 was founded on. But the fact that he claimed copyright, and tried to make money off of our work, put myself and many others over the edge.
However, I personally would like to discourage noders from further harassment of Mr. McKolskey. I have removed his contact info from this page because I was disappointed in the juvenile antics of some of our more, shall we say, hotheaded members. Marty has removed the offending material, refunded the money he made from Amazon, and issued an apology. As far as I'm concerned, this issue is closed for now.
Congratulations to everyone at E2 for their quick action in this matter, and for keeping things (relatively) civil. Once again, Evil is no match for The Horde. Power to the people!
This w/u will be updated as this story develops. /msg me if you have more info.