Learn a Lesson in Copyright from a Copyright Lawyer Who Can’t Get it Right

Copyright law 101: If you make a wholesale copy of someone else’s entire blog post and publish it on your blog without permission, you are violating that person’s copyright. It’s not fair use. There’s no implied license. It’s simply wrong.

Imagine my surprise earlier this week when I discovered that a lawyer — a lawyer who advertises himself as practicing copyright law — was copying everything I posted to my blog and posting it to his blog. Not only that, but he was doing the same for a number of other legal bloggers.

When I wrote him and politely asked that he stop, he responded that he thought I had given him an implied license to publish my posts by virtue of the fact that my blog has an RSS feed. Sorry, no.

He also revealed that he had been doing this for some time. Apparently, his recent change of blog-publishing platform to WordPress had caused my WordPress installation to pick up on his posts.

To his credit, at the bottom of each post, he did identify me as the author and provide a link back to my blog.

He also immediately agreed to take them down and not to publish any more of my posts without my permission.

But then today another of my posts appeared on his blog. And so I’ll be sending him another email.

I am refraining from identifying him out of courtesy. I give him the benefit of the doubt that he did not intend to do anything wrong. I’ll blame today’s reappearance on a computer glitch.

But lawyers, if anyone, should understand this basic rule of copyright: Don’t copy!