Although it’s not our most pressing issue, SafeKids.com and sister site ConnectSafely.org have always supported efforts to educate children and teens on the importance of respecting other people’s digital property rights. Indeed, one of the points in SafeKids’ Teen Pledge for Being Smart Online is “I will respect other people’s digital property and space. I won’t steal, hack, break into anyone else’s accounts or use other’s content without permission.”
Practicing what we preach
We’ve also encouraged children and teens to protect their own intellectual property. In today’s Web 2.0 world, just about everyone is a content producer as well as consumer and we all have rights when it comes to what we create.
Over the years there have been plenty of cases where someone reposts an article or two from SafeKids.com and, generally, we let that pass. It’s still wrong and illegal, but life’s too short to stress over every minor injustice we encounter.
But a website calling itself Safety Village with the memorable URL SafetyVillage.com, seems to be stealing all of our content. To add to the injury, they are selling ads around our content.
Automated or human?
The reason I’m writing about this is twofold. First, I’m curious to see if it’s an automated process or if a person is actually doing it manually. If it’s automated there’s a good chance that this article will show up on their site which would be kind of ironic justice. But whether or not it’s automated, my hope is that the people who run the site will notice this post and do the right thing by removing the content and writing an apology (you can reach me here).
Because SafeKids.com has a fairly high Google ranking, this article is eventually likely to show up near the top when people do a search for Safety Village. And that brings up another thing we teach kids. We have said many times that what you do on the Internet can affect your reputation for a long time and, unless I take this post down, it will remain on the net for a long time and will show up when people search for this site. My goal isn’t to be vindictive. If the folks at Safety Village take down the content and apologize, I will either remove this post or append a note to the top saying that they have done the right thing. But in the mean time, their reputation will suffer.
SafeKids.com does allow some websites to re-post our material, but only with permission. We do encourage people to link to the site and have no objection to short quotations which are considered “fair use.” What Safety Village is doing is unfair use.