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Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Feb 10, 2008

Today I discovered that ProZ.com syndicates forum posts. I googled for "University of Toronto's Online Translation Certificate" (because this was discussed in a recent post) and the second hit was form a site that is not part of the ProZ.com group, hosting our posts as content. Didn't realise it...

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:23
English to French
+ ...
I will only post again once we hear back from ProZ about this Feb 10, 2008

I would be very interested in getting an explanation of this from ProZ. I don't remember seeing any forum rule or terms and conditions where this was mentioned. I don't want my postings syndicated. I hope this is an error of some kind - and that the correction is coming right up...

Until then, I don't think I will contribute any more. It was my understanding my posts only appeared on this site.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:23
SITE FOUNDER
No syndication Feb 10, 2008

We don't have any agreements to syndicate content.

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tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
English to Latvian
+ ...
Very interesting... Feb 10, 2008

I do not know if I have found the same site, but at least on this one we can see the discussion in question plus the Proz logo nice and clear...
http://tinyurl.com/2ewz72
Henry?


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 15:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
All's not well ... Feb 11, 2008

Henry D wrote:

We don't have any agreements to syndicate content.


I am happy to read confirmation that Proz.com does not enter into syndication agreements. It is nonetheless clear that content from this site is being 'borrowed' on a massive scale elsewhere. For example, on the site found by tinageta.

The agency behind that particular website is a proz.com member. If we look at their profile here, we find further evidence of unacceptable practices - not the least being the publication of a list of 'black-listed clients'. Certain other proziens - whose names I happen to recognise - are also listed as 'valued clients', but I wonder if they are even aware that their names are being (mis/ab)used in this way.

These discoveries suggest - to me at least - that 'all's not well'. And if one unscrupulous agency/member is filching forum posts (and heaven knows what else...) to decorate their website (or their agency database), then maybe there are others, too... In this respect, perhaps Samuel could say whether the site he found was the same one?

I have found nothing here on proz.com to clarify the matter of copyright on forum posts, and I imagine that this material is regarded as being in the public domain. Like Viktoria, however, I am not happy with the idea that my contributions here - all posted within a well-defined thematic and professional context - are being presented elsewhere, out of context, and for purposes clearly different to those relating to the proz.com forum.

I hope we shall read more from staff on these matters in the next few days... In the meantime, I for one shall be 'off the air' as far as the forum is concerned (this thread excepted).

MediaMatrix


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
German to English
A related issue Feb 11, 2008

I enter my name in the Google search now and then, mainly to see if my profile and website are appearing there. I usually find some of my ProZ.com forum posts and KudoZ answers there too, which is to be expected. However, I also increasingly find my name with references to myself, my profile, an article I wrote, some of my forum posts on websites and blogs I know nothing about and whose owners have not asked my permission to reproduce all these things there.

Henry has confirmed that ProZ.com has no agreements to syndicate content, so most probably something similar is happening here. Don't people have to ask permission before doing this? Does anyone know if there are any laws or regulations regarding this type of thing?


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:23
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I've discovered the same thing Feb 11, 2008

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

I enter my name in the Google search now and then, mainly to see if my profile and website are appearing there. I usually find some of my ProZ.com forum posts and KudoZ answers there too, which is to be expected. However, I also increasingly find my name with references to myself, my profile, an article I wrote, some of my forum posts on websites and blogs I know nothing about and whose owners have not asked my permission to reproduce all these things there.

Henry has confirmed that ProZ.com has no agreements to syndicate content, so most probably something similar is happening here. Don't people have to ask permission before doing this? Does anyone know if there are any laws or regulations regarding this type of thing?


Having read Niraja's message, I've just done a similar Google search using my own name and found to my amazement that all my Proz postings, my Proz profile, Kudoz questions and answers are there, as well as, among other things, a letter I had published in The Independent about the David Kelly affair. This is slightly unnerving. Is it, in fact "to be expected". Is it right? No-one has ever asked my permission to reproduce these things.
Henry, please can you look into this for us? As Viktoria says, it makes one a little uneasy about making entries in future.
Regards
Jenny.


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Drew MacFadyen
Local time: 14:23
SITE STAFF
Re use of content in excerpt form is legal Feb 12, 2008

Thank you everyone for bringing this to our attention. We do understand your concerns. In reviewing the site in question - ksbtranslation.com/index.php?option=com_nf_scroller_xt&Itemid=42 it would appear that they have re-purposed some of our forum headings and excerpts of the content that is then linked back to our site. Historically republishing excerpts has been challenged and upheld as a legal practice. Further we do offer RSS feeds of many of our forums, and they are merely publishing those rss feeds. As they give links back to ProZ.com and in some areas on their site properly cite and reference proz.com there is no legal recourse we could take at this time.

I understand your concerns about content being repurposed and perhaps being taken out of context, so we will keep an eye on the site and this issue and see if further action is needed.

Regards,

Drew MacFadyen


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 15:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
With respect, I suggest that further action IS needed. Feb 12, 2008

Drew MacFadyen wrote:
... we will ... see if further action is needed.


Thank you for outlining Proz.com's interpretation of the legal situation regarding the use of forum content on third-party websites.

Perhaps over-hastily, I already welcomed Henry's clarification that Proz.com has no sindication agreements. Now that Drew has drawn attention to the offending website's (presumed) use of the RSS feeds, it's clear that there was no reason why Proz.com should have any 'agreements' with anyone on this matter in any case. The mere fact that many forums are freely available via RSS constitutes implicit agreement to sindicate forum content - with any Tom, Dick or Harry, worldwide! After all, one of the 'S's in RSS stands for 'sindication, doesn't it?

Proz.com is often criticised for an excess of rules. I find it surprising, therefore, that there are no rules setting out Proz.com's crieria regarding 'legitimate and acceptable use of RSS content'. There's nothing in the Rules, nothing in the FAQ, nothing in the Privacy policy. What's more, the very existence of RSS for certain forums is well-hidden; the only place I can see RSS links is on the general table of forums. This is probably one of the least-used pages in the entire forum system - I suspect that most users, most of the time, access the forum area only via the forum search page or when contributing to a forum thread. These users will never see an RSS link - so never have it drawn to their attention that what they write may immediately be propagated outside this site and perhaps be quoted out of context ... or worse.

In view of these observations, I would like to put forward some ideas for consideration with a view to introducing suitable safeguards in this area:

1. Define Proz.com policy defining the acceptable and legitimate use of RSS feeds, or content collected by other means (e.g. manual copy-paste), in third-party websites and/or other 'publications'.

2. Publish a set of rules so offenders cannot claim 'we didn't know - you haven't stated your rules'. Those rules should of course set out the sanctions that may be taken against persistent offenders among the community membership.

3. In the pages we use to start a new thread in an sindicated forum, or to reply to an existing one, include a clear message stating (something like) 'This forum is sindicated via RSS - Proz.com cannot control the use made of your post by third parties'.

4. In those same pages, provide a check box to enable individual posters to opt out of having their post sindicated via RSS.

5. Provide a mechanism enabling a moderator to 'un-sindicate' the entire content of any thread that reflects poorly on the professionalism of some contributors.

6. In member/user profiles, provide a global option to enable us to opt out of RSS for all our posts.

MediaMatrix


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:23
English to French
+ ...
Thanks for the explanation, Drew Feb 14, 2008

I would have preferred to be notified of the RSS feeds...

Thanks for your help, Drew!


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