A writer friend and colleague of mine recently complained in the IWOSC forum that his press release had mysteriously appeared on a strange website. Here's my (cross-posted) reply:
"The situation you find about your press releases being posted on other blogs has happened to me quite a few times.
I'm not an expert in these matters, but my interpretation is this. Your PR release is essentially a public document because you've put it on the Web with the express purpose of inducing anyone who is interested to spread the news. It's certainly not unheard of in the news industry for a publication to simply run a lot if not most of the text of a release as an article. It's lazy journalism, but the original poster hardly complains because you're getting what you want -- your story out to the world.
But what's happening here is that these blogs are content whores. They surround themselves with click-thru ads and promotional URLs. They know that search engines seek out pages that change frequently. So they seek out content they can lift, any content, even it it's dated. For example, my release that I'd be reading from my novel Rubber Babes at Dutton's keeps getting reposted, even though Dutton's is long closed.
If you find that the other website has links to objectionable material, I'd say you're within your rights complaining to the webmaster and asking for the post to be removed. Some of these sites appear to be offshore so I wouldn't bet on them taking any action, but it's worth a try.
If the item did not originate as a press release -- say, it were a post on your own blog -- then this "cross-posting" without your permission would be a copyright violation, I believe. But when you're putting it out there as a release, its getting recycled is not necessarily a bad thing from the standpoint of your exposure. You just don't want to get into a situation where links to your own site get blocked because somehow the search engines have "associated" you with inappropriate content. For example, if you try to post an article on ezinearticles.com, they might block it if they think your links back to your own site lead, in turn, to nasty places."
Author of the Rollo Hemphill novels
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