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Scoop Link: Xtra Lifts Webpages Without Permission

SCOOP EDITOR'S NOTE: This article (A major Scoop in every sense of the word) is part of a series of articles from Aardvark.co.nz published over the past few days sparked by the promulgation of a new set of Terms of Service by Telecom's Internet Service Provider Xtra. Interestingly this article may shed some light on the question of why Xtra was so keen to change its Terms of Service in such a way that it was by default licensed to deal with it's clients intellectual property as it saw fit.

Links to the earlier articles are provided here for your interest...

HOT LINKS! Xtra Has Another Dumb Day! - Oh dear, this is a story that just won't die -- I refer of course to the disastrous way in which Xtra has mismanaged the introduction of a new, very badly implemented Service Terms agreement. Xtra: Criticism ist Verboten and Another clause for concern with Xtra's terms and conditions.
EARLIER:
- Aardvark: Xtra's Dumbest Ever Move
- Has Xtra Goofed Again?
- Look Before You Click

Customer Alleges Xtra Republished Webpages Without Permission


http://www.aardvark.co.nz

Like a growing number of Kiwi net users, Maggie Burnett, (aka Maggiebee), has her own website, hosted at Geocities.

The information on this site attracts a modest, but credible number of visitors and its popularity clearly provides Maggiebee with a measure of satisfaction.

Over the past few years, Maggiebee has invested many long hours of effort in creating and publishing her own unique content through the site.

Maggiebee uses Xtra as her ISP and she told Aardvark that a few years ago they contacted her to discuss the prospect of linking to her site from their own. Flattered, and keen to gather a few more hits, she was happy to have NZ's largest ISP driving traffic to her site.

Since this was seemingly just an "agreement to link", it was not surprising that there was no formal written contract involved. After all, millions of websites all around the world agree to link to one another every day without the need for such paperwork.

However, this is not where the story ends...

It turns out that, somewhere along the line, rather than just linking to her pages, Xtra began copying and republishing Maggiebee's content on its own site in what would appear to be a blatant breach of copyright.

At this stage it should be noted that Maggiebee is not a professional web designer and therefore was not aware that her content was actually being republished rather than simply framed or linked to. It was only recently, when she inspected her server logs and found virtually no referrals from Xtra's site, that she checked up and discovered what she considered to be unauthorised republication taking place.

Aardvark has seen screenshots taken from the Xtra website which clearly show Maggiebee's content being republished as an integral part of Xtra's own pages (with their revenue-earning banner ads) and not simply linked or framed.

UPDATE: Alastair from Scoop has informed me that a cached copy of an infringing Xtra webpage can be found found here. Compare it to this page (Screendump) on Maggiebee's site.

For The Complete Story (including Xtra's attempts at explanation) see…
http://www.aardvark.co.nz/daily/2003/0411.shtml

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