I was disappointed to learn last week that Fountain Pen Network (FPN) has a forum that basically republishes every post of this blog in full, along with many others, alongside that site’s advertising. This blog is not the only one affected: the bloggers at Gentleman Stationer, Gourmet Pens, My Pen Needs Ink, The Pen Addict, and Write To Me Often may be surprised to learn that FPN is also sharing their posts in full.
At least in my case, this was implemented without any contact from FPN and certainly without permission being granted. It means that FPN is able to make a profit from my work, which is particularly galling given that I have not included any advertising on the site and don’t profit in any way from the time and effort put into the blog.
When I emailed the Chief Admin to ask that this be stopped, I was essentially told that it would continue unless I disabled RSS subscriptions or limited the RSS to excerpts of each post. Both of these options were undesirable: I know quite a lot of you subscribe using the RSS feature and, in my experience, reading blogs within my RSS client is far easier than trying to move between client and websites every time I want to read a post. Although it's possible I misinterpreted, the attitude of the email certainly seemed to be saying that FPN would continue republication unless I prevented them from doing so.
This has, unfortunately, meant that I had to have a discussion with my solicitor and, on his advice, have introduced a copyright notice on the sidebar and want to be clear that republishing the content on this page is prohibited without permission. If you want to use a quote or an excerpt (<10% of a post), I don’t mind you doing so without permission. But if you would like to republish more than that (including entire posts) you will need to get in touch with me first. I'm pretty easygoing about this, as long as you let me know beforehand.
I realise that this is the internet and it’s inevitable that content will be copied and distributed around the place, but I find it frustrating that anyone within our community should feel like it is appropriate to profit from other people’s work. FPN have since agreed to stop republishing these posts but it really should not have occurred in the first place.
FPN emailed me last night to say that they have received complaints from a number of other bloggers and have now closed the RSS forum. My thanks to all those who emailed, posted, commented, and shared links to highlight what was going on.