Google on Wednesday shut down popular blogsite, Linda Ikeji, http://www.lindaikeji.blogspot.com
How It Happened:
Nigeria’s currently most successful blogger, Linda Ikeji, has severally been accused of plagiarism which is defined as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own“. In fact, Linda seems to be mostly guilty of taking content from another source without permission or attribution. Most recently, a certain @MrAyeDee accused her of using tweets and images he posted and using them on her blog without permission or attribution.
Linda’s success is phenomenal. After 8 years of blogging, she has become a poster child for digital success – a self-made woman who rose from rags to riches with the aid of determination and the internet. She recently caused a minor uproar when she celebrated her birthday by posting pictures of her brand new Range Rover . Linda is a bit of a wunderkind in the Nigerian context – a single woman who achieved success without any obvious patronage from the establishment.
Yet, questions continue to trail her operations – one of the most critical being allegations of plagiarism from local and international sites. As we said earlier, the source in question in this case is an individual who tweets under the handle @MrAyeDee about security affairs in Nigeria, especially on the insurgency raging in the North-East of the country.
He told TechCabal that he noticed tweets and pictures being used on Linda Ikeji’s blog from around the end of September. Once he noticed this, he attempted to contact Linda through the email address on her site before using Twitter to reach out to her. He claims that the blog has used his content in between 7-8 stories, but only made DMCA Takedown requests for 3. They have since been taken down. He claims that has not been able to make any direct contact with Linda.
As the controversy raged on Twitter, Uduak Oduok, a US-based lawyer who frequently comments on entertainment issues, revealed that the owner of the domain on @MrAyeDee’s Twitter profile – 15past8.com – also owns LindaIkeji.net, suggesting that the two had a history and that perhaps, Alexander was guilty of domain squatting and perhaps to trying to extort Ms Ikeji.
Our investigation revealed that indeed, the domains were owned by the same person – Emmanuel Efremov. Alexander confirmed that his company – 15 Past 8 Media – had acquired the LindaIkeji.net domain name, but he was not privy to the details of his company’s domain operations. He however insisted that they acquired the domain for Linda and have made no money from it since registration. A search by TechCabal confirmed that the domain has redirected to Linda’s blog practically since registration.
In defence of its action, Google’s Manager for Communications and Public Affairs, Anglo-Phone West Africa, Taiwo Kolade-Ogunlade explained why they had to suspend Linda Ikeji’s blog:
He said Google takes the issue of copyright seriously, adding that the company belongs to a group of Internet firms that abides by the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable copyright laws.
“To respect the rights of copyright holders, Google clearly spells out how users of its products and services can get permission to use someone else’s intellectual property such as text, songs, images and footages. Google is no respecter of anybody when it came to the issues of copyright infringement, copyright is a big deal.
“Google as an organisation takes issues of copyright seriously and belongs to a group of digital companies that respect copyrights.
“Copyright is a big deal and this is why you can’t just go and pick up another person’s intellectual property or content and lay claim to its ownership.
“That is why we have copyright guidance. I don’t know if Linda picked up any content and I don’t know what content is the bone of contention-neither have I looked into the complaints personally.
“But it is not a case of witch-hunting and has nothing to do with Linda Ikeji’s personality or anyone else because there is a process, and irrespective of who you are in the world, that process would apply to you.
“It has become imperative for online entrepreneurs to respect the rights of copyright holders noting that the Internet community should be built on mutual trust and general respect.
“Let’s respect other people’s rights and intellectual property. Making money off other people’s content without permission is wrong. Although the Internet is inanimate, it is the content on it that gives it life. These are the issues.
“Whenever owners of online contents come after you accusing you of using their content, it is because they have families to feed and businesses to sustain.
“People should also understand that copyrights does not only apply to text, but also extends to literary works, images and photographs, music files and MP3s, movies, movie trailers and videos as well as software,” Kolade-Ogunlade explained to Punch.