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Summary:

Last week there was a fracas about Yahoo launching a Digg-inspired features, upsetting Digg users. Now it seems the online media giant has upset another bunch, who are alleging plagiarism . Yahoo recently launched a Malayalam language portal, and the content features blog posts from various […]

Last week there was a fracas about Yahoo launching a Digg-inspired features, upsetting Digg users. Now it seems the online media giant has upset another bunch, who are alleging plagiarism .

Yahoo recently launched a Malayalam language portal, and the content features blog posts from various blogs by Malayalam language bloggers. Santhosh Pillai wrote to us and said,

“Recently Yahoo! India launched a Malayalam Language Portal (along with other Indian languages), but they copied content from many Malayalam bloggers which were protected under Creative Common Licensing. None of the bloggers were contacted and it was a rude shock to us that giants like Yahoo! would do this.”

A detailed report outlining what happened is available here. The group has been trying to get the problem resolved but they seem be getting bounced from Yahoo Corporate to Yahoo India and around and around. However, Yahoo may not be to blame. The problem may lie with Webdunia, which is a content provider to Yahoo, and might actually have been the one to crawl and scrape the content off these blogs.

By Om Malik

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  1. Is this not what they are planning on doing with all their portals? I thought I read they were already doing this with a gaming portal…

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  2. Why didn’t they contact Yahoo first, rather than have a hissy fit in a blog? It may have been a simple oversight. Depending on the version of the Creative Common license, this may be allowed, so it could have been a misinterpretation.

    At any rate, recipes cannot be copyrighted, at least under U.S. law (photos can, which they changed; large compliations are copyrightable as compilations). In most cases, you don’t even have to change the wording. Recipes need to be patented to receive protection. The reason why specific wording is not protected in cases like this is the reasoning that since a process needs to be patented, not copyrighted, if specific wording were protected, eventually all the non-trivial variations of the recipe would be owned by someone, and there would be a de facto multi-owner monopoly of something that does not qualify for monopoly protection short of a receiving a patent.

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  3. yes, i agree. if the CIA, say, overthrows the government of Chile, it’s not the US government that is responsible. got it.

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  4. Indian bloggers Mad at Yahoo…

    posted at IndianBytes.c…

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  5. AllSaidAndDone Monday, February 19, 2007

    It is the writers of the blogs who will decide who copies it or not…not you stephie

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  6. Indian bloggers mad at Yahoo !!

    I am glad this new item did not read ” Indians mad at Yahoo”

    So much so for sensation and pulling in readers !

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  7. @ whats on -

    word. :)

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  8. Recipes are not copyrighted. You can list only the ingredients. But you CANNOT copy something like:

    “I was trying to make this recipe in my kitchen and then I saw a cat and a mouse and then I turned back to make the curry again” – You cannot copy the way or the instructions written and post it on your portal word by word. That is copyright violation

    If recipes are not copyrighted as Steve says, then why don’t we all copy from Yahoo’s recipes collection and also from some cookbooks?

    Of course Indian bloggers are mad at Yahoo whatson. There are protests posts on lot of Indian blogs.

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  9. Yahoo was contacted Steve, please read the entire news before coming into a hasty conlcusion!

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  10. The content has been taken down, as nearly as I can tell, and Webdunia has apologized for the plagiarism if I understand the posts on the linked blog correctly. It seems to me that the bloggers’ insistence that Yahoo itself apologize for what it probably a subsidiary’s error.
    This kind of error seems fairly common with blog start ups, actually, since a few searches on the net give a lot of results for this. New blogs need content for their sites, quickly, and they usually hire out independent contractors to generate a couple of thousand posts in a few days. Only by having content can they hope to get genuine user-generated content, and some of those freelancers are less than entirely honest, and so the bad decisions by a freelance writer who works for less than a dollar blog posting and who doesn’t care about professionalism reflects poorly on a large company like Yahoo!
    I’d say that it has been dealt with appropriately and that the plagiarized bloggers really can’t hope to get any kind of renumeration out of it (how do you prove that you suffered financial loss from this? How much?) strikes me a somewhat grasping.

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