How Do I Prove I Wrote It?
Andy Abramson sent me an out-of-band email about what Om blogged about: Wholesale Blog Plagarism. It looks like everyone got the site knocked offline as of now. But who knows how many other of these sites will pop up in the future? RSS makes it fairly easy to “leech” content and display it on a web page. This is something I do with Feed on Feeds, which I run as a server-side RSS aggregator. I run it on my website under a password-protected directory. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched that a less scrupulous person could pretend they wrote it and take some Adsense revenue from it.
I’ve read some of the blog coverage on this subject, but the question that struck me when I first read it is: how can I prove that I was the one who wrote a particular grouping of words? It’s one thing to send a threatening letter to an ISP telling them that I wrote something and their customer is using it without my permission. It’s quite another to actually go before a judge and prove those words were typed by my hands.
I pondered this question for a bit. Technically speaking, I could use something like PGP to “sign” my blog postings. The theory goes: since I’m the only one who has my private PGP key, anything I “sign” could easily be verified by checking that “signed” message with PGP. Would that hold up in court? Not sure. Even if so, the real question is: is there a reasonable way to implement this? I don’t think so, but there are many people out there far more clever than I.