The Internet goes through its fads and preoccupations just like everyone else, and going by a recent edition of Larry King on CNN, charging Web blog writers with shameless copyright ripoffs is all the rage today. What’s set this all off was last year’s declaration by the Associated Press that it intended to prosecute any blog that filled its pages with quotes from any of its news services reports, unless it was paid. There is a certain blogo-speak associated with the things people do to keep their blog pages filled. An aggregator for example, is someone like Technorati: they publish short excerpts of interesting articles, and put out the original headlines. A splogger is a lowlife who is restrained by no scruple in knocking off content from other blogs or websites, and taking on advertising for it too. Some of them are called link blogs. They do the same kind of ripping off, except that they don’t profit from it by selling advertising. They have P2P in blogging too, after all.

But just as music and movie piracy is staunchly defended by those who enable it, the torrent trackers or (the former) Napster for example, bloggers who get by on a little plagiarism defend their actions. This is shaping up to be a fight just the way it is in entertainment. Google for blog plagiarism, and you’ll come up with all kinds of blogs that discuss this, and that offer strategies to battle it. Plagiarism software like CopyScape exists to find out all instances of plagiarism out there. Once you find them, one potential way out is to block access to your blog based on information found on server logs. Some people just directly contact the plagiarists and try to shame them into desisting from such activity. Google personally hates duplicate content, and is on your side too; you could report them to Google as in violation of AdSense regulations.

Legal action usually is a last resort, because most blogs don’t make enough money to justify the expense. But it is believed that plagiarism is a passing phase on the Internet. As the Internet culture matures and settles, the quick buck artists will inevitably fade away