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On use and abuse


Thanks to a reader, I have just noticed that another blog, albeit one now apparently defunct, had used significant chunks of a post of mine unaltered, without attribution and as if the material was theirs.

I’m used to the spam blogs that rip off content in its entirety. These are annoying, but usually short-lived. I’ll aid in shortening their life span where possible. It is a bit different where it is a genuine blog or site taking the material. It is, of course, a breach of copyright, but worse, it is downright rude.

I’ve never actually set out any conditions of use for my material, letting default copyright stand. Until recently, it never occurred to me that the need might arise. But this seemed like a good time to think about it. So…

I am happy for people to quote or otherwise use my material from this blog on condition that:

  1. If it is for non-commercial use, the material is given an attribution and/or link to this blog.
  2. If it is for commercial use, or for use in a paid-for product, permission has been requested and obtained from me.

I’ll put something to this effect in the About page. I doubt there will be that much call for it, though.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Usefully Employed

    Your articles tend to be quite in depth, and quite soon after reported decisions, so it’s not surprising that people look to ‘borrow’ from your posts.

    Luckily mine are much more slap-dash, and unlikely to attract thieves. I utilise this practice with my car, potential twoccers would have to spend much too long shifting the mess in the back to fit in their scally friends.

  2. Geeklawyer

    No one steals my content. I can’t understand why not.

    Is your infringer also using Google ads? It cant be anyone serious about law blogging.

  3. Nearly Legal

    Usefully – it was only the one occasion that I’ve seen. Just made me think some conditions might be worth it for clarity.

    Geeklawyer – nobody steals your content because you are inimitable – who on earth could pass it off as theirs? The infringement I noticed was a one-off on a defunct but apparently serious blog. Not a big deal, just got me thinking about usage was all.

  4. jailhouselawyer

    I am puzzled, if it was a serious blog how come it is now defunct? Are you sure you are not referring to Monty Python and the Dead Parrot sketch?

  5. housinganger

    Blast I’ve been busted ;)

    Would have been a good blog if not for the fact that it was only 2 entries and 1 entry was a cut and paste Nearly Legal job.

  6. Nearly Legal

    Jailhouse – apparently serious in intent, but not in performance ;-)

    Housinganger – :-) No grovelling apology? Ingrate!

  7. lawminx

    AH HAH!! You have someone pretending to be you, too!!! Flattering, but How VERY DARE they! There is only one you!
    Thats another candidate for the Great Chucking Into Middle Temple Fountain On Call Day that I have planned!!!

  8. Nearly Legal

    Sadly the reverse, Minx. Instead of someone pretending to be me, I get someone pretending I’m them. Altogether less flattering :-) The tribute remains yours alone.

  9. Andrew Mills

    You might want to have a look at creative commons for a suitable form of licence that you can readily put on your blog and which works well in the blogging world. I think.

  10. lawminx

    O, I have committed the CARDINAL sin of the putative lawyer – that of failing to grasp the argument!! I should be disbarred even before I START!!! That’ll learn me to read proper wont it?

    How VERY DARE that person even begin to intimiate that you are pretendng to be them! Why ever would a person of your style and sophistication want to pretend to be anyone else?! I will STILL Chuck them in the Fountain outside MT Hall just for such an insinuation, in the sincere hope that the water is FREEZING!

  11. Nearly Legal

    Andrew, I had had a look at the creative commons licenses, but none of them quite fit the bill. I’d generally be happy with the ‘attribution only’ license, but if someone is going to use my stuff in a paid-for outlet, I just want to be able to cast an eye over the useage first. There isn’t a CC license that covers this.

  12. Nick Holmes

    Surely Attribution-Non-Commercial fits the bill

    Per the human-readable summary: Although “You may not use this work for commercial purposes”, “Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.”

  13. Nearly Legal

    Yes, close but not quite. And, to be honest, I was too lazy to modify it. I didn’t want to sound quite so prohibitory.



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