The title of this blog post summarizes the problem I am facing. A couple of Brazilian official tourism sites have been making unauthorized use of the content of my De viaje a Brasil travel blog (the Spanish counterpart of this Brazil Travel Blog). For quite some time. I am publishing this blog post in the hope that you will be kind enough to circulate the story.
In September 2009, the first time I discovered my content was being copied without authorization, I published (in Spanish) an open letter to Embratur (Embratur being the government agency responsible for the promotion of Brazil as a tourist destination abroad). I was then contacted by the parties involved and received an apology along with a few unfulfilled promises (respuesta de Descubra Brasil y la Embratur).
Present time, January 2011. A new leaflet with advice for foreign tourists and published by the Brazilian Embassy once again makes unauthorized use of my blog’s resources (web del gobierno brasileño vuelve a copiar información de este blog).
Being copied is a form of flattery. Even more so if you consider the agencies copying content from my blog have at their disposal the vast resources of the Brazilian Ministry for Tourism. But flattery shouldn’t be interpreted as a free-for-all policy where you do as you please with regard to copyright laws. Even more so when the culprit is a government agency.
I don’t know if you know of any other country where institutional travel information is being sourced from independent travel blogs – in an unauthorized manner and with scant regard for the blogger’s rights. Most of us travel bloggers work with scarce resources and no financial backing whatsoever. And yet with minimum resources we manage to produce useful information.
I feel I shouldn’t let it go. One thing is having your blog content stolen by scrappers. A completely different thing is having the authority copying and pasting from you.
A few weeks have gone by and so far I haven’t heard a single word from the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism.