About.com Steals Content, Says Unhappy Penguin
If the New York Times Company has plans to integrate About.com, the information site it blew $410 million on last week, with any of its more “journalistic” online properties, the lawyers and the fact checkers at the NYT are going to need to log some serious overtime.
A recent post at a Linux game site called The Linux Game Tome accuses About.com of wholesale plagiarism of its content. According to the Linux site, “I just came across a feature at linux.about.com called 1000 Linux Games. It’s an exact copy of the Game Tome database, right down to the category names, game descriptions and database field names. Let me repeat this: linux.about.com has taken all of the Linux Game Tome’s content and printed it as its own. There is no mention of the Linux Game Tome, much less an attribution, anywhere on the site.” After a 36-hour lull, About.com finally got back to the angry Linux folks to rectify the situation.
This could be an isolated incident; but what if it’s not? We assume the NYT online edition will make some use of the About.com content. For example, you read a Circuits story about free games on the Internet; it’s logical that you might see some “related links” next to that story which take you to the linux.about.com site. Maybe we’re wrong here and the About.com content will live in its own silo. But if that’s the case, why buy About.com in the first place?
In any event, a digital property under the New York Times Co. umbrella needs to meet the highest of standards. For now, we’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume that NYT Co. learned about these issues in the due diligence phase of its purchase of About.com – and has a plan to clean them up.
Read: About.com steals from Happypenguin.org – [The Linux Game Tome]
View: The Linux Game Tome
For some background on previous About.com legal tiffs, read: About.com That Labor Lawsuit… [Wired News]
Read: The New York Times Company to Acquire About.com; Provides Compelling Strategic Benefits For Future Growth [NYT Company]