Is The Bookish Owl the Worst Web Site Ever?

Is The Bookish Owl the Worst Web Site Ever?

Well, no. Probably not. But it is currently the most personally irritating.

I recently discovered that the site’s admin is reprinting Black Gate material without our permission, and frequently without byline. The site isn’t merely quoting from us, or summarizing, or pointing interested readers here, which we appreciate and encourage, they are copying and pasting our complete articles onto their own web site. We’re not alone — they’re apparently doing this with a lot of other fantasy and science fiction web sites as well.

My first hope was that this plagiarism was some sort of amateurish mistake, and it may still be. Some people, even some literate, intelligent people, might not understand what’s wrong about taking someone else’s work without credit.

Upon digging further,  I realized that there is NO WAY to contact anyone involved in the site. No contact information for the administrator is listed anywhere on the pages of The Bookish Owl. I filled out a comments page and submitted it, but my comments were ignored. I tracked down to whom the site was registered (a company) only to discover that the company’s web site has not been updated since 2008 and that their voice mailbox is full. Their e-mail address bounces.

I can only conclude that theirs is a deliberate attempt to steal the work of others to boost traffic to their own site. As their admin seems to regularly cut and paste material from this site, perhaps he or she will read this note and realize their error, and correct it with an apology, in which case all will be well. Or perhaps it will simply reappear automatically at The Bookish Owl with the headline above and I’ll have a chuckle before I track down all the others from whom The Bookish Owl is stealing material and together we will contemplate appropriate action.

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You know, they haven’t actually saved their own copies of the article images: you can change your pictures here and the changes will show up over there. (Such is my understanding.)
For example, if you replace your ‘worms-of-the-earth-216×350.jpg’ image with something unpleasant (use your imagination), it will show up as such on the Bookish Owl website. You’ll just have to amend the articles on this site to include *copies* of the original pictures: i.e: ‘worms-of-the-earth-216×350-copy.jpg’, so the visitors to this website see the original.

If you’re not feeling very vindictive, you can maybe replace the images with large bold text, saying something like ‘Content (C) 2010 Black Gate Magazine:

Hope this helps.


It looks like the whole thing is a zombie site–I’d be surprised if the admin was actually cutting and pasting anything, and didn’t just have some kind of script that automatically filled out his posts with posts from somewhere else. Probably to bait those guys that pay money to discreetly insert a link into high-traffic sites.

C.S.E. Cooney

Wow. I’d noticed the pingback from Bookish Owl and had no idea what it meant, only that our bylines for SURE weren’t showing up. Jeez.


Well, I’ll take your word for it… Don’t feel like looking it up, zombie sites often have malware installers.

But if they are even linking the images, I agree 110% with Cephalophore’s idea. Goat Se dot CX, Rotten dot Com, Tub-girl…

Any way to trace the host?

Like you really have time for all that labor. Sorry to hear of this Howard.


On the assumption this is – the address reads as hosted by The Planet, and the address for abuse emails is abuse at Write to them, tell them they are hosting a site breaching your copyright and ask them to switch off the site.

Ryan Harvey

They just swiped (yesterday) the “Gods and Monsters” post two above this, so they are still at it. And since they haven’t take this post and used it, whoever is running the site is making 1) deliberate decisions, and 2) knows that Black Gate objects to this.

I would have at first agreed with Howard’s initial assumption that this was ignorance. Some people don’t understand the idea of how “intellectual property” operates and may assume that the Internet is an open claim.

But, no. This is a directed effort. They heisted my whole report on WFC without any credit to me.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x