Website content

Letter: Has website content been misappropriated? | Letters to the Editor

It’s no surprise that an opposition candidate turns to the Charlestown Citizens Alliance for campaign ideas and website content. What is surprising is the willingness of Deb Carney’s group to shamelessly steal all content, word for word, from the CCA website.

The opposition now copies the content of the messages and publishes this content on its website. The messages have the same title, the same words, the same bold, the same bullets, the same colors and the same hyperlinks as the messages they copy contain.

We published, on October 2, an article on Charlestown’s garbage collection day. We used a post that we created in 2019, a post that we update for each litter pick-up day. On October 6, an exact copy of our article, including the title of the article, appeared on the Charlestown Residents United website. The banner image was changed to highlight one of their contestants, Deb Carney, and a line of text that thanked Warren Schwartz for all his hard work in organizing these events each year was removed. Not only did they take the content without attribution, but they also deliberately took credit away from the person most responsible for regular trash pick-up days.

Another message advising to wear fluorescent orange during hunting season was copied along with the image of the message. In this post, the only change was to drop a line that recommended URE Outfitters in Hope Valley as a place that wears the correct orange color required during hunting season. I have no idea what they might have against URE Outfitters. This is an article that we have been using on our website since 2015 and that we update every year.

Although most of the content in these posts has already been created by us, it can take hours to research and find new information and updates. It only takes a few seconds for Ms. Carney’s group to steal the content. Other posts have been copied and content used in this manner in the last month alone. Of their last 10 posts, 4 were copied directly from the CCA website.

Every page of the CCA website is copyrighted. The copied posts are informative, and while it’s hard to write about these events without using similar information, a simple copy-and-paste of an entire post is a steal of others’ efforts. Besides getting easy content, other goals may be to interfere with search engine optimization for the CCA site and perhaps, more cynically, to confuse voters. The same group has in the past copied the CCA platform, our Election Day materials, our voting panel, and our mailers’ phrases. Even their name, “Charlestown Residents United”, was to be confused with “Charlestown Citizens Alliance”.

Having the same content and branding leaves voters with the impression that there is very little difference between the two groups, when in fact there is a world of difference.

Vanover Cliff