February 7, 2000
7:52 PM   Subscribe

Personal rant time: I wrote my own resume a while ago, and have been building onto it for a couple years now. To me, it is copyrighted material, just as anything else I write. So why is it showing up in all sorts of resume databases? I'm getting calls from recruiters saying they got it from Aquent, Passport Access, and various other resume sites. These sites seem to be sucking down resumes, putting them on their site, and making money off them. I can't see my own resume, since I haven't paid to look at it. I find PassportAccess to be especially annoying: they offer an opt-out page. What the hell? Why should I even have to do this? It's my resume, not theirs!
posted by mathowie (13 comments total)
i'm right there with you. i was receiving tons of calls over the last 3 or 4 weeks. couldn't figure out why. until one of them said they'd found my resume on passport access. i told them to pull it, and have only heard from 1 since then. i was seriously pissed too!
posted by brig at 7:54 PM on February 7, 2000

from a passportaccess press release: "...new Internet Spy ("I-SPY") technology which hunts for technical resumes on the Internet backbone 24 hours per day, seven days a week. This new technology automatically digs deep into Internet layers to find resumes that are not posted on the major job boards and cannot be easily found using Internet directories."

oh joy. this is sorta like those great programs that hunt the usenet newsgroups to find those seldomly spammed email addresses...
posted by mmanning at 9:24 PM on February 7, 2000

Here's what I put in the comments area of the opt-out page:
I find your company and its I-SPY bot to be a disgusting misuse of the web. You're making money off *my* resume, something I *never* explicitly gave you permission to do. Your company makes me sick. I'm getting calls and emails everyday now and they say they got my resume from here. Now I'm going to have to put a copyright disclaimer on my own resume, so this doesn't happen again. Where do you guys get off thinking you can build a database of resumes you've pilfered off the web and reap monetary rewards off it? You have *no* right to do what you're doing. *No* right.
posted by mathowie at 9:46 PM on February 7, 2000

Let's face it, it's just another example of corporate greed feeding off the net, these people are at about the same evolutionary level as spammers.
Unfortunately however self policing a medium is, and I believe the internet to be an extremely good example, there will always be unscrupulous people who sieze any opportunity to make money from the unsuspecting. It's a sad day when you have to resort to putting a copyright disclaimer on something as personal as your own resume.
posted by Markb at 3:26 AM on February 8, 2000

On Matt's note about copyrighted material...

Anyone wanna sue? =)

posted by mikewas at 5:19 AM on February 8, 2000

I just might fling a lawsuit Aquent's way.

I'm in the same boat, and I'm wondering if I should consider suing. Every page on my Web site is tagged with a copyright notice at the bottom.

If these companies were sucking down copyrighted content from a company like CNN or ZDNet, they would be drowning in legal bills. Why should what I have online be any different?

I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt that these companies qualify for fair use/non-profit reprinting rights of my original content.

They're copyright violators, plain and simple.
posted by antc at 11:48 AM on February 8, 2000

just got another one. geowebinteractive.com somehow harvested my resume. i just got an email saying they'd found my resume there. so i sent one to them threatening a lawsuit if they didn't remove it immediately. i am so pissed.
posted by brig at 11:51 AM on February 8, 2000

Anyone who is concerned about this, should seriously consider putting a copyright notice IN THE TEXT OF YOUR RESUME, so that when a 'bot harvests it and a third party posts it, they are on notice of your claim.

Then watch them backpedal later.
posted by mikewas at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2000

Any idea what the USER_AGENT string on these spiders? Might be interesting to disallow them from resume/cv pages.
posted by artlung at 11:09 PM on February 8, 2000

What would happen if you put your resume under the
GPL? Then anyone who distributed your resume would have to give away free everything they have (?)
posted by curmudgeon at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2000

Someone asked me if these resume sites were providing links to my resume, or copies of my resume on their site.

I changed the contact phone number on my personal resume back in December, and the recruiter that used PassportAccess contacted me at my old number a few days ago. That would lead me to assume they were storing an old copy of my resume. That would mean that they actually have a copy of resume, taken from my site.
posted by mathowie at 4:58 PM on February 9, 2000

So, here is the text of the email that I sent to Larry. I am only dealing with Passport Access on this one; someone else can deal with Aquent.



Thank you for hearing me out on the phone today. I wanted to follow up with this email, explaining how it is that your company is violating *major* laws and copyright statutes with the I-Spy Technology, and specifically, that there is absolutely no requirement for a copyright symbol or registration of copyright for a work to be copyrighted -- thus, the mere act of you selling that resume to a client of yours is a violation of U.S. Copyright code, and punishable as such.

So, my basic complaint: Passport Access, by using a webcrawler to search out resumes that have not specifically been entered into their database and entering them, is violating a MAJOR tenet of United States copyright law. Every one of those resumes is protected by copyright, and each time you sell one to a client, you are committing a Federal offense. And the

Here are two specific, on-point references to copyright law in this situation, and one good reference for you:

How to Secure Copyright, from the US Copyright Office:
Explains that copyright is affixed to a work automatically upon creation; no notification or registration is required.

Copyright Infringement in Cyberspace:
Explains particular appliations of copyright law on the Internet

Chapter 5 of the U.S. Copyright Code:
Explains the specifics of copyright infringement, including penalties. Note that, according to the law, what you are doing is both a Federal civil and a Federal *criminal* offense (see section 506a); that you could have every hard disk and computer that could store the infringed material impounded by Federal marshalls (sections 503, 509); that you could be fined up $100,000 *per violation* (section 504(c)(1)); and that you will be responsible for all civil action legal fees incurred by each person who sues (section 505).

Note that the $100,000 maximum fine is contingent on committing the infringement knowingly; this email takes care of any argument to the contrary.

Please pass this on to the people who you claim would be able to handle this matter. I expect a reply from you; this is a very serious matter.

Thank you in advance.

Jason Levine
Queso Technologies

posted by delfuego at 3:07 PM on February 11, 2000

Thanks for posting this Jason, and for contacting Larry and getting back to us here. I'll be sending out an email to him later today, and I'm working on an article about it for a publication with a much bigger audience than this site.

So they are in fact keeping copies of resumes on their own site? That was something I could never get them to admit.

(by the way, got a call from a recruiter today that had a new copy of my resume emailed to him last week, and claims that I sent the resume to him as an attachment)
posted by mathowie at 3:29 PM on February 11, 2000

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