The founder of community page network has apologised for "any upset" caused to bloggers after feeds of their content were used on his site.

Roifield Brown told that the site started to look at local content from bloggers, councillors and MPs at the end of 2009.

According to Brown, MyVillage had taken feeds from "maybe" around 100 bloggers and 200 local politicians, using "what we thought to be acceptable".

" ... that being the first 200 HTML characters with a clear original source link and a link after the end of the 'clip' of the article for the reader to read the rest of the content on the original site," he added.

But Ed Walker, founder of Blog Preston, took issue with the way that MyVillage was linking to original content on his site.

"We wouldn't have minded if the way the links were portrayed went straight to Blog Preston, and it was made clear where the content came from, but clicking on a headline takes you to another MyVillage page which then offers an opportunity to 'Read more' and takes you to the Blog Preston article.

"Considering MyVillage produces little original content it seems poor of them to piggy-back on the content not just of traditional media outlets but also new media start-ups and hyperlocal blogs."

Walker said he first contacted a representative from MyVillage in December to "clarify their use of our content".

"We received a response earlier this month saying they had tried to contact us and would stop pulling in an RSS feed from our site," Walker told

"However, this has not been the case. We never received any communication from MyVillage, apart from when we recently contacted them.

Another blogger who complained about the use of his content was Chris Underwood from Shepherds Bush blog.

"I and others like me blog for many reasons, in part to fill a void where the local press either don't exist or fail to reach the local issues of our communities or just because we have something to say about a particular issue," he told

"But whatever the driving motive we do not do it in order to finance commercial sites like MyVillage who produce no original content of their own for the areas they claim to cover but seek to generate advertising income for themselves on the back of voluntary citizen writers.

"The backlash that has started among bloggers, embarrassing sites like MyVillage into removing their content stealing feeds, is a positive step and one which is long overdue."

Speaking to, Brown admitted there had been a delay when some bloggers had asked for content to be removed.

"I hold my hands up that when some bloggers have asked for content to be taken down over the past year, it has not been taken down promptly and that is my fault.

" is actually a much smaller business than it appears in terms of staff and some emails from bloggers requesting that their content stop being taken went to old email addresses of staff who had left the company. I was unaware that the emails had been sent, so the requests from bloggers unfortunately were not dealt with.

"However, I think when we have taken parts of content from another site it is pretty clear: the source is shown, there is a link to the rest of the post and there is a date. We do not claim to have originated the content at all."

He said so far seven bloggers have complained and the site has "promptly dealt with removing their feeds".

"We like local, we like people's local opinions and we apologise if we have upset anyone as this was not our intent," he added.

UPDATE. The MyVillage network was bought by The Publishing Group in early January. Group CEO Ramesh Sharma issued a statement today over the site's republishing of content:

"We were completely unaware of the issue at that time – in fact we only discovered it this week.

"As a well-respected publisher we obviously do not condone taking content from any website or magazine that we do not own or generate. We would not be happy if another company took our content so we completely understand the feedback.

"We have taken action to remove all blogs used on the site without the bloggers' permission. In future all content up on the sites will either be generated by our staff or commissioned for use.

"We apologise to anyone who has been adversely affected by this and will endeavour to ensure that this does not happen again."

Additional reporting by Alice Vincent.

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