Web content theft is a growing problem among bloggers. You think you’re trying to share information and put effort into constructing a post and sharing it across your social network such as Twitter, Facebook or social forums. And then someone comes along, is either a forum lurker or a blog lurker, and will steal plagiarize your ideas and words.
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as
… the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
Having grown up with a strong work ethic, I put a lot of effort into my blog posts. As a librarian wannabe, I enjoy sharing content and information with my readers.
Blog Content Theft
Sharing information through blog posts, and having my word-for-word content and photos ripped off by another blogger – are two different things.
My well researched content, along with all my SEO efforts, and photos that I have researched for visual eye-appeal, have recently been stolen from me. Three times, actually, within the last two months.
I discovered that my About Me page had been plagiarized, right down to the tag lines “Been Around the Block” and disclaimer “straight shooter, I don’t mince words” that I’ve been using since 2007.
Most recently, the other night I received a comment that a new reader, also calling herself a WAHM mom “blogger,” had used my Social Bookmarking post on her website because she thought it was so great.
Now, I figured she’d reference it, and point her readers to MY site for the full content. But NO, she scraped my entire whole post and images and there it was in it’s glory, on her site.
Needless to say, I immediately issued a cease and desist order. This is the response I received back via email:
I had other people “welcome” my reposting of their posts. I thought trackbacks and pingbacks were a good thing. NO ONE even mentioned anything about it EVER being a “bad” thing. It had previously always been taken as a compliment that someone would think enough of what they wrote to want to reuse it.
WTF? If I wanted my articles republished in their entirety and recirculated like that, I’d submit them to an article directory.
What baffles me though, is that in a recent post, this mom blogger says she’s a college graduate. I’m asking myself, how did she ever make it through college writing a paper on her own?
I’ve also seen so many versions of my post, Alexa Toolbar Benefits For Bloggers around that it isn’t funny. Ive been promoting that post like crazy on Twitter, Facebook and forums, for everyone’s benefit. Now what’s the matter with saying, “I read it on so and so’s blog,” link to it, and then give your take on it?
It’s called a Hat Tip. As in, Hat Tip to: Insert Name Here and then link juice. Nothing’s wrong with paying it forward and giving a backlink.
I follow many authoritative expert probloggers who have been at this much longer than I have. Among them, Lorelle On WordPress offers several thoughts on content theft, a term which can be credited to her, and which are well worth reading.
If you Self-Host on WordPress your cpanel will allow you to ban a reader’s IP address. As soon as I discover that my content has been stolen, I ban that reader’s IP address.
Find out how you can ban an IP address from visiting your Blogger blog.
Another tactic to fend of scraping of your blog posts that you can employ is to add a simple wordpress plugin that will let you add an extra line of content to articles in your RSS feed footer, defaulting to “Post from:” and then a link back to your blog, with your blog’s name as it’s anchor text, which you can edit.
One other thing – did you know you can purchase credits on CommentLuv and have a particular post never fall off your drop-down screen? Guess what, I’ve added this post to my list of static comments.
Lastly, here’s an article about what to do about content stealers that might also guide you along should you happen to receive a “compliment” and become the victim of content copyright or image theft.
Heads-Up I also don’t hesitate to call someone out about it. Would you “Welcome” such a “Compliment” ?
© C. Matthews 2010
Caught! What To Do About Content Stealers
By: S McIntyre
First and foremost anything you write, draw, paint and photograph is protected by copyright laws and it is known as intellectual property.
I think one time or another each of us have had something stolen from us. I, for one know I have had ad copies, blog post, contest ideas and even a portion of my home page’s content stolen from me. Certainly it’s not a good feeling and it’s not a considered a compliment or flattery in any way, shape or form! It’s pathetic and downright wrong on so many levels.
Do they think they can get away with it? Do they think it’s okay? Just because it’s on the Internet it doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. To understand copyright laws, visit http://www.copyright.gov/
What can you do when you find your content taken without your permission?
When they steal an ad copy, ask them to remove it. Report it to the website administrator where you found your stolen work. Most administrators will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.
When they steal an article, let them know you are the original author and ask them to credit the work with your resource box or have them remove the plagiarized work immediately.
When they steal your website’s content, notify them via email with a cease and desist order. You can Google for a sample of a cease and desist order letter. If they fail to respond or fail to remove the copied content within the timeframe you presented, contact their web hosting company and let them know of the situation. You can also contact their advertisers and let them know their ads are shown on a site containing copied/stolen content. If all fails, it’s time to report the offending site to Google and other search engines.
To prove you are the owner of the stolen work start searching through Google and screen capture the results from a cached file. You can use screen capturing software or use the “Print Screen” key on your keyboard and then copy it to Paint.
Let it be known, people who resort to these tactics really don’t belong online. Their lack of credibility and integrity will not get them far and they will fail.