Some of us may have encountered instances where your content has been taken from you without your consent. Some may copy your content wholesale to be pasted onto their website, others may reproduce some parts of your content without giving you the proper credit. Whatever it is, this is considered stealing and it should not happen. Content producers take hours of research and re-drafts to come up with their content and it is disheartening to know that there are people who steal others’ content, denying them of their credit, hard work or even potential revenue. You own the content and the rights to the content. In this article, I am going to show you how to protect your blog from content theft and what to do if it happened to you.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice. This blog post is written in the context of a blogger sharing her research with her readers.
How can You make my Blog Secure
1. Ensure these Pages are Present on your Blog
Terms and Conditions
It is a good practice to include the legal pages before you start creating content for your blog. They should be part of the ‘skeleton’ framework of your blog. These policies and disclosures on your blog clearly sets the ground rules for you and any visitors to your website. The disclaimer/ disclosures page informs your readers what they should know when they are interacting with your website, such as the Do’s and Don’ts or the data collection/ cookie tracking that is taking place. Having these policies set in place on your blog might help you to make a stronger case in case of future disputes in the future.
Resources for creating these pages:
2. Create a Reposting Permission Policy
To make things simple for your readers who might want to repost your content, you can come up with a Permission to Repost policy for your readers to adhere to.
A sample policy can be:
You are not allowed to reproduce any part of the content on (blog name) unless you have received explicit consent from me.
3. Check Linkbacks
Run a link checker tool every now and then to see if those linkbanks have been given explicit consent.
I have found this comprehensivewhich shows how to check for backlinks on Google Search Console.
4. Utilise Plagiarism tool – Copyscape
Copyscape is a useful tool that checks for plagiarism for free. Do note that there is a limit on the frequency that you can use this tool for free of charge. There are premium versions available. Input your website’s address to check for any sign of plagiarism.
5. Set up Google Alerts
Another way to check if your content is potentially stolen is to set up Google Alerts for relevant key phrases such as your blog’s name, titles of the articles you have published et cetera. Google will send you the notifications for as long as you keep the alert turned on. This is a good way to keep track of any unauthorised re-posts of your blog on an ongoing basis.
6. Utitise WordPress Plugins
If you are a WordPress user, there are some good plugins that you can use for your blog. A good one that I use is WP Content Copy Creation, this plugin works by deactivating the copy and right-click function on your website. This may discourage content thieves by making it harder for people to steal your content. However, this does not stop people from taking screenshots of your content or typing out your content.
What Happens if your Content is Stolen
1. Contact the Owner of the Website
The first step to take if you find out that your content has been stolen is to contact the owner and inform him/ her to remove the content immediately. If the person is non-responsive or does not comply, move on to the next step.
File a notice with Google and request that they remove the content that has been posted without your consent. Based on my personal experience, Google took about a week to start responding to my case. Whilst the eventual outcome was not what I would like to be, their turn around time was swift once they started working on my case.
I hope you find this article useful. Do comment what you think of these tips and share with your friends to spread the word and keep our intellectual property safe.