You spend so much time researching a topic, writing it and publishing to your blog. Only to being copy-pasted word for word, without giving any proper credit to you as the original author. I know how that feels. Here I will outline some of the steps you can take to stop the bad guys from stealing your content, and how to take action when you need to bring that down.
Limit RSS Feed Content
Most copy paste jobs are being automated. Usually they setup software which checks blog feed for any relevant articles and grab the whole content with the RSS feed.
Every popular blog provider offers RSS feed for their blogs. In WordPress you can limit your blog feed. So instead of giving away the full feed, you can limit the option by going to Settings > Reading and set it to summary:
The same can be done in blogger. Just go to Settings > Other > Allow Blog Feed, and set it to Short:
This way if some automated bot scraps your content, they will only get the first paragraph of your blog article.
There is a downside to this method and it will hurt your readers. Many of us like to read a blog from various feed readers like feedly and feedburner email subscriptions. If you limit the feed, many won’t be able to read the full content, making it useless to subscribe via feed.
Bonus Tip: If you are using WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast, they put this extra link after each RSS feed.
The same can be set on blogger by going to the same Settings > Other > Post Feed Footer:
So if some bot scraps your feed, it will be posted with the link back to the original source.
Put Watermark in Media
The web is all about stolen content. So everytime you create an original media like a video or photo to post alongside your article, watermark it.
Some YouTube video producers put their branding at the start and the end of their video. This can easily be cut out with video editors (even mobile ones)
So a good way to watermark your video is to put your brand name or site URL at the corner of your video.
Same goes with the photos you take. Use a photo editing software like PhotoScape to watermark your images you have taken exclusively for your blog posts.
When I was working on my other blog, I would take lots of screenshots of various earnings. Many people copy paste these screens and call it their own. So I implemented my branding as the watermark.
Disable Copy Paste Option from Your Blog
Some people will just come to your website and copy paste your stuff manually. To prevent this, WordPress has plugins to disable selecting any text, right clicking, or pressing CTRL+C, CTRL+V buttons.
This hugely prevents people from stealing your content.
I had to implement this plugin on my other blog, because it was filled with people who like to steal content.
I don’t remember which plugin it was, but a quick search gave me this plugin which has many of the features I had.
Implementing the plugin will prevent a lot of online scrappers with the cost of making your site not very user friendly.
I say this because many internet users like to select a portion of text when they read. Many also like to copy and paste the whole article so they can read it in an environment they are comfortable with. This does not mean they are stealing your content, it’s just the way many are used to use the internet.
Checking The Internet for Stolen Content
When browsing the internet, you will often come across your stolen content.
Google image search and reverse search can help you find pages which posted your photos.
Going to that site you can see whether the site owner legitimately mentioned your work or just shamelessly ripped you off.
Often times you get to see incoming links coming from these sites in your Google search console.
If you link back to your older posts from your articles, and these people lazilly kept the links intact, Google will notify you for these newly found links.
Another way to check for stolen content is by searching google with the paragraphs of your blog post in between the quotation marks “ ”
This will reveal any content which is stealing your exact blog articles word for word.
Copyscape is an online service to check for text content plagiarism:
How To Report & Take The Content Down
The first thing you should do with your blog after reading this article is to sign up for a DMCA account and put the DMCA badge on your website.
With DMCA service, you can take down one site for free of cost which is plagiarizing your creative content.
You can also ask Google to remove content.
If you are dealing with blogger/blogspot sites stealing your content, then you can directly contact Google and take these sites down.
I have done this in the past and had great success doing so. Any site or service owned by Google, if you file a complain for stolen content, then they will take it down. It helped me remove multiple sites with articles at once.
Google can’t remove content posted which are hosted by other providers such as WordPress.com. In this case, it would be better to contact WordPress.com instead.
More stuff on this topic:
- Pat Flynn podcasted a technical discussion with his Attorney about DMCA
- The author of GoPetFriendly has some more tips and she is going to sue the thieves
People stealing your content sucks. But if you take proper measures, it can be prevented. At the end, don’t get super obsessed with other people stealing your content. It’s part of publishing to the internet and you can’t take down every last site which hosts your content.
Have you ever had any such experiences? What did you do?