It can happen to the best of us, usually a surprise, and often undetected – people online publishing your blog content like it was their own.
It’s an incredibly disappointing and frustrating experience – one that listener Grant has recently discovered. He asks:
“I just discovered another blog is republishing my content in full on their site. They seem to be scraping every post using my RSS feed. Can I stop them and is it worth my time to do that?”
Unfortunately the reality is that scraping sites are very difficult to bring to account, and often can’t even be contacted.
If it is another person taking your content and posting without permission, it is a good idea to reach out to them and ask for the content to be credited to you with a link to your blog, or removed completely. Some bloggers really do misunderstand and do it with no malice, but others might not be quite so innocent. You are well within your rights to ask them to do the right thing.
Copyright law is straightforward (you own any content you produce from the moment of creation) but is often misunderstood or ignored. It is not a requirement to put a copyright disclaimer on your blog (perhaps informing people they need to seek permission before using your content) but it doesn’t hurt to have an obvious reminder.
Duplicate content was also worrying in the past as Google frowned upon it, and it was upsetting to think that you would be penalised for issues that were out of your hands. Fortunately Google has gotten better over the years at understanding who the original author of a piece of content is, and I have stopped trying to chase down all the sites that steal mine.
Now, I just do a couple of things to identify that the content is mine when it is being scraped.
- I include links to other posts in my blog
- I include a link back to my blog in the footer of my RSS feed
Sometimes though, the thieves go one step further and strip out the links as well as not crediting the source – so I will go after them and at least try to get the content taken down.
In today’s ProBlogger podcast episode I outline seven ways you can outwit and outsmart the content thieves that take your hard-earned work and publish it like it’s their own. Everything from what to do when you first find out and how to check who the site is registered to, to contacting and legal action. Knowledge is power!