Some fool stole several of my posts and reprinted them on his blog. It started with one post and then daily I was noticing he was adding one after the other of my posts on his blog, a total copyright infringement.
The most comical part of this was the fact that his blog is called #1 SEO Consultant, HAH! What a crock!!!!! Any good SEO knows that scrapping content is a lame move, I guess he does not know enough about SEO to write his own guides so he scraps website content from others.
I sent him this email:
This is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of the following posts on your site:
List of Stolen Posts URL's on His Site
at his url is originally from my blog called JR's Internet Marketing Strategies at http://getinternetmarketingstrategies.com. This is original content and I am the author and copyright holder.Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws, and copyright infringement. Please remove the plagiarized material immediately. I expect a response within 3 days to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter.
He responded within 3 hours telling me all my content would be removed and he apologized for the inconvenience.
Content Scrappers, Splogs and Feed Theft
This unfortunately happens time and again. Losers that cannot write their own content will scrap yours and create what are called splogs, blogs full of scrapped content, as well as using it on their websites.
This thief was using a plugin developed by some other dick that actually lets you scrape feeds from other blogs and automatically insert them into your blog, feed theft is rampant on the net and considered copyright infringement. So if you publish a full feed then your whole post just gets injected into any scraper that uses this plug-in.
Some bloggers will republish excerpts of posts with a link back to the original source to continue reading the story and I am okay with this. But to scrape the entire post and republish it can harm the original author's site.
Two Schools of Thought on Content Theft
Some feel it's fine as long as their links are retained within the content and they look at it as getting more backlinks. But, many do not feel that way, and there are harmful effects, especially in cases like mine, where there were several full feed posts stolen and it appeared as if he was the author.
Some Harmful Effects of Content Theft
- No matter how hard Google tries to credit the original source, the theft site can outrank you with your own content.
- It appears as if they are the author of the content and it can damage your reputation, especially with flagship blogs/sites.
- It PISSES you off!
Content theft on the Internet is copyright infringement and just as illegal as violating US copyright laws and we all need to be active in putting a stop to it, if we are passive about it, it only encourages more scrappers to continue stealing our stuff.
Basically how you allow your word to be used is upto you, but be sure to make it clear on your websites and blogs.
Protect your Sites and Blogs: Visible Copyright Notices
1. Website Copyright Protection:
- Warn thieves and cover yourself by displaying the © Year -Site Name - All Rights Reserved notice on your website. Always place it at th e footer and you can also add it at the end of each your inner website pages that have original written content.
- Creative Commons helps you publish your work online while letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work. Choose a license and they provide you with tools and tutorials that let you add license information to your own site. Creative Commons License Options.
2. WordPress Plugins for Copyright DisplaysDisplay Copyright on the Blog
- Creative Commons Configurator Plugin
- Blog Copyright
- Numly Plugin works with the ESN ID (Electronic Serial Numbers) provided by the Electronic Standard Book Number service. This Plugin requests the ESN and adds it to your WordPress blog as an electronic time-stamp for copyright protection.
- © Feed - Very detailed and highly configurable, allows you to add your own message, and has digital fingerprint options.
- Angsuman’s Feed Copyright Plugin - Automatically add copyright message to feeds, fully configurable.
- Simple Feed Copyright
How-To Monitor and Identify Theft
1. Blogs- Watch your trackbacks and Incoming Links. Another reason besides SEO to use internal links on your posts. If the thief left any of your internal links intact within the stolen post, WordPress will send a trackback to your blog, you can find these in your WordPress admin: in comments, on the dashboard - incoming links and often in your spam folder, via a plugin like Akismet Comment SPAM Fighter, which I hope all of you have.
4. Search the search engines - This is the hard way, but can work, just enter you web page title in the format: allintitle:"your title"
5. WordPress Plugins to Identify and Prevent Content Theft
- AntiLeech by Owen Winkler - This one is classic! It does not prevent the splogger bots from accessing your site, instead it produces a fake set of gibberish content especially for them that includes links back to your site and sends it only to them. Since these sploggers never read the content they steal it's perfect. Has lots of options. Use the Website IP finder with this one.
- Digital Fingerprint - Detect Content Theft. Injects “digital fingerprints” into your WordPress post feeds then checks the web for evidence that your blog’s content may be illegally used.
- © Feed - Very detailed and highly configurable and has digital fingerprint options.
When Content is Stolen and Copyright Infringement Occurs
Finding the Contact Info of the Thief
First look to these sources for website owners name and contact information on their site:
- Footer notes
- Email links in the source code, with “mailto”
- Email forms
If none of above exist use these resources to find contact info.
- WHOIS and Reverse IP Search - Provides Hosting Co.
- who.is - Lots of comprehensive and detailed info
Steps to Deal With Copyright Infringement
1. Send Email. Send a firm but polite email to the thief and demand to remove the stolen content and CC their host, like the email I sent above, you can copy it and just insert your information.
2. Contact Their Host. If they do not respond, contact their hosting provider directly and notify them of the copyright violation. Many hosts will close those accounts or work with you to resolve the issues.
3. Cease and Desist. The above usually does the trick, but if you still do not get a response you can start a Cease and Desist Order, that is more official and threatening.
Here are the best sources to learn more about Cease and Desist
- Sample Cease and Desist Letter - Allows you to easily create your own
- Online Policy Group - Cease and Desist
- Wikipedia on Cease and Desist
4. Contact the Search Engines. This is the ultimate step and as per the Digital Millineum Copyright Act, compels search engines and online service providers to work for you to stop the copyright infringement and violation.
Contact Search Engines:
- Yahoo Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy
- Google and DMA
- MSN - How to File Copyright Complaint
- AOL - Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement
Learn more about copyright infringement at Internet and Copyright.