They’re out there, the thieves and the plagiarists.
If you live in fear having your content stolen and pasted somewhere else on the web, then here’s what to do.
1. Establish Google Authorship
2. Use Copyscape.com
Copyscape is a site where you can type in your URL, or paste your text content, to check if anybody has published the same (or very similar) content to yours. They have a free service, which allows you a limited number of checks to see if anyone has lifted your writing onto their own site. Check out their intro video for more information:
3. Set up Google Alerts when you publish content
You can also use Google Alerts to keep an eye on your published content. If you don’t already have an account with Google, set one up here and then log into your account. (Then follow the GA instructions to create an alert.)
Ideally your alert should be the title of your article in quotation marks, for example “Top 10 Tips for Easier Travel Blogging”. But you should also set up a few other alerts that are variations on your title or combinations of your main keywords. Many copycats only rearrange your title names instead of thinking of a completely different title to yours. Entering a few different word combinations that mimic your original title will give you a wider net to catch any thieves.
4. Look for copied content on Google
You can also check for copies of your work manually on Google, by cutting and pasting a section of your content into a Google search box. If matching stuff comes up on other sites, then you’ll know it’s been stolen.
5. Photo attribution
If you post original photographs or graphics, then be sure to name yourself as the source. When you upload an image onto a site, many blog templates and website photo upload windows offer fields where you can enter the photo’s caption or title, description, location and sometimes, a licensing box. It is in the latter, where you should add your name or your company name as the image source. Alternatively, you can also mention your ownership in the photo caption, or in the blog post, article, web page where your photo is published. You can also use a photo watermark.
It goes without saying that if you are using someone else’s photograph or image, you also give them credit, even if the photo is from a free stock photo site. (When using royalty free stock photos, always read the Terms & Conditions carefully to understand the extent of the license – many ‘free’ stock photographs only allow non-commercial use).
6. Traffic analysis
Check your blog’s or website’s traffic analysis. If you see a sharp increase in traffic from one particular site, visit them. They might have been visiting you just to copy your content and paste it onto their own pages.
7. Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin
If you’re using a WordPress.org site, then you can install this plugin. Apart from many other invaluable features, WordPress SEO lets you add code to your RSS feed, resulting in a link being inserted in any of your content that is published elsewhere online. This link will then point back to your website. We all know the value of link backs to our sites. These links, however, are not of high value. But hey, at least they’re there.
8. Creative Commons
If you do want to let people share and republish your work, as long as they give you credit as the author and don’t profit from your intellectual property, free Creative Commons licenses are a good option. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation. CC licenses and badges let you protect your authorship, yet share it at the same time. Check out their introductory page and video here to find out about their licenses and how they work.
9. Sign up with DMCA
DMCA is “the global leader in DMCA Copyright Infringement Takedowns”. Takedown meaning literally that: if someone has copied your stuff, they’ll take it down.
If you register with DMCA, you get their free service that includes a free DMCA badge to put on your web pages.
You can also add a badge to other content, like media. You’ll also get 1 free takedown per year, monitoring of your DMCA badges through their portal, plus a few other bits and bobs including a discount on their professional service.
If you need more than one takedown, you can do it using DMCA’s DIY method at about $10/month or pay them to do it professionally, starting at $199.
10. Help protect other writers
Keep an eye out for plagiarized content that looks or reads the same as a fellow creative’s work. Advise them, if you think their work has been plagiarized.
What to do if your content has been stolen?
Check out this excellent article on SEOSandwitch.com to find out how to deal with a content thief.
Have you ever had your writing copied? Tell me your story! Make sure you leave your comment below, telling me how you dealt with the thief.
Featured image credit: library.alamancecc.edu