Prevent Content Theft

by maureen on February 23, 2013

Stop Content TheftNothing is more frustrating than to spend hours cleverly crafting a post and then find it happily sitting on someone else’s blog.  It’s doubly irritating if you’re a new (but clever) blogger and you don’t have a lot of traffic to see your work stolen and used on a much larger site where they’re using your material to make money for themselves.

All bloggers hate this and it happens every day of the week.  In my recipe niche, there would be at least 5-10 complaints on Facebook groups and food blogger forums about scraped recipes.  People believe that because a recipe ingredient list cannot be copyrighted that it’s fine to take the whole thing, including your photos.

So what can you do about content theft?

Fortunately there are a few things that all bloggers can do to minimise content theft.  If something can be found through a browser, it can be stolen by someone else if they’re of the creep variety.

However, it’s your intellectual property and it’s your job to protect it. Anything you do will help but it will not prevent it happening completely.  There are too many people who want or expect something for nothing and if stealing it works, they’ll do it.

Copyright Notices

Have a clear copyright notice somewhere on your blog and preferably in more than one place.  Spell out in detail what you will and WON’T permit.  A simple © copyright symbol and the year and your company or blog name often isn’t enough.

This example of a valid copyright notice comes from WordPress support and they recommend putting it in your sidebar using a text widget.

© [Full Name] and [Blog Name], [Current Year or Year Range]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Your Name] and [Your Blog Name] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In addition to the sidebar notice, add a copyright notice at the bottom of every one of your posts.

RSS Feeds

If your RSS feeds send the entire post out to your subscribers, stop that right now.  If you send only an excerpt or summary of your most recent blog post, then scrapers can’t subscribe and use your post the day it’s written.

Search for Your Content

Do a search for your post title or keywords on Google or paste part of a paragraph in.  Go to Google images and click on the camera and enter the URL of one of your blog’s photographs and see what comes up.  I was shocked the first time I tried it.  I “grrr’d” for hours.

Let Google alert you by setting up a scan at

Check out, and there are many others.

Watermark Your Images

I know it’s not ideal but plastering your website URL on your photos or website name will make your photos less likely to be pinched and if they are, folks will know where they came from.

Don’t Let Them Get Away With It

Whether it’s your design, writing, photographs, graphics or method — nobody has the right to steal your work.  Most people ignore it and that’s why the problem is getting worse.  If someone has stolen your work you can complain to the thief’s webhost with the proof they need and they’ll take their site down if they are convinced it’s happened as you say it did.

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