This morning while I was checking my traffic report, I realized an unusual link from a website. Out of curiosity, I went over to the website and checked. Guess what? I was shocked to see many of my posts were copied word by word by that website, including the images. My first response was anger and was totally disgusted by such dishonest and lazy people using unscrupulous means to obtain content. I took pain, time and energy to write every post and yet it was being stolen just like that.
The thief website did not have any email or contact details so they already admitted they were guilty of stealing so that the rightful owners could not contact them. The only way was to use their comment box so I left a message to inform them to remove my posts immediately but it has high tendency it will be ignored. Therefore, I have to try other means to get them to remove the stolen content.
Get Google to Remove Stolen Content
Looking at their website, they were using stolen content to earn from Google Adsense. Fortunately, Google hates duplicate content so victim like me could report to them to remove stolen content from their website. You could use this link to report to Google and you could also request to terminate their Google Adsense. Once their Google Adsense account is terminated, it will cut off their revenue as well so making them no motivation to steal other people’s content.
Report to DMCA
You can file a copyright infringement report to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It is a United States copyright law aims at protecting the works of individual or companies, you can read more on Wikipedia. There is another great resource on how to go about doing it, you can check out at this website for more detail.
Inform Their Web Hosting Company
I used Whois.net to find out who is their hosting company and immediately informed them about my content being stolen by one of their subscribers. Hopefully, they could take down their website once found guilty. However, be prepared, the steps required to so do could be cumbersome as you must file to DMCA by fax or letter before the web hosting company could take action. The process may take longer if you are not resided in USA but again, if you are the rightful owner, the web hosting company is more than happy to assist you in this area.
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”, it may be more effective to make it difficult for the thieves to steal your content than taking corrective actions after that. Below are some of the steps you can try.
Display Your RSS Feed as Excerpt
If you are using RSS feed, do not display the full posts in your feed. Display a portion of the post by setting it to display as an excerpt. If you are using Feedburner, you can do so by going to the Feedburner than click on “Optimize” tab and click on “Activate” button to activate the service. You can accept the text in the teaser as it is or you add a clickable link to allow your readers to go directly to your website. For example, as the following:
Use WordPress Plugin
You can download a wordpress plugin called “WP-Copyright-Protection” from wordpress.org to prevent thieves from stealing your text and images. They will not be able to highlight your text or using the right click to save your images after installing this plugin. Nevertheless, this plugin still cannot prevent thieves from screen capturing your images. However, you can protect your images using watermark which is described as follow.
Watermark Your Images
You can always add a watermark to your images using a graphic or paint program found in your PC or Mac. They are simple though but adequate to add a copyright statement such as “Copyright © 2011 Affiliatethinktank.com” or watermark to your images easily. Alternatively, you can try online watermarking tools such as PicMarker or WinWatermark they have a free version that allow you to watermark your images easily online.
Tried to watermark your images creativity, do not just put your watermark at the top or bottom of the images where the thief could easily crop it off. Put it in the center or on the area where it is difficult to remove.
Content thieves are everywhere, we can’t stop them from copying our content but the readers today are smart enough to know whether the posts or articles are original from them. Their dirty tricks of making money online will only be short lived. There is no way to earn a long-term and stable income by using such unethical methods, it only waste their time and energies. So, content thieves out there! Think twice again before you copy other people’s content, it may cost you more than you realize.