It has been a while since I last blogged about blogging. But I had to write an article on what to do if someone steals your blog content because I recently had the unfortunate experience of having a copycat. This person had copied my website’s design, its pages, and many of my blog posts. They would republish every article I posted on my blog. And, worse, they were not even using excerpts, but entire posts copied WORD FOR WORD!
As you can probably guess, it was infuriating and frustrating to see my work being copied and reposted on another blog without my permission. It was at this time that I confirmed that, in blogging, imitation is not a form of flattery. Copying and republishing someone’s blog posts is disrespectful and a form of robbery.
While it is okay to be inspired by another blogger’s work, copying and republishing their posts is unethical and illegal. Not only does it negatively affect your blog’s SEO and credibility but it also affects the website from which you are stealing content.
As the blog owner whose content has been copied and republished, you may feel frustrated and demoralized. Some people even quit blogging because of content theft. Hence, why it is important to learn how to protect your blog posts from theft and what to do if someone steals your blog content.
Since this wasn’t the first time someone stole my blog content (only that this person had gone too far), I had to look for ways to stop people from copying and reposting my blog posts. So, if you want to stop a blogging copycat as well, here are some things to do when someone steals your blog content and reposts it. I have also included some ways to protect your blog posts from theft and how to make it harder for people to steal your blog content.
4 Things to Do If Someone Steals Your Blog Content
- Contact the website owner
Copycats often steal from other blogs because they are experiencing writer’s block or they are too lazy or uncreative to write their own posts. They could also want to make money fast, and hence think that having as much content on their blogs as they can, no matter where it comes from, is the best way to achieve this.
At other times, people may republish your blog posts with good intentions. For instance, they probably liked your articles and wanted to share this valuable information with their audience. But copying and pasting entire blog posts word for word is not the right way to go about this.
One of the initial things to do if someone steals your blog content is to get in touch with the website owner. Let them know you are aware they are republishing your blog posts and request them to take the content down.
Note that sometimes, especially for big blogs and websites, the owner may not be the one who has copied your posts. The plagiarism could have been done by the other people who contribute content to their site.
Letting the website owner know about the plagiarized content will often prompt them to take action to take down the content or deal with their employees. If you are lucky, you may not have to do anything else about the content theft if the site owner takes the stolen blog posts down and never copies from your website again.
- Report them to their web hosting provider
Unfortunately, contacting the website owner may not yield your desired results. They might refuse to take the stolen blog posts down, contest ownership, or there could be no way to get in touch with them on their website. When this happens, one of the best things to do if someone steals your blog content is to report them to their web hosting provider.
You may be wondering how you can know where a blog is hosted in order to report them. It is easy. You can use sites such as Whois and Digital to find out where a website is hosted for free. You will see hosting providers such as Automattic, SiteGround, Bluehost, Hostinger, and more. Once you find out where the thieving website is hosted, look up the domain host’s copyright terms and how to contact them.
In my case, the website which republished my blog posts had SiteGround as the hosting provider. So I contacted them, and they helped me sort out the issue. If someone is stealing your blog content as well, check their web hosting provider and report the copyright infringement. They will let you know the next steps and how to proceed.
READ ALSO: How to Manage Your Time as a Blogger
- Report the infringing website to Google
Other than the web hosting provider, Google can also help you deal with a blogging copycat. So, one of the best things to do if someone steals your blog content is to visit the Google Copyright Removal page and use the form provided to file a notice of infringement. Make sure to get evidence that the other website has stolen your content, such as links and screenshots.
Google will review your request, and if you have valid concerns, they shall take the necessary steps to block, limit or remove access to the content that violates copyright law.
- Get a lawyer
If you are wondering what to do when someone steals your blog content, I hope you don’t have to get to the point where you have to involve lawyers. The process of reclaiming your website content and getting it taken down from the copyright infringing site can be expensive and tedious. Nonetheless, getting a lawyer may be the best thing to do if someone steals your blog content sometimes, whether it is your posts, original pictures, or website design.
A lawyer can help you understand copyright law. They will give you professional advice on the best ways to deal with someone stealing your blog content. The lawyer can also act on your behalf to resolve this issue, especially if you want to sue for copyright infringement.
READ ALSO: 12 Best Ways to Invest in Your Blog
How to Protect Your Blog Posts and Make It Harder for People to Steal Your Content
You now know what to do if someone steals your blog content. After using the above tips, you may have succeeded during any of the steps discussed and managed to get the person to take down the copied blog posts from their website. So, what next? How can you protect your blog posts from being stolen again?
Whether you succeeded or failed at stopping the copycat, the best thing you can do next is to learn how to make it harder for people to steal your blog content in the future. And since your blog is growing, you have to know that the more popular your website gets, the more likely it will be for people to copy and republish your blog posts. You will probably not even know which websites are stealing your blog content. So, what can you do to protect your blog posts from theft?
If you want to learn how to protect your posts from theft, here are some things you can do to make it harder for people to steal your blog content in the future;
- Install a copy protection plugin
If you often encounter copycats and want to make them stop, one of the best ways to protect your blog posts from theft is by installing copy-protection plugins. They will prevent people from copy-pasting and downloading stuff from your website. A copy protection plugin will help you disable right-clicking, selecting content on your site, as well as dragging and dropping images.
Examples of the best free plugins you can use include WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click, Secure Copy Content Protection, and WP Content Copy Protection. Installing a copy protection plugin is one of the most effective ways to protect your posts and make it harder for people to steal your blog content.
- Use content excerpts in feeds and emails
You can use copy-protection plugins to prevent people from stealing your website content, but unfortunately, there are many other ways copycats could still copy and republish your blog posts.
Other than your website, your blog posts may be available elsewhere where copying is possible. For example, people who really want to steal your blog content could do it through your website’s RSS feed, the WordPress Reader, and the emails they get for subscribing to your website.
If you want to make it harder for people to steal your blog’s content, you should find a way to display post excerpts in feeds and emails instead of showing entire posts. Showing excerpts is one of the best ways to protect your blog posts from theft because someone would have to head to your blog to read the entire post. And since your website has copy protection plugins installed, the person will be unable to copy and republish your articles.
If you use WordPress.com and you suspect that people are copying your blog posts through the Reader, enable excerpts instead of entire posts by going to My Sites → Settings → Reading → For each post in a feed, include → Excerpt.
- Deactivate AMP pages
Several years back, Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), which boost SEO by increasing site speed and improving page ranking. AMPs make your posts load faster than they would on your website, thus preventing the bouncing of traffic that usually happens if your blog loads slowly. When the AMP plugin is activated, search engine traffic from mobile devices usually gets redirected to simple AMP pages that load instantly.
Although AMP pages can help with search engine ranking and blog traffic, they also make it easy for copycats to steal your content. There is currently no plugin you can use to protect blog posts displayed on AMP pages from theft. Hence, people can easily copy and republish your content from there.
One of the best things to do if someone steals your blog’s content or as a way to protect your posts from theft in the future is to deactivate the AMP plugin. However, it is important to note that your blog traffic may decrease when you deactivate AMP pages due to reduced site speed. It is best to look for an alternative way to increase page loading speed before deactivating the AMP plugin.
Blogging is not easy, and thus when someone decides to steal your blog posts, it becomes even more difficult. Unfortunately, as much as you may try to protect your posts from theft, someone who really wants to steal your blog content will find a way to do it. You may do all the above things to make it harder for them to copy and republish your blog posts, but they can always steal them by directly writing down what is on the screen as they read your website pages.
Since your blog may be your source of income, making it private or taking it down because of a few delinquents may not be an option. You have to forge on and deal with the blogging copycats you come across to the best of your abilities. At least you now know the best things to do if someone steals your blog’s content and republishes it. Don’t let people get away with infringing on your copyright and reaping the benefits of your hard work.
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