Twenty-six years after Bill Gates wrote an essay on “Content is King,” this phrase now makes more sense than ever. Most firms today have people working full-time to create carefully crafted content that helps them connect with their customers and remain competitive in the market.
Individuals are also using lots of resources and time to create fresh blogs that share their opinions about various things. It’s understandably crushing, then, if you find someone on the internet who has stolen your content without giving credit. Some people will shamelessly use the copy and paste function to copy your content, paste it on their website, and publish it.
This post is for you if your blog content has been copied and reposted to another site without your permission. We’ll discuss plagiarism in blogging, your rights, and the steps to regain control over your content.
What Is Plagiarism When It Comes to Blogging?
Plagiarism involves presenting someone’s ideas or work as your own without their permission or without giving attribution. Some lazy bloggers lift content from other blogs without adequately acknowledging the original creator.
You’ll probably run into this problem often as a blog owner. Luckily, as we’ll discuss later in this post, you can detect plagiarism through several tools and recover your content using various methods.
If someone uses your copy on their blog without properly attributing it to you, they’ll risk search ranking penalties. This means that they’ll rank low on the search engine results pages.
How Does Plagiarism Translate into Your Legal Rights?
Copyright is an exclusive right that an intellectual property owner has, protecting their original work (including blog posts) from unauthorized use or duplication. Your work should be original to qualify for copyright protection, meaning it:
- Must have been independently created by you and not copied from other work(s)
- Must have a minimal degree of creativity
In countries with copyright protection laws, bloggers who create long-form content automatically hold the copyright to the blog content, provided it’s original. This means that the law legally protects your content the moment you create it.
In the U.S, your blog content is protected under the law the moment you create it; you don’t have to file anything with the government.
Are There Exceptions to Copyright, and How Do They Impact Bloggers?
The copyright law generally requires individuals to obtain a license or written permission to use the copyrighted content. However, there are three main exceptions to this rule, including:
- The face-to-face instruction exception: This exception allows face-to-face classes in non-profit, accredited schools to display or perform the legally licensed works in plays, films, etc.
- The TEACH Act: This exception permits using copyrighted content in online classes, but only under specific conditions.
- The fair use exception: This is an exception in copyright law that allows the use of original materials without permission, provided it’s for “fair” purposes.
But before considering these exceptions, it’s recommended that people first try several other safer alternatives, including licensing. This is where you allow someone to use your original material legally. It’s how most photographers allow their works to be used on sites like Pexels, Pixabay, Canva, Unsplash, or ShutterStock.
In some cases, like Pexels, the license is granted when the photographer uploads their photos. Other sites like Canva and ShutterStock require you to pay the licensing or membership fee before granting a license.
Like these photos, you can also license the republication of your blog content to big sites to gain exposure. This is usually done through a process called syndication, which will increase your exposure and traffic.
Note: If a more prominent website republishes your post without your permission or attribution, it’s not syndication…it’s theft.
What About When Another Blogger Simply Copies and Pastes Your Article to Their Site?
When a blogger copies and pastes your work to their site, that’s theft. In legal terms, the blogger will have violated copyright law.
You can sue the person to regain full control of your content. So, how do you know if someone has republished your article without your permission?
How Can I Find Out If Someone Has Stolen My Blog Post Without My Permission?
There are several tools you can use to scour the internet to determine if your blog content is being used without your consent. One of the most straightforward and best tools to use is Copyscape. It’s perfect if you publish a lot of content.
Copyscape prompts you to enter your website’s URL and searches the internet for sites that republish your content. You may have to pay a fee for the Premium subscription, but it’s worth it; you’ll get premium results. You get to see if someone has copied your blog post or even large portions of it.
What if you’ve searched the internet and found another blogger stole your content? What do you do?
What Can I Do If Someone Has Republished My Content Without My Permission?
If you’re constantly asking yourself, “what do I do if someone is stealing my blog content?” this is the section for you! If someone steals from your house, you probably know what to do; you notify the relevant authority and file an insurance claim, right?
But how about the case where “My blog content is being copied without my permission.” What do you do?
Generally, there are three main steps to follow when someone has republished your content, including:
Step #1 – Contact Them Directly
If you’re asking, “How can I make another blogger take down my content?” Well, the first thing you should do is to contact them directly.
Use their website’s contact form or contact information to reach the blogger in question. Ask them politely but firmly to remove your content from their site. You can set a timeframe for removing the content, like three days.
If the blogger’s website doesn’t have their contact information, use tools like ICANN Lookup to find the domain name’s owner.
Step #2 – Contact Their Host
If the blogger doesn’t respond to you in the specified timeframe, contact their web host. You can use BuiltWith to track down the blogger’s website host.
Once you have the web host’s contact information, inform them that the blogger is violating your copyright by republishing your blog content without consent.
Step #3 – File A DCMA Takedown Request with Google
If you feel you’re being ignored, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) takedown request with Google. Google will remove the copied content from their index, meaning it will get no traffic.
You can submit the request to the blogger or their web host. The host will likely bring down the content after getting the DMCA notice.
The bottom line
With millions of articles posted daily, the overlap of information can’t be avoided 100%. However, that’s no excuse to have someone copy your blog content and paste it to their website.
I hope this post was helpful in determining how to deal with having your blog content stolen. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with stolen content in the comments section!