This post is based on a guest post from Abhishek of Budding Geek.
One topic that comes up a lot at ProBlogger is plagiarism. More specifically, people want to know how they can protect their blog content from being copied and re-posted without their permission.
In our Facebook group people we often see questions like these:
- “What software do you use to check for plagiarism?”
- “What’s the best way to get a site taken down? Someone is scraping my blog and putting it all on their site – including my name.”
- “I recently discovered that another site had copied one of my articles and republished it without my permission. Does anyone know of a tool for tracking down articles on other sites that are clearly plagiarized from my own?”
Having people copying your content and posting it as their own is bad enough. But when ‘their’ content starts outranking yours in search results, it just adds insult to injury.
Now, I’ve written a post that talks about what to do when someone steals your blog content. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So how can you stop people from grabbing your content in the first place?
How they get your content in the first place
Unfortunately, it’s practically impossible to stop someone from copying your content. If a browser can access it (which needs to happen if you want your content to appear on the web), then pretty much anyone can.
And that’s how a lot of people steal content from other people’s websites. They simply view the content in their browser, and then copy and paste it into whatever they’re using to publish ‘their’ content.
However, there’s another way people can steal your content, and that’s by subscribing to your RSS feed. With the right software, they can scan your posts and republish them in a matter of minutes. The software can even replace your main keywords with synonyms automatically.
As I said, you can’t really stop this thing from happening. But you can make the process of copying your content a lot harder, which may make it difficult enough for them not to bother.
How to protect your content
Here are a few ways you can give your content some protection from these plagiarists, and hopefully convince them to stop doing it.
1. Disable text selection on your blog
As I said earlier, a lot of people copy and paste content from other people’s blogs. And so stopping them from using copy and paste on your blog will make that process a lot more difficult.
If your blog is a WordPress site, you can use the WP Content Copy Protection plugin to stop them from using:
- image drag/drop/save
- text selection/drag/drop
- source code viewing
- keyboard copy shortcuts such as CTRL A, C, X, U, S and P).
2. Watermark your images
If you use images on your blog (and you probably should be to break up the text), then you need to protect them as well.
One of the simplest ways is to add a watermark to your images. Not only does it show you own the copyright for your images, it will also make people think twice about copying them (or even hotlinking to them) as they’ll have your blog’s name all over it.
While you can do this in most graphics packages, there are also online sites such as Watermarkly that will do it for you.
Important note: While you’re free to do this with images you’ve created yourself, check the licensing information before you do it with images you’ve downloaded from somewhere else. The last thing you want is to be guilty of stealing someone else’s content.
3. Manage your RSS feeds
Now let’s look at the second way these people can steal your content – through your RSS feeds.
One simple way to stop it (or at least make it a lot harder to do) is to only offer partial feeds. Yes, it means your readers will have to click a link to see the full post. But it also means the plagiarists will have to do the same, which may put them off.
Another option is to use a WordPress plugin such as Copyright Proof, which:
- provides a digitally signed and time-stamped certificate of content of each post you publish (to prove you’re the creator and therefore own the copyright)
- adds a combined certification, copyright, licensing, and attribution notice at end of each post.
As with watermarking your images, it won’t stop your content from being copied. But everyone will see that it’s been taken from your blog without your permission
Over to you?
As I said earlier, you’ll never be able to stop people from stealing your content completely. But hopefully these tips will make stealing yours much tougher, or at least not worth the effort.
Do you have any other tips for protecting your content? Feel free to share them in the comments.
Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash