Have you ever had that awful, gut-renching feeling when you suddenly find that someone else has taken your idea, your intellectual property and run off with it? Or worse, they’re making money on the back of what you’ve done? Zarn’s had it many times in the last few weeks alone – plagiarists stealing her content, not just in part but in full: photos, content and even her signature, and it hurts.
But what happens to people like us who don’t have a few billion to throw around to take the perps’ to court? How do you finance such a case? Should you even bother?
After all – isn’t copying just a form of flattery?
Maybe but ask your bank account whether flattery helps to feed you and your family from your work.
Some months ago in a post Rip Me Off Before You GoGo we’d found that a professional wedding photographer in the US had employed a company to help them with their marketing. This company had set up a website that leached ours and other high profile bloggers posts to build its site and rank certain keywords in Google higher, with links back to the parent website.
Fortunately, they weren’t very smart because we found out who owned the site and gave them a bit of ‘what for’ – in a polite sort of way 🙂
Within 48 hours, the site was taken down and we were all happy bunnies. Ah, a nice fairy tale ending.
Stop Plagiarist STOP!!
Just some weeks ago, another site this time was found to be doing the same thing – every post from 20 days past was being ripped from our site. Zarn would post in the morning and by the afternoon, they’d taken it. This time we didn’t have an alert. In fact it was our friends Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes who alerted us after they were searching the net for a certain keyword, (we’d recently run a post on their awesome unique wedding cakes yum).
BUT there was a problem…
And then we recently found another site that through our ‘trackbacks’ on wordpress was doing the same thing… a complete rip-off from the site, blog posts, images etc. called ‘wedding idea blog dot net’
How To Find the Splogger – Plagiarist
1) If you use WordPress or another blogging platform have your ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)’ setting turned on (this can be found under Settings/Discussion) just tick the arrow – this will alert you of any sites that use one of your post/pages links on their site like this link here How to Stop a Plagiarist So I’d see a link in the comments section as a trackback that shows the site and link. If it’s one you don’t mind then enjoy the linkback.
2) Use CopyScape you can run a single website link on the front page to see if anyone has copied the page, parts of the text etc. It’s free and if you wish to run it on all of your site just sign up. It’s free again though limits the amount of times you can use it a month. But well worth it if you do it every 3-6 months. You can also put a little badge under each post or on the site to warn people. Though in reality, some people just won’t care.
3) Your RSS Feed – check to see if your site has one and disable it if you don’t use it. This is how most of them work by using software that will take your RSS feed (scraping) and reposting your content on autopilot. If you go to our Wedding Directory you’ll see on the front page LHS a mini feed that takes the Title, Headlines and link from this Wedding Blog it updates it automatically everyday.
How to Take Down the Splogger Plagiarist & Protect your Intellectual Property
Step 1) Look for a way to contact them either by Facebook, a Contact Us form, Comments Box, Twitter etc.
Step 2) Request they remove the offending content. E.G. “Dear Sir/Madam, Your site is currently hosting unauthorised copyrighted material from XXXXXX (name of your site). We/I would appreciate it if you could kindly remove the material within (give a reasonable period of time – some people may be on holiday – 48hrs to 7 days (Be specific or give a date). We/I understand this may be an error and hope you will comply with our request. Failure to do so will lead to further action. Please can you inform me/I when this has happened. Kind regards YYYYY (and leave a contact address/email.
Also supply evidence of what it that is in breach of your copyright – i.e. Weblink showing your original material and the link/copy of the unauthorised plagiarised copyright material
Step 3) If they haven’t complied, you can do what is called a DMCA Take Down Notice (Digital Millenium Copyright Act)
Step 4) We followed the steps outlined in this post from DPReview.com and within 24 hours the site had taken the copyright information down. (I’ve put the link here so as not to duplicate the good work – it’s concise enough and works)
DMCA.com is a great resource that will help you protect your content and images etc as well as provide a service for a small fee to protect your work and issue DMCA notices.
If this happens rarely, then you may just wish to go down the DIY route. If it happens a lot and it really a) takes a lot of your precious working time to sort it out b) is costing your money then I think DMCA.com is a good route – We haven’t used them yet, but if this persists….then…
- Name your images with something that is unique and specific to you, though may not make sense to other people – ie AIWedlnd001-image.jpg This way I can do a search on the net for AIWedlnd and see what comes up. If you name them ‘Aliceinweddingland001.jpg it may just be too obvious and people alert people to re-name the images (they may do this anyway).
- Watermark your images – put a watermark over your images by putting your logo and websitename on them. Look over Alice in Weddingland and you’ll see it on quite a few of the images. While it won’t protect them being stolen, it does let the viewer know where they originate so they can always get back to your site.
You have to determine whether the copyright infringement/plagiarism is effecting your business, Google link juice, or your brand. If it is….then take action – get back in control of what you rightfully own! You created it, you deserve the accolades for it!!!
P.S. We’ve already started our Mad Hatters Academy Facebook page where you can get some cool, awesome stuff for your business: in marketing, sales, and business development. And soon to follow will be FREE videos showing you… How to make it in the wedding industry, stand out from the crowd, get paid for what your worth and not get lost in the frustration and madness of what to do.
So please come and join us there to get updated with when we go live!
PLEASE COPY THIS PAGE AND ADD IT TO YOUR BLOG 🙂
These are not the only ways to help you with copyright content, I’m sure there are many more. If you’ve used other ways to protect your work, what have you done? Have you been caught out by the sploggers, plagiarists? Has it effected your business, work or reputation? How would it make you feel if you’d found your work on someone else’s site? What do you think is the best way to protect your content?