Yesterday I wrote a post titled When Has Stealing Content Gone to Far?   At the time of publishing that post, I wasn’t really sure how it would be received because of the subject matter.   So far all feedback has been pretty positive, so I decided to write a quick follow up post talking about how to deal with getting your content stolen.  Thanks to Laurence for the idea.

As most people should know, when you publish content, pictures, or whatever else on the internet, there is always some risk that things will get scraped or stolen completely from your website/blog.  Despite everything falling under copyright protection, people sometimes get away with it because it is often difficult to enforce. 

So, what can do you to deal with content theft?  Here are two things readers suggested that may help:

  1. Terms and Conditions – Create a clear terms and condition policy that is findable on your website.   It may not help, but it certainly can’t hurt anything.   Throw it in the footer of your blog or somewhere that it is accessible. 
  2. Use Internal Links in your Posts – In addition to the SEO benefits of working on your internal linking structure, scraped and sometimes stolen content will often include these links back to your website.  

Hopefully those methods will help avoid this in the future, but what can you do when your content has already been stolen? 

  1. Contact the Offender – Depending on the situation, some sites may have a contact form or some way to contact the thief.   You can also try checking the domain whois records.  This is a good way to request they delete your stolen content and stop stealing your content in the future.   Though most know they are doing so, a few might not be aware that this is illegal.
  2. Take Action Against the Offender – If the first option doesn’t yield any results or there is no way to contact the owner, there are two ways to take action against the thief.   If they use Google AdSense to monetize the site (most do), you can report them to Google by clicking on the “Ads by Google” link in the lower right corner of the AdSense box and provide them feedback.  I believe stolen content is actually one of the default options you can check.   The other thing you can do is contact the hosting company and let them know they are hosting websites that are doing illegal practices.  I’ve heard of people have some success going this route, so it is a great last resort. 

So, that is what I have.   What do you do to deal with scrapers and content thiefs?

P.S.  Ironically enough, unless there is some sort of screening process that I’m not aware of, this post will be scraped at least 3 times shortly after publication.   Am I the only one that finds humor in that?

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleEslick!

  1. Richard H says:

    Excellent pointers Kyle, for after the fact action.

    Not sure if it would help or not, but making the major search engines aware of the offenders might be an idea as well.

    I’ve also seen a high profile site write a post about an offender who stole their custom theme, and pawned it off as his own. With all the attention directed at him from this popular site and it’s dedicated readership, the offender very promptly removed the stolen property and posted a public apology.

    I’m sure he learned a valuable lesson as well.

  2. Laurence says:

    Thanks Kyle!

    Haha, yea some of these may work on the 12 year old manual scrapers… but I wish there was some way to block the automatic ones, or even get the websites excluded from Google completely etc etc.

    For such a huge problem you would think Google wo

  3. Laurence says:

    …uld have better systems in place for reporting and removing splogs and scrapers.

    Hey why don’t you put the address of these blogs up? Maybe if a whole lot of people report them to Google for adsense misuse then they will be removed.

  4. Salif says:

    Laurence, I considered doing the same thing. I already did something similar by contacting their advertisers like WidgetBucks. Most of them don’t have AdSense (probably got suspended already), but if they did, I’d be sure to contact them first. I’m also going to post their publisher id somewhere, sort of like those sites that post IP and email addresses of spammers.

  5. Michael says:

    Personal experience: I have stopped one spam blog from stealing my content by contacting Adsense, it is the absolute best thing you can do to stop them.

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