So, you’ve got a great blog running, and you’re posting top-notch content and including some high-quality images. Most often, your worry will be: will people read and enjoy this? However, there is also another thing you should be careful about.
As we all know, there is a whole bunch of people out there who are pretty scrupulous when it comes to stealing other people’s content and showing it off as theirs.
So, it goes without saying that you want to get your blog protected from such a thing – after all, it’s a result of your hard work and creativity.
The sad fact is that today, it’s easier than ever for someone to snatch content from your site and claim that it’s something that they came up with themselves. But don’t worry, there is a number of solutions how you can protect your content, and go after the people who don’t give a second thought to stealing it from you.
Register Your Blog’s Copyright
If you go on and register your blog posts for copyright, then you actually have a legal ground to file lawsuits against people that steal your content. While it is a fact that your content immediately gains copyright protection as your own property as soon as it is posted, if you don’t register it, then the only basis that you’ve got is either a cease and desist letter or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If you do register your content at your local Copyright Office, then you can actually take the whole thing to court and gain from statutory damages.
In order to register your blog posts, all that you need to do is submit an application, the necessary payment, and the blog posts that you want to be protected. You can, in fact, register a whole bunch at once, and it is a common practice among bloggers to register a certain number of their posts every quarter.
Try Contacting the Website Owner
Still, before you go on and take any legal action against someone taking the content from your website, you should try calming down and contacting the website owner about it. Let them know that you’ve come across your content on their page, and that you want it to be taken down.
The reason why you should do this is that a lot of people aren’t actually aware of the fact that they are doing something wrong and against the law. They see the content, particularly the images, as something free for the taking, and use it to improve their websites. Even if your content is evidently branded, they might just not be aware that it’s such a big deal. If that is the case, then they will apologize to you and take it down, which will be a lesson for them, and save you from a lot more trouble.
Send a Cease and Desist Letter
The fact is that in the digital world, content gets stolen all the time. So, as previously mentioned, if someone takes your content “by accident”, you can approach the situation calmly and write them an email about taking it down. Quite often, when the perpetrator realizes that they have done something wrong, they will comply with your letter and the matter will be resolved.
On the other hand, there will be times when the email won’t do any good. That is when you should decide to send them a formal cease and desist letter. It has more weight than just an email. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer to help you out with this, experts at Actuate IP underline the fact that bringing one in can make the whole process a lot easier and faster. A cease and desist letter highlights she specific posts that have been stolen from you (including summaries, links, and so on), and give the perpetrator 72 hours to abide by it. If your content is registered, include the copyright registration number in the letter.
Make Use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The good news is that there are laws which specifically protect bloggers and the content that they create. In the late 90’s, the U.S. government passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which contains many things that are of an essence to you, including the most important Notice and Takedown rule. What this rule means is that if someone steals your blog post and uploads it somewhere else, you can inform the platform or the web host about it by using a takedown notice, and the content will certainly be removed.
Sometimes, the problem might be that a content scraper is behind the theft. Or, it may be that you simply aren’t certain who the perpetrator really is. This is when you use a service such as Whois and find out who they are or what their domain host is. Once you have the necessary information, it is easy to contact the owner or the host.
Taking someone else’s blog content and reposting it as your own is a crime, and you can protect yourself from it and take proper action in order for it to be taken down. Luckily, you’ve got the law on your side, as well as a bunch of ways to catch the perpetrators, such as by using Copyscape, Webmaster Tools, Trackbacks, Google Alerts, and so on. Sometimes it’s going to be easy to solve the issue. Other times, it might require further legal action to be taken so that you make sure that your content remains where it belongs – on your own website.