It is more than disheartening to see your hard work blatantly stolen. I’m talking about article theft and it happens more frequently than you might think. Why should someone benefit from the work you put forth?
Why You Should Be Worried
Well, for starters, someone is profiting directly off of your work. Article thieves are gaining the same benefits you worked so hard to achieve without doing any more than copying and pasting. I’ve met some people who don’t mind if their work is reproduced elsewhere, but it’s more of a problem than just unauthorized reproduction.
The real problem lies with search engines, specifically Google. Google is more than likely the number one search engine driving traffic to your website. Now, how would you be doing if Google suddenly removed your website from its search engine rankings? Both you and your blog would be devastated.
Google systematically checks for websites with duplicate content and penalizes them by lowering their ranking on search engine terms. This is why everyone in the blogging business urges you to create quality, unique content. You can survive without the help of Google, but would you really want to lose out on completely free, targeted traffic? Of course not.
What You Can Do
If you suspect someone is stealing your content, you can find out for sure using two methods. The first is the Google Search method. Just copy a few lines from your article, wrap them in quotations and search for them on Google. The only results that should come up are ones from your blog. Any other results could potentially be theft. Second, you can use Copyscape to do the dirty-work for you. You can paste the URL of any of your articles and it will find exact duplicates or strikingly similar copies.
If someone has already stolen your content, there are a few options you can take here.
- Just ask. I’ve had my content duplicated on two separate occasions and both situations were resolved when I asked them to take down the infringing content. That was it. No hassle. Stay calm and collected and just explain that they are using your content without authorization. It could be a simple misunderstanding that can be solved peacefully. If they refuse to remove it or claim ownership..
- Contact their host. Send an email or call their support department and let them know that one of their clients is illegally using your material. Request that they manually remove the content or suspend hosting on that account.
- Contact Google. You can have the website banned from Google for copyright violations, but the process is rather lengthy and complicated. If it comes to this, you can read more information on their DMCA infringement page.
Article theft can happen to any blogger at any time. It’s up to you to protect yourself.