Swiping content: Same old problem, new big culprits
There’s a ton of copyrighted content on the internet—images, presentations, articles, you name it—and, frankly, it’s never been too difficult to steal. This is especially true in this age of brands with an “if you can’t create, curate and syndicate” attitude when it comes to content. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as those brands both give attribution to and get proper permission from original authors. (NOT the same thing, by the way. Attribution does not equal permission.) Oh yeah, and they don’t sell it to anyone else for a profit—which, unfortunately, happens quite a bit.
Basically, if your article had a soul, you’re signing it over. And if it does good things in the Internet world, you’re foregoing any reward. Does that sound like a good deal? It’s not, but most people don’t even know they’re making it. I encourage you to read Kerry’s full piece, titled Someone’s making money off your copyrighted content (But it isn’t you), to learn more.
DIY tips to theft-proof your content
We can all agree that having your content stolen—or unknowingly purchasing stolen content—is a real issue. To stop it, there are a few DIY tips you can try before moving on to larger solutions. First, I’d like to preface this with the caveat that I use “DIY” very loosely when it comes to protecting your content. There are certain things you probably don’t want to DIY—wiring your house, performing minor surgery, setting up your own parachute because you watched that 10 minute YouTube tutorial titled “What to do before the big jump”—you know, things like that. Sarcasm aside, though, there is something to be said for identifying a problem and taking ownership of the path to its solution. In that sense, DIY away!
That said, there are steps you can take on your own to help keep your content under lock and key. Consider checking out the following resources to see if your content has been stolen and get it back:
- Google Alerts. This is the simplest way to search for stolen content. Just visit Google Alerts, type in a portion of your article, and choose the kinds of sites to search. You’ll be contacted via email in case of a match.
- Copyscape. If you publish a ton of content, try Copyscape, a paid site that scours the web for repostings of your content. If you find any unwanted scrapes, contact the site owner(s) and ask for your work to be removed.
- Who Is Hosting This. In the event you’ve found your content has been stolen and contacting the site owner has not remedied the situation, try Who Is Hosting This. There, you’ll find the website hosting service for the culprit URL and can take your complaint one step higher.
- Google Webmaster Tools. If your content is doing exceptionally well for another party and other steps have failed, try filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) complaint via Google Webmaster Tools.
I just mentioned what you can do to see if your content has been stolen, but is there anything you can do to prevent the theft in the first place? Yes! Consider installing WordPress plugins like the following: Feed delay, Copyright notice, Yoast SEO, WP content copy protection, and Tynt Insight for WP.
That covers the DIY side of things, but what if you need more high-level, professional protection? One solution might just be worth experimenting with. Let’s go there.
Need a big picture, professional solution? Try Iperial.
Iperial is a technology that provides secure, fully automated intellectual property rights protection—and it’s cost-effective to get started. It’s also highly scalable, so it’s good for everyone from enterprise corporations to non-commercial bloggers. You can access Iperial through APIs, cloud connectors, client software, or even mobile apps.
Sounds great, right? I know what you’re thinking: Exactly how does this work? The protection is built on cryptographic hashes—i.e., exceptionally large numbers that identify each piece of content.
Think of it as assigning each piece of content you create a unique social security number and signature—a trackable, time-stamped piece of data that proves the content belongs to you and shows exactly when you created it. Instead of tracking a paragraph or post title using multiple tools, just track the duo of cryptographic hashes assigned to your content. Registering your content with Iperial also comes with Blockchain protection as an added security measure. At only $3 per user per month for businesses, I’m not sure why every writer doesn’t do this.
Do you know if a piece of your content has ever been scraped? How did you handle it if so? (If you’re purchasing content, I trust that you’re doing your due diligence.) At the end of the day, content theft isn’t a new problem, but new tools like Iperial might be able to help us get it in check. Do you think you’ll give it a shot? I’d love to hear your thoughts.