This post has absolutely nothing to do with weaving, spinning, dyeing, or knitting. But it is the reason why I haven't gotten much accomplished in the past several days.
The other day I checked my free StatCounter account, and was browsing visitor paths. This is often interesting as well as useful information. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on one referring link, only to see this (click on the picture for a closer look) -
Yup. It's my entire Computer Hex Code Dyeing 2: Wrestling With Recipes on another website, stolen along with about 4 or 5 other of my posts.
I took a look around this site, and quickly figured out that almost all of its content was stolen from other blogs. In other words it is a "splog" (spam blog). A number of the stolen posts showed copyright information and symbols, but this were stolen along with the text and content.
The question is, what to do? Evidently this is a fast growing problem, much to the frustration of folks like us, who respect one another's intellectual property and just want to have ours respected in return. Is it possible to try and fight back? Well, here's what I've been doing about it:
First I did a whois search at Network Solutions, to try to find someone to complain to....
This gave me the administrative and technical contact whom I emailed, asking them to remove my content. I received no response and neither was my content removed.
My next step was to contact the blog host to report the theft. Toward the bottom of the whois information is an IP address link -
From there, I found this -
This tells me who is hosting the offending website, and how to contact them with abuse problems. After emailing their abuse department, I received a quick response with instructions of what to document and where to send it. By law, they will have to remove it, unless the offender offers a counter claim. Then it's left up to the two parties to duke it out.
In the meantime, I have discovered Who Is Hosting This? You can type any URL into the search box and are immediately taken to that website's host. If the offender doesn't remove the stolen content upon your request, the host is the next one to contact.
Another possibility is to contact Google's AdSense, if that's what the splog was set up to take advantage of. Complete instructions of how to do that can be found at What to do if you're getting as sick as I am of having your blog copied by Ian in Hamburg.
In researching all this, I learned quite a bit. Some folks honestly don't understand about copyright. Others, like sploggers, do it intentionally, without regard to copyright. Sploggers often use hacking tools such as 1-More Scanner or Site Import for Dreamweaver, which find and copy content from all over the Internet. It appears that in my case, the scraping (content stealing) software searched the internet for text with certain keywords. The keyword in my posts was "recipe" (as in dye recipes), which is the category the filed my posts were under on that website.
The only reason I found out about it, is because someone clicked on one of the links in that post which brought them back to me. I have been purposely doing this with every post I publish, and for that very reason. Thieves and their hacking software usually just copy and paste, which leaves links intact (though I have learned that some hacking software can ignore the links).
While links back to yourself might alert a reader that the content has been stolen, they don't necessarily let you know about it. Another helpful online tool is Copyscape, which searches for duplicate pages on the Internet. They allow a couple of free searches a day, or unlimited searches with a subscription.
What else am I doing? Since most theft takes place from feed readers, there are two options.
- Change the settings so that only a summary of the post is seen in the reader. This may be a minor nuisance for folks who like to read entire posts in their reader of choice, but it allows only the first paragraph or so of a post to be scarped. For Blogger, click on "Settings" then "Site Feed." Look for "Allow Blog Feeds" and choose "short". Then save settings.
- Leave the blog feed setting to "full" but put a copyright notice in the post feed footer at the bottom of the site feed settings page. This notice will show up at the end of each post in the feed reader, which means it will be scraped too.
You also probably noticed that I added "By Leigh" at the top of the post, and a posted date and "by" at the bottom. Both link back to my blog.
While there is no way to stop content theft, we can all take measures to protect our digital property. Here are some articles that have been helpful to me, so I'm passing them on to you:
5 Content Theft Myths & Why They Are False by Jonathan Bailey
The 6 Steps to Stop Content Theft by Jonathan Bailey
Fighting Scrapers With Your Left Jab by Darren Rowse
People Stealing My Content - Blah Blah Blah by TheLostGirl
How to deter thieves from stealing your images and server bandwidth by David Airey
If you do find that some of your content has been stolen:
What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content by Lorelle
Since most scraping takes place pretty quickly (sometimes almost instantaneously) after publication, adding all this to back posts may or may not help. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to add a copyright or watermark to all my photos. More bother.
Anyway, that's my tale of woe. I hope all of this will be useful to you!
Posted 17 Aug 2008 by http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
Update on Stolen Content (& a little more info)
A Note About Watermarks