So, imagine you own a store in a local shopping center and people walk in and just take things and then put them up for sale in their store across the street – they don’t pay you for it then juts pick it up, walk out and slap their store name on it with a price tag. Not cool right?
So, knowing that, now imagine that same scenario as the retail store but online. One day you write an article and then you open you email some morning to see your article staring you back in the face with someone else’s names slapped on it with no mention that you are actually the author. Or you put your own story, a story you took painstaking measures to craft that would reach your readers on a personal level only to run across YOUR story word for word on someone’ else’s site!
This scenario plays out daily on blog sites across the internet. Content theft. It is really not any different than theft in a retail store except it is a lot harder to prevent it from happening.But, much like retail stores install security camera and alarms that go off if you try to walk out with an item and not pay for it your blog should at the very least offer you some peace of mind that while you cannot totally protect your content 100% you can make it very difficult for thieves to steal your content. Now I am not saying that people will never quote you or use your materials – you want to be known for your work but WITH proper credit to you for it.
Well I have had this content theft happens to me many times. And yes, even my personal story was copy and pasted to someone else’s site (you can see that example below!) and I have even spent times staring at my own words in my email coming from someone else’s blog! So after getting over my initial upset at my stolen hard work I decided that I needed to take some actions. These are three very easy steps yet are highly overlooked by many the way I had overlooked them – until I knew better.
First with your photos – make sure that you are putting your watermark or URL on them (see mine above). Be sure to fade it into the photo to make it hard to remove and also to keep the photo appealing to the readership that follows you. NO one wants to see a huge copyright or watermark across the middle of it so absolutely put it on there but keep it classy! A free and easy resource to use to put your watermark or URL on your photos is PicMonkey or Canva or if you use a cell phone or table WordSwag costs only a few dollars and can be a great tool.
Now, onto the content itself. There are two steps you can and should take on your site: Install copy/paste protection and make sure you have a copyright notice on your blog (and I do not mean slapping the little c in a circle in your footer! That is just not enough to stop the madness).
So, the first thing to do is grab the plugin called WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click. This plugin has a free and a pro version. I will HIGHLY recommend to you that you pay the few bucks the to get the pro version. The reason I say this is because the free version as well as several other plugins out that that are free do NOT stop copy/paste from a smart phone or tablet where the pro version of this plugin does add that extra layer of protection for you. It is VERY easy to setup and use and you will have that added security of knowing if someone wants to use your post word for word the only way they than accomplish this would be to literally retype the entire article! Like I said above you may not be able to totally stop theft online but boy oh boy can you make their job a whole lot harder!
The second thing you must do is have a copyright notice on your blog post not just a general copyright with the date in the footer. I was actually unaware that my general copyright was not sufficient until today when a Facebook friend named Jeremiah told me that he had run into this and said “I had my content being stolen and used in other countries…happened to find it on Google. Contacted a lawyer and as long as you don’t put a copyright disclaimer on everything you write, it’s free game”. So be sure that each post you publish has its own very distinct copyright.
There are two ways you can accomplish this.
WordPress recommend that you put a copyright notice in a text widget in your sidebar so that is is always clearly visible to site visitors (you can see their full recommendation on site protection by clicking here and you can also see some other things WordPress recommends for keeping your content safe) but they say to have your wording be something like this in the widget – and of course replace my information with your own (also this paragraph is a great example of how to PROPERLY use someone else’s post as a reference within your own blog). This of course is a free way to protect your work:
© Sue Hall and SlenderSuzie.com, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Hall and SlenderSuzie.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Another alternative is to use a WordPress plugin called DigiProve where the plugin will insert a copyright notice on each and every post to take is crystal clear to the reader that your work is yours and should not be reproduced without the proper permissions and link backs. This is a bit nicer of a method than having a big side widget full of text – so that is personal preference which you prefer to use. I am sure there may be other plugins out there that do this as well but this is the one I happen to know about.
So there you have three very simple steps to implement on your WordPress blog to help you add some security to all of your hard work – (1) watermark your photos, (2) implement copy/paste and right click prevention (3) be sure to post your copyright notice in a highly visible location on your blog.
Be sure to check back here at SlenderSuzie.com for my next post which will cover what you can do if you find your work has been ripped off to help you recover your content and protect your own SEO. If you have any additional ways you know to protect your blog work please comment below and help your fellow bloggers out!