As a blogger or content provider, ensuring that you are the only person to benefit from your blog posts is one of the most important challenges of all. After all, achieving success is tough enough without worrying about other bloggers stealing some of your readership and revenue. Unfortunately, it’s very easy for others to copy and paste your content before passing it off as their own. Therefore, knowing how to respond when another website steals your blog content is essential.

Here’s all you need to know about getting that content taken down and preventing future episodes from surfacing.

Why Should You Fight Back Against Stolen Content?

On the face of it, someone stealing your blog content may not seem that damaging. In a strange way, it even vindicates the quality of your work, which can be a little flattering. However, the harsh reality is that content theft is a terrible thing and you must fight back.

For starters, you will be missing out on advertising revenue every single time that a reader accesses the content via the perpetrating site. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, readers may get the wrong end of the stick and assume that you’ve stolen the content. This could quickly damage your reputation as a content provider. Once that reputation has been harmed as a content provider, it’s very difficult to earn it back… Just ask Logan Paul.

Logan Paul

And finally, Google hates duplicate content. If another blog steals your content then you’ll inadvertently become part of a horrible network of duplicate content which Google will penalise you for.

Ultimately, fighting back against content thieves is vital for your reputation and money-making endeavours. Do not underestimate it for a second.

How to Find Stolen Content

Let’s face it; unless your content suddenly ends up on the BBC, the chances of randomly coming across the stolen version of your own blog posts are about as high as my chances of winning the lottery. With this in mind, knowing how to actively find examples of stolen content is the first step en route to success.

The best way to do this is to use Copyscape. Simply add the address of the content, and it will instantly scour the internet to find any websites that have directly stolen (or plagiarised) the content. From there, you can open the sites in question to decide whether or not this is a case of content theft.

If so, your next job will be to take the necessary steps to get it taken down.

Getting Rid of Stolen Content

Once you’ve located stolen content on another blog or website, it’s important to get in touch with the perpetrator right away. Moreover, you’ll want to do it in the most appropriate manner. Only then will the content be removed in a fast and efficient fashion.

The content thief needs to be informed that you’ve noticed your content on their blog. Most bloggers and web owners will have a contact email address on their site. This is the preferred option, but you must ensure that your email;

Identifies the post you’re talking about.
Confirms that you are not willing to let them to steal the content.
Underlines that you will take further action if required.

It’s important to stay firm but fair throughout the email (remember, the content could have been outsourced and the owner of the website naively assumes the content is original). Crucially, you need to get their attention. Choose a headline along the likes of “Content Stolen [Insert blog title]. Action Required Now!”.

The body of the email should be clear at all times. Make sure that you remember to include the URL of their post as well as the original. Tell them that your content is protected by copyright and cannot be used without permission. Most importantly, you need to be clear that the content needs to be removed. Do not ask “is it OK to take it down?”, tell them “it needs to be removed in 24 hours or else I will escalate things further”.

Whether you wish to explain what those next steps will include is entirely a matter of personal opinion. However, this is a great time to try earning a little extra money. After all, the blogger obviously rates your content. So why not give them some options;

Option a: Remove the blog post within 24 hours.
Option b: Pay you a one-off fee for permission to use the post on their site.
Option c: Pay you to produce unique content on the subject for use on their site.

The latter two options give you a chance to essentially earn a new client while it may even be possible to have your name credited within the piece, which can aid your site’s SEO through backlinks. With these opportunities in mind, maintaining a professional and pleasant tone of voice – while still showing that you won’t just drop the issue – is vital at all times.

If email correspondence doesn’t work or isn’t available, try sending a message through social media. It’s best to start this process with a private message. However, if this doesn’t work, the public shaming of condemning their content theft should see you gain a response pretty sharpish!

What if they Still Refuse?

While contacting the website owner is usually the fastest and most efficient way to go about things (not least because it could lead to financial rewards), it won’t always work in your favour. If you fail to receive an answer despite new content being published, it’s likely that you’ll have to try alternative methods.

Nobody wants to unleash their inner school kid by telling the teacher, but you might just have to. If the blog owner isn’t responding, tell the web host and they’ll soon get the content taken down.

To discover which platform hosts a site, head over to WHOIS. Once you have this information, message the web host with the URL of the stolen content along with the URL of the original from your site. Explain that you have tried contacting the perpetrating site with no results, and they’ll take care of things for you.

Another option is to file a DMCA complaint using Google’s Webmaster Tools. While this will not result in the stolen content being removed, it will get the website banned from Google’s search engine results. Deleting the content is the only way they can get this penalty uplifted.

How to Protect Your Content Going Forward

Knowing how to deal with content theft is vital. Nonetheless, prevention is always the best form of protection. Going forward, then, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to stop content theft from happening. Here are three simple tricks to do just that;

Add a clear copyright warning to your site – Telling other bloggers that you will take action against unauthorised usage will make them think twice.

Add a creative commons license – This lets users know what can and can’t be used, along with accrediting details that you require.

Add watermarks to visual content – If you’re worried about photos, videos, or graphics being stolen, adding a watermark will let readers know that the content belongs to you.

Another good tip is to disable content selection (WordPress makes it easy with this plugin) as this will prevent users from simply copying and pasting your content. If they’re going to steal your content, they’ll need to type it up from scratch. Most content thieves will simply go elsewhere.

The Final Word

Content protection is a vital issue for every content provider and blogger. Thankfully, the truth of the matter is that you are unlikely to encounter those problems very often. When you do, however, handling the situation with a calm head is vital. Now that you have a plan of action in place, this should not be a problem.