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Tips in Protecting your Original Content

boy writing his story

Writing

If you have been blogging or starting to blog for an online magazine or content websites, chances are you will experience your content to be stolen. Your content will surely be reposted on other article websites, personal websites, and other blogs without your consent or knowledge.

There are times when your writing are copied from your website to another person’s website. The article could also be altered to make it look original. There will be instances that your content will be reposted with proper attribution, but no permission from the writer. It may or it may not be harmful to you but if you want your content to remain in your site, then remove the duplicate content.

Despite all the situation, the good thing is that, you can prevent it. Here are some things you can do:

  • Google Alerts can help you find your stolen content. Go to the website and then place a part of your article, indicate what kind of websites to be searched. Give your email address so that you will know the result. You can be notified every day, weekly, monthly, or when it happens.
  • Know if there was an abuse on your site. Check your site logs and server.  Did you have a dramatic rise in your bandwidth for referrers or hosts? Know the numbers of your server logs to evaluate the possibility.
  • Copyscape is not free, but it is all worth it if you write and publish many content. Copyscape is an online plagiarism detection service you use and you will be informed about the sites that are reposting your work.
  • Use trackback notifications. This is provided by WordPress, Movable Type, and Drupal. They will inform you if anybody is linked to your post.
  • Get in touch with the website service that hosts the site who took your content. Go to a lookup website like Who Is. The website will provide you details like the official registrar, registrar URL, creation date, and more. A registrar abuse contact email and number are also provided. You can call them or send an email.
  • Report a complaint against a site that stole your content at Google Webmaster Tools. The site who copied your material will be banned from using Google’s search engines. If the thief is using your content and is making money from it using Google Adwords, the account will be closed and the thief can no longer open another account.
  • If you are active in online posting, set up Google Search Authorship. This will show that you are the real creator or writer of the content. Google will guide you on how to claim the content that created.
  • Make a copyright notice and include a terms of use page on your website. This will tell people that you are the rightful owner and that no one can copy it without your permission. You can also indicate if you will allow portion of your content to be used, but with proper attribution.

For as long as you post whatever you have written or created, content thieves will always be there to get your work. Know what to do and be vigilant in guarding your content.

Copyright and the Internet

close -up, court, courthouseA copyright is a legal protection that is given to the writer or creator of an original work. The protection is broad and it applies to original music and lyrics, drama, literary piece such as fiction, non-fiction books and poems, choreography and pantomimes, architecture, photography, graphic design, sculptural works, moves and audio visual recordings, sound recordings, and practically anything that falls under artistic works.

This applies only to physical forms of expression. An example is, writing down an idea of say, a certain story. Once you have expressed it in a tangible form, you do not have to actually publish it to make the story yours since you were the one who thought of the story. However, if you wrote it for a company you are working with, it automatically belongs to the company and not the writer. This is known as unregistered copyright and the circle with a c designation represents this. The unregistered copyright holder could do anything with it – sell, reproduce, or perform. This gives the right to file a legal case for an injunction to forbid the use of the material.

To have a lawsuit for copyright infringement, the work has to be registered first with the Copyright Office. In the U.S., Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress. It keeps records of copyright registration in the country which also includes a Copyright Catalogue. The writer or creator should file an application fee and pay the prescribed amount. Once this is done, a designated circle r symbol says, the work is now registered and copyrighted. This means, the material is solely controlled by its writer or creator and this usually last for a lifetime. A registered copyright is still good for another 70 years after the death of its author or creator.

Just like any property, registered copyright may be assigned to another owner by doing a last will and testament. And thus, have the following rights:

  • The right to copy, distribute, reproduce.
  • The right to perform the particular work.
  • The right to create works that are based on the original work.
  • The right to display the work publicly.

The registered, copyrighted work is now in the government record. The work now protected under the Federal Copyright Act. Now the registered copyright holder may file a case for copyright infringement, seek for an injunction, lawyer’s fees and financial damages.  An Intellectual Property lawyer can represent you in court. Now, there is an exception to the law. If the copyright was used for fair use which means, the material was used for teaching, researching, search engines, commentary, criticism, news reporting, or parody.

The question is, does copyright law apply to the Internet? Short answer: YES. The new laws regarding the internet has been established by legislation or the court. The copyright law is one of them. This means that the copyright law applies also to the internet. So, anyone who violates this law does not only violate federal law, but expose oneself to civil and criminal liabilities.

What If Someone Stole Your Website?

database codesIf you have a business, chances are you own a website. What will you do if someone stole it from you? If you depend on your Uniform Resource Locator (URL), someone else can control your website’s domain name and from there, other things could happen. The perpetrator could actually control all of the site’s content. The person could even rerouted the content to any location he or she chooses.

Getting your site back will not be easy but it is worth the fight. Here are the things you could do when someone steals your website.

  • Look for the email address of the offending website. If you can’t find the email address, go to WHO IS to know the registrant. Who Is will help you in providing the website’s owner, and other relevant details. Take the list of all the contact information.
  • Know who is hosting the offending website. You can verify it by using WHO IS HOSTING THIS. Get in touch with them. No decent company would want to deal with piracy.
  • Use the Way Back Machine and review all the past reviews on your web site. This is a proof that your website has been online longer than the offending website.
  • Furnish a link to the Google Cache to show that the Google Spiders found your content earlier as compared to the offending site.
  • Do screenshots of all the materials that were copied. In cases where a whole site was copied, save the source code to compare it with what you have.
  • Gather all the proofs and evidence. This will include screenshots, the dates that the users commented on your blog in answer to the original post.
  • Have your MySQL records.
  • Get all the original graphics and images, preferably unedited and include the file date.
  • Gather the backups of your site in the past including the modified dates.

The next step is to contact the perpetrator. It is important to let the person know that he or she has done a major mistake and you know about it. Your reason for this are:

  • To let the person know of the theft.
  • Ask for the person to remove, modify, make correction and ask for compensation.
  • Open a communication between you and the perpetrator.
  • Let the person know that you have gathered information.
  • And that there is a paper trail of enough evidence.

Start the conversation with the thief carefully maintaining a professional tone and attitude even if the respond is unprofessional. Give them a chance to tell their side of the story and change their ways. Do not threaten and continue to be professional and this might be solved faster than you think. If all was done and yet no positive result, it is time to consult a lawyer.

To avoid future problem, choose a stronger password and make sure you change it from time to time. Use another computer just in case someone in your household by chance clicked malicious links. Use an antivirus software and constantly scan your computer for spywares. You can also get a Cyber Risk insurance. Prevention is better than losing what you have built online.