As a blogger, you must have applied so many measures on your blog to prevent plagiarizers from copying your content. Perhaps, you have disabled the right click, integrated automatic backlink addition in copied content, watermarked your images, put a copyright protected tag, tweaked your RSS feeds etc. However, despite all these efforts, let's accept the truth, it's not possible to 100% safeguard your content from being copied.
Content thieves are always going to find a way to steal your content and this affects your content SEO to a great extent. If they cannot copy and paste, they will read it and then copy it word by word. So there is always a loophole and you cannot shut them all. You can't stop someone from reading your blog. Come on, would you even want this?
Here, the major concern is not safeguarding the content from being copied, but to adopt the measures after it is copied. Measures which will help you to get rid of the plagiarizers for good.
Here in this article, we are going to discuss, what you should do if you find that someone has copied or stolen your content.
But before that, you have to know if your content has been actually copied by someone.
How to know if your content has been copied?
There is hardly any tool available specifically to detect if your content has been copied by someone. There are some plagiarism checker tools which will show if a content on your website matches with any other content on the internet. But most of the time, they might fail as they are not able to crawl everywhere on the web so quickly.
One of the best options that I find here is the Google Alerts. Google Alerts is not a copied content checker, but it can be used with some tweaks to generate specific alerts that can help. It is a service that generates search results based on the personalized filters and conditions and delivers the results to your email inbox. This service has many other purposes such as monitoring the Internet for specific information about any specific topic, detecting your content popularity etc.
Setting up a Google Alert
Go to Google Alerts website where you will see this Google Alerts homepage page:
Enter the search strings you want Google alerts to track for you. Here, enter the search terms that apply to your content and niche. For example, if you want to track your blog post written about "how to remove bad links from your site", you can enter the keywords like removing bad links, unnatural links, link removal techniques, etc.
PS: You can enter multiple keywords, separated by a comma.
Now you can create your alert by simply Clicking on the "CREATE ALERT" button. However, here we should use some advanced options as well, as we don't want irrelevant results to fill our inbox.
So let's create some advanced filters to make the search results more relevant.
At the right side of the "Create Alert" button, there is a small link that says "Show Options". Click on it to open an option block which looks like this:
Here, you have five different options. With these options you can do the following:
Here you can choose how often you want to receive the alerts- Instantly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly.
Here you can choose the type of search results you want to be tracked. You have 8 options to choose from. We will choose 'Blog' and the 'Web' for our content tracking purpose here.
Select the language in which you write your contents. This setting will deliver the results matched with your chosen language only. So, we will choose English here.
Here you can choose the countries and regions from where the search results will be tracked. If you are certain about bloggers from generally which country copy your content then you can choose that region in the option. Otherwise, keep it for all the regions. That would be better.
With this option, you can further refine the alerts in terms of relevancy. Keep it "Only the best results" for more relevant results.
- Now, that you have filtered your alert, it's time we create it. Enter the email address where you want to receive the alerts, and hit the "Create Alert" button.
That’s it we have created an alert now. Similarly, you can create as many alerts as per your need. You can also delete an alert if you do not wish to receive it anymore. Moreover, you can also export the alerts in CSV format in addition to receiving them at your email address.
Things to do after your content was copied
There are two terms associated with the content theft or copying- Plagiarism and Copyright infringement. If someone copies your content without your consent and still mention your copy as the source of it, you cannot hold him for plagiarism. However, you can still contact him and ask to take it down on Copyright infringement grounds.
So, if you think someone has copied your content and you do not want it to remain online, you must first decide the grounds on which you are going to approach.
Before that, you must also collect evidence as much as possible. Screen-shots, documents, images anything would be helpful.
- First, send a friendly email asking them to remove the copied content.
- If is doesn't work, send an email to their host company and indicate them about the copyright infringement. Send every evidence you have.
- If the blogger is using a hosted platform such as Blogspot, Wordpress.com, Tumblr etc, report the issue to the platforms.
- For contacting and approaching the bloggers, host, and platforms, always use the email address associated with your domain only. This gives a genuineness to your request. (use “email@example.com”; not “firstname.lastname@example.org”)
File a DMCA Complaint at last
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the last resort that you can take if all your wise approaches were ignored by the offenders. It's a useful way to de-index the plagiarizers, who stole your work and not responsive to your polite approaches.
Google provides an option to fill a DMCA complaint when someone copies your content without your consent or giving you a credit. If you have enough evidence that you are the original owner of the content, go for DMCA complaint so that Google will de-index the offenders from its search results.
Step 1: Go to Google DMCA complaint form.
Step 2: Fill in the Contact information as asked in the form:
- Always give your original details in the Contact Information form.
- Avoid using any screen name or alias. Use your original Full Name.
- In "Copyright holder you represent", mention your original association with the copyright. Choose self if you yourself hold the copyright. Add other options if you represent someone who holds the copyright.
Step 3: In next step, on the same page, in "YOUR COPYRIGHTED WORK" section, first describe your copy of the work comprehensible. Give every detail of your work images, texts everything. Don't forget to include a link to your original work here.
Next, in the section of "Where can we see an authorized example of the work?” write down all the URLS from your site that were taken by the plagiarizers to copy your content.
Step 4: In the next step, in “Location of infringing material” section, enter all the URLs where you can find your copied content. These are the URLs of the plagiarizers’ pages where they have put the content copied from you.
Step 5: That's it your DMCA complaint is almost finished here. You just need to fill up some details in the "SWORN STATEMENTS” section, and it will be done.
Step 6: After submitting the request, you will receive a confirmation email from Google. It will also show the list if all the URLs that you have submitted and their statuses respectively.
If everything was done correctly as explained here, Google will get back to you very soon. Google is too serious about the DMCA complaints and is consistent in replying back.
So, this is how you can determine the copied contents from your website and handle the plagiarizers. Filing a DMCA complaint is the last resort you should take, in case if the plagiarizers don't listen to your polite requests to remove the content. Moreover, be always assured that you have enough of the evidence to prove your copyright. Also, be a little patient with your DMCA request, Google will surely respond you back if your complaint is genuine. Till then, have good faith and all the best for your content marketing.