Please Don’t Steal My Content

an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa

One of the pitfalls of blogging is that sometimes people steal your content. They cut, paste, point and click their way from your blog to some other place online and pass off your work as their own. It is not right. It is not cool and there is no excuse for it.

Earlier today I discovered that someone has taken an entire post of mine and reproduced it on their blog. Since they provided a link back to my blog I’ll grant them the benefit of the doubt and say that it wasn’t malicious in nature. But that doesn’t make it right. I am not interested in hearing about how I might benefit by traffic that they could send me or any excuse that is remotely close to that.

If you want to reproduce my work you need to make prior arrangements with me. I get paid to write and I take my work seriously. You are not granted license to take my work without compensating me or working out some other arrangement. If you don’t do that than you are STEALING my work.

Please don’t steal my work. It is easy to reach me. This blog offers access to me in a half dozen different ways. Don’t STEAL my work. Do the right thing and take it down immediately.

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  1. RSA Certificate September 27, 2011 at 12:31 am

    It upsets me too when people grab conent. you do everything you can to get original content – that’s costs money and time. It then gets ranked in google and then people rip it off. Should just make up copyright notices and send them to ICANN they have to do something about it.

  2. israel.kendall September 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Some people seem to think if they post a “source” link then it’s not stealing…IT IS. +1’d by the way.

  3. TheJackB September 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    @Hajra It is hard to stop them but we have to make a concerted effort to do so. It is part of the reason that I keep a Creative Commons license on my site. I want to make sure that there is notice here. It is not foolproof, but we have to do what we can.

  4. Hajra September 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Hey Jack,

    The same thing happened to me during the earlier days of my blogging! Once I wrote a contest guest post and just for kicks I copied the first para and googled it… and guess what I found the SAME post on another site. I did report and asked the blog owner to take it down. Wishes I could have done something more furious but sometimes you just have to make pact that people steal! And it is hard stopping them!

  5. 3HatsComm September 3, 2011 at 10:30 am

    @TheJackB I know some sites like SMT you join, add your RSS feed so it’s opt in. Others.. IDK, I’m with you on asking first, getting permission.

  6. TheJackB September 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

    @3HatsComm When I first started blogging I was ignorant of the “rules” and took gigantic sections of content for my posts. I always provided attribution and for a long time I thought that was ok.

    I have come to believe otherwise. The question of how much you can cut and paste without prior permission is subjective. Now I try to use far less.

    I didn’t see that discussion you referred to but I can see how it might be intriguing. If you are trying to build your blog and a larger “entity” starts to promote your material there can be some real benefit to it.

    The question is at what point it changes from help to something other. Ultimately prior approval goes a long way to solving some of these questions/problems.

  7. 3HatsComm September 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Stealing – republishing wholesale my work without any credit, link or mention, I don’t think it’s happened to me yet. If and when it does, you best believe I’ll be hella pissed. Now I’ve been reblogged, with credit and back links; I’d rather they asked permission and left comments open so I could say something but I can deal with that. I’ve of course quoted sections from other blogs, always with links and attribution.

    There was a discussion on the aggregate/republishing sites on Google+ the other day.. especially if you’re a bigger name blogger, do you syndicate – if that’s the right word – to sites like Social Media Today? Think it’s a catch: when you’re growing a blog, being promoted by them is great for exposure but then that’s rare; they make and keep their audience high be reblogging the best of the best. Anyway part of that debate was whether or not it’s stealing if – even when they give you full credit and links – for an aggregate site to popup and start reposting your stuff without permission? I think it sort of is – should always be asked first. But again, theirs that whole credit/exposure thing too. Now I’m thinking….. FWIW.

  8. MSchechter September 3, 2011 at 5:23 am

    @TheJackB Good time! Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t accidentally pissing in anyone’s cheerios!

    Will do on the excessive praise! You wonderful writer you. Simply the best in the world 🙂

  9. TheJackB September 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    @Joanne Cipressi I have encountered a number of people who plead ignorance and said that they didn’t understand that what they were doing was wrong. When I asked them to adjust their blogs they heeded my wishes and went about their way.

    But their have been others who didn’t respond and forced me to work harder to have the information removed. As far as I know I have had it all expunged, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I was wrong.

  10. TheJackB September 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    @MSchechter I don’t have a problem with excerpts being taken for the purpose of commenting upon them. My issue usually stems from having entire posts lifted and used without regard for appropriate compensation.

    Friends are different- I usually am much looser in my approach and am happy if they want to use sections of my work. Give me a link and a couple of lines praising me as the greatest writer you have ever met.

  11. Joanne Cipressi September 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I have had whole posts copied in the past from both of my main sites and it is frustrating as there is much thought and energy that goes into most articles. I have also found paragraphs of my tips mentioned in forums without a back link, while others provide my website as their reference point. Of course, the latter is most appreciated.

    Giving us a back link is not enough…because the duplicate content can go against you SEO wise. I always contact people who are copying me. So far, its been positive as they deleted their blogs and apologized.

  12. MSchechter September 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Wanted to ask your thoughts about curation. I’ve stolen from here a few times, but with the intent of 1) Capturing it for myself for posterity and 2) sharing it with others. You talk about long form copying, but I’d love to hear your thoughts (and would hate to think that I abused your content (that sounded dirtier than I meant it to)).

  13. TheJackB September 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    @bdorman264 Bill, my parents met in Ecuador so I grew up in a multilingual house and would have recognized my stuff. Yo habla espanol. Ok, not nearly as well as I used to but I get along.

    Actually I wouldn’t mind if you got traffic from it, always happy to help a friend.

    Over time I have learned to be aggressive in protecting my content. These posts are like my own children and someone needs to supervise them.

  14. TheJackB September 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    @M_oa_SD Glad to here that they got rid of it. This theft of intellectual property really irritates me. It is one thing to “quote” a section or sections and another to just pretend that it is your own.

  15. TheJackB September 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    @dino_dogan Hey Dino, that sounds like a reasonable tactic. I have been lucky that not much has been stolen or at least I am not aware of it. Every so often I stumble onto it and do my best to try and have it removed.

  16. bdorman264 September 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Oops, I didn’t mean to link it back. How in the heck do you think I got any traffic; I’ve been using your posts for months. If you weren’t so distracted with your move you probably would have recognized some of them. Of course, I’m posting them in Spanish but it still seems to get the same effect.

    I hear ya though, especially if you do get paid for your writing. That would be an interesting dilemma indeed if I ever encountered it. I would probably be flattered at this point……….

  17. M_oa_SD September 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I had an iPhone app review post stolen from me once, too. They didn’t even give me a link, though. They made some lame attempt at giving me credit at the end, but then did a hack job at my name. I petitioned Google and they removed it from search results because I could prove that it was mine. I hope it got their site blacklisted.

  18. dino_dogan September 2, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I’ve only shared this with one other person, but one of the reasons I say fuck and shit on my blog is so that internet bandits are less likely to steal it.

    If someone is trying to pass themselves off as a half respectable site, they will try to manage their image by stealing content thats “clean”….thats my theory at least. So far so good. 🙂

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