Today Swapna from S. Krishna’s Books and I are presenting Part II in our three part series on Copyright and the Blogger. In case you missed our posts from Monday, Swapna and I both defined Fair Use versus Copyright Infringement. Today we’re going to discuss ways you can check to see your work has been stolen or used improperly by others. You can read Swapna’s post here.
I have to admit that I haven’t actively pursued discovering whether my content is being used improperly by others before. I just haven’t had the time. I knew about it if the other party included a link back to my post. Then, I didn’t know what if anything to do. Now, the more I think about it, though, the more I need to make it a priority. I may not write anything earth shattering, but it’s my writing. It is the product of hours of my own time. I need to start valuing that enough to protect it.
Since I don’t have much experience of my own, I’m glad that I had the foresight to ask readers about their experiences. They are relatively painless and, based on the stories I received, worthwhile. Here are some steps you can take to identify misappropriated content:
- Google Alerts: Set up a Google alert for your blog. If your blog named is mentioned elsewhere, you’ll get notified. They are easy to set up and you can have the information sent to you via email or added to your feed reader.
- Paying Forward Comments: One blogger discovered that someone had copied the format of her book reviews when she visited the other site from a comment on her own. The experience gave her a “Single White Female” feeling, but it helped her nip something in the bud as well. So, when you leave a comment for a comment, you may be doing yourself a favor.
- Site Stealing Content from Other Bloggers: If you hear that a spam site has been scraping content from other bloggers, there’s always the possibility that it’s happening to you. Check out this other site or search it for titles from your posts.
- Google Search: You can always copy a title or a paragraph from your posts and search on Google. Titles may work, but entire paragraphs would probably be best. If another site turns up after searching for an entire paragraph, that’s not good news.
- Incoming Links: As I mentioned above, checking your incoming links is another simple way of identifying when another site has absconded with your content.
- Word of Mouth: Your regular readers may run across copies of your work and let you know. This is the “best” way to find out in that it affirms that others appreciate your work.
In addition to those ideas for identifying copyright infringement, you can learn a lot simply by reading other people’s experiences. Swapna is discussing hers this week. Kathleen, a friend from way back when I first started blogging and who used to blog under Kathleen’s Book Reviews, dropped me an email after reading Monday’s post. She went through this experience back in 2008. Here are links to two posts she wrote:
Do you know of other ways to identify copyright infringement on the web? I know we would all appreciate hearing from you.