Content Theft: Stealing Blogs and Articles

Some people steal other author’s work on the Internet thinking as long as they give that person credit it’s not theft; they are wrong. You are taking money out of another writer’s pocket.

There are many titles for this practice: copy thieves, copyright thieves, content theft.

Did you know there is a band called Article Thieves? Weird.

How online writers make money.

First we have to understand how Internet bloggers and article authors make their income. This is a mystery to those who aren’t in the business so I’ll try to explain it in simple terms. There is a lot of SEO, keyword and marketing mumbo jumbo but we won’t go into that here.

Websites they own


Some own their own website; they paid a designer to create a page or they are one of the clever ones who know how to do it themselves. They are allowed to make changes and write whatever they choose within reason of course.

In many cases writers have a site set up through Blogger, Wordpress or a host of other blogsites. They still own them but there are rules they have to follow. Most are pretty lenient. You can set up ads and write on any subject you desire as long as you don’t steal other people’s work, defame another person’s character or write adult material in an open format. You can still write erotic material you just have to make sure your readers sign in as adults before viewing.

Revenue from Ads


Not all bloggers do this and even if they don’t have advertisements and aren’t trying to make any income what so ever from their writing, you should not steal their work. They own it and you have no right to take it, period.

Websites like HubPages share the income with authors. We get more of a percentage from the ads that are imbedded in our articles than we do the advertisements out to the side.

Blog websites belong to us; we set them up however we want. There are widgets, wallpaper and design options for making a site look any way you desire. We can even pay a webmaster to improve it. We set up our own ads and we get all the profits; Blogger doesn’t take a cut.

Some ads, like Google Adsense, are based on clicks so if a person clicks on the ad the author gets money whether the customer buys anything or not but some require that a person actually purchases something; Amazon is like that.

Stealing another writer’s income


When you take another person’s work, you take money they would have made on that story. You not only affect the traffic the real article will get but also the views of your stolen story.

Google places a title in the search line-up based upon how many views and requests for that subject. They also delete duplicate content. Sometimes an author’s work will be seen as a copy even though they are the creator. When there is another story very similar in content, Google moves both pieces of work further down the line because they are no longer unique.

Competition drives down status even if it is our own work. This is why it’s not a good idea for an author to write too many articles similar in content. It can sometimes help but in many cases it can hinder traffic and revenue.

Some thieves set up a website and steal from many authors. These guys do this for a living and move around as they get caught changing names, ISP: Internet Service Provider and locations. They are well versed in SEO and some make a good living leeching off of others. They have no talent themselves and feed off of other people’s hard work.

Thieves only steal from the best.


If you ever have your work stolen consider yourself up with the big boys. These guys don’t waste their time on articles that won’t make them money so if you have your work taken you must be pretty good. I’m not saying you should be flattered, by any stretch of the imagination but it is a pat on the back and lets you know you’ve risen in the ranks and now have to watch your back at all times. Try not to lose sleep over it and as time goes by you get used to it. I don’t mean we get comfortable with it but we become more alert and find ways to combat these hoodlums.

The best way to keep up with what is going on is to interact with other writers and help each other out. If you see copied work let the author know and they’ll do the same for you. It’s how we survive in this wild world of writing.

What do you do?

Read all the time. Those days when you can’t come up with anything new to write work on research not only for more articles but protecting the work you already have out there.

Search for subjects that are like your work. If while perusing articles you see another writer’s work, let them know immediately. We are all in this together and need each other to keep a look out.

Don’t just search for the title, many times they steal your story and give it a new heading. This is mostly due to URL reasons. Each blog or article has it’s own URL: Uniform Resource Locator so they have to come up with a name that isn’t already being used. Take major sentences or subjects from your piece and put that in the search bar and see what comes up.

How do you get them to remove your work?

Leave a comment and send them an email asking them to remove your story. If this doesn’t work proceed to the next steps.

Let other writers know in forums, in blogs and via email. We back each other up and report them to the proper authorities and also send emails. Mass comments on their site from writers letting their audience know the blogger is a thief can help.

Blogger and Wordpress have rules against this behavior so send them a notification if the thief is using them for their content.

Google Adsense also has rules against this. Thieves are in it for money so find out who their ad providers are and notify them.

Social networking sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are good ways to get the word out that you’ve found a thief. Be careful though because if you leave their website everywhere you will be giving them free publicity and you don’t want that.

Do you need to pay for a copyright?


No. A copyright is created once a piece of work is fixed into a tangible medium of expression. The minute you hit that save button and your story is on your hard drive, it belongs to you. You have proof of ownership and that is all you need in a court of law.

So don’t waste your money paying a lawyer; we all know writers are starving artists and need every penny we make.

Some post the copyright symbol on each piece of work with the date they created it; this will deter some amateur thieves but the pros don’t care. You have every right to do this because legally you do have a copyright.

Selling articles or blogs/editorial stories to online magazines and websites: Freelance


Some writers also sell stories and when that happens we no longer own them nor is it our responsibility although some of us will still let our client know if we see a copy of our work elsewhere in cyber land. They sometimes resell a piece to another news site so it’s possible it is a legitimate exchange but still good to let them know.

Adding links is usually okay.

Writers don’t usually have a problem with you adding a link to their work or website but it’s always best to ask. Most of us are tickled to death for the free advertising.

Some might not agree with your platform and prefer not to be associated with your work so when in doubt drop them an email just to make sure.

Plagiarism

Some people confuse plagiarism with content theft. They think it’s okay if they copy your work since they list your name.

According to definr.com definition website:

Plagiarism: 1: a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.
2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own.

Content stealing is getting credit from another writer. You are getting revenue even though you listed the original author’s name. You are presenting work as your own so it is a form of plagiarism.

Students give a bibliography at the end of a paper or report with author’s names giving credit where credit is due but you still can’t write word for word; it’s why teachers always tell kids to put their report in their own words.

Don’t be a thief

Writing isn’t easy; it’s hard work. Those of us who do it for a living rely on our imagination, knowledge and skills for income. If you are not good at writing, find what you are good at and focus on your talents. Stealing is lazy and wrong. Not everyone can be a good writer even after years of trying. It is partly about skill but mostly talent; some have it and most don’t.

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Comments 55 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

This is a must have; and you have laid it all out well and it's so easy to understand.

I am bookmarking this one.

Take care

Eddy.


Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

Thank you for the research you put into writing this hub. As you say, writing isn't the easiest of way to make a living. I don't think it can be done unless one is passionate about it, and for someone to come along and pinch our hard work is beyond me. The only positive way we can see it I suppose is that if someone thinks our work is good enough to nick, then we're getting somewhere with our writing at least, in saying that I still think its a disgusting and lazy habit. How dare they? Although, I love the you-tube link you have, and really do wanna nick it, I wont though.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Eddy. I had a few people on Facebook asking questions a while back when some of my work was stolen so I thought I'd try and explain it to the layman as well as new writers.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Lesley, that video is a YouTube advertisement for Legos and you are more than welcome to use it as well as any videos I have borrowed from YouTube. Legos and YouTube are making money so they aren't losing anything.


kenwrites profile image

kenwrites 4 years ago from Yreka, California

Great information here. They say "imitation is the greatest form of flattery" however imitation takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to writing. Writing, like any other career, is a skill. Unfortunately, those without the skill tend to life from those that do.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

This is great information for anyone who writes online with the expectation of owning their own writings through copyright. It would be helpful to mention the DMCA reporting process under "How do you get them to remove your work?" Voted up and useful.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Kenwrites, there are many kinds of thieves and people will steal anything of value.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sally, you are so right. I meant to add the DMC protocol but forgot. I'll add that in later. As it is this almost turned into a short story it was so wordy.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

People have to start thinking that content theft is no different than stealing a car or breaking into a house to steal.

Too bad the law doesn't see it that way either.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Uninvited Writer, we have to get a lawyer and sue but we can get restitution.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Pamela, thank you for writing such an informative Hub. It is very useful for new writers.

Nobody should be a copy-paste writer. Please have a look at: http://hubpages.com/literature/Never-Be-a-Copy-Pas... (Never Be a Copy Paste Writer)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I meant DMCA.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 4 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

Voted up. In fact, this one is soooo good, I'm copying it over to my own account. LOL!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

lol You are so funny, Man from Modesto. Glad you found it a good read.


Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Thank you, Pamela. Very nicely done, and I am bookmarking this. To going as low as stealing a writer's work? I can't understand it, but usually those who can't write or are too lazy to develop their own writing style will do it. Shame on them! Stealing is stealing. Voted up and everything else.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Arlene. There are people who look for the easy way out to make a few bucks we just have to be a step ahead of them.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Great hub! It amazes me that some people think it's ok to plagiarize. We kick students out of the university for this (and it goes on their permanent record).


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

Great information explained in an easy way! Very useful hub for all that writes on Internet. Theft of every kind makes me so upset! Voted up, useful

Tina


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Kris, I've heard that kids do that frequently and with the internet it is easier all the time. One of my son's is a great writer and a professor accused him of plagiarism because his papers were so good. Sadly he doesn't enjoy writing because he would be great.

Thoughtforce, it's a shame but unfortunately goes on all the time.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I try to remind myself the content thief must think my work is good if they stole it, but after awhile it becomes annoying. Doing several DMCA filings a month gets old. Especially the Chinese websites about shoes that copy my jewelry hubs. Those were just odd, and I still think the guy doing it has a foot fetish.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

So far I haven't had to file a DMCA. Blogger and Google Adsense have helped me get copied content removed.


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

I will link to this hub every time we are dealing with this issue in the forums. You have done an excellent job at illustrating why it is important that we take action against these thieves and also how to do so. Great work!


Rachel Richmond profile image

Rachel Richmond 4 years ago from California

Great topic to write about. Actually, the exact reason why I transitioned videos I make from You Tube to a different platform. The content was being put on another site (several) etc. etc. -- Thanks for the good work.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Thanks for the interesting read. I had some of my articles stolen. Some I was able to get them to remove, some others are out there and I don't have the tenacity or time to go after. I'm quite appalled that some of the content thieves are so blatant--they don't care at all. Thanks for raising the flag and voted up.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Brittany.

Rachel, I haven't used YouTube very much but from what I understand there are ads on them and even if people borrow you clips you get the revenue from them as well as it giving you more views on YouTube. You can also disable the embed feature so people can't use them. Correct me if I'm wrong. Perhaps you should do an article on YouTube videos.

Anginwu, you can file a DMCA complaint. Luckily, I haven't had to do that yet, most take them down after I ask them or Blogger or Google Adsense forced them to.


capricornrising profile image

capricornrising 4 years ago from Wilmington, NC

I didn't realize YouTube had a revenue-sharing program - interesting. Actually, I'm assuming Rachel is talking about folks who fully download then upload her videos somewhere else, bypassing the embed feature. I believe when they do this, the ads go away, as they're specific to YouTube. That's one of the main reasons I either don't put my videos online unless they're password protected, or don't put them up at all. I'm still searching (hoping) for a way to foil even advanced video thieves. Pipe dream...!

An excellent hub - this topic is one I've been very interested in of late (just found 2 of my hubs plagiarized elsewhere).


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Good hub - you wrote it (after that discussion on FB)! I must have 1/2 dozen hubs that have been stolen/copied at one time. It is aggravating and upsetting. Photographs and videos are also targets for content thieves. You are 100% right that no steps need to be taken to copyright work that you have created. This is a very important tip that people need to keep in mind. Rated up!


Jennifer profile image

Jennifer 4 years ago

I have had numerous articles stolen and reprinted elsewhere. After awhile I just ran out of time to track it all and try to get them removed. I should really focus more on that though. Great article!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Capricornrising, that's not cool. I only use ones that have an embed code and make sure the author gets their money. Yes, YouTube has a revenue sharing and that is how some of those people are making money that have many videos. I've thought about trying to do some videos this year because some how-to articles would be so much easier if I could show the steps. I'll have to do more research on it.

Yes, Steph, there was a few friends on Facebook who were confused about the whole article stealing fiasco that happened a few weeks a go so I thought this was the best way to explain it. I hope I succeeded.

Jennifer it is frustrating. At times I feel like a mother hen chasing down all her chicks. The more we write the more we have to protect.


thejeffriestube profile image

thejeffriestube 4 years ago from United States

Definately an eye-opener. Just proves that as writers we have to constantly be on guard to prevent theft, not just to our own work, but the work of others. The Internet is still not very civilized. Reminds me of the Old West. :-)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

thejeffriestube, it is like the old west and someday will be monitored better but that could be good and bad.


iain-mars profile image

iain-mars 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Oh I hate people that steal content!! I saw a website a while ago that showed how to check whether your content has been stolen anywhere but can't seem to find it now! Even with websites like this out there, people could still flip the content and these sites wouldn't pick it up! Hopefully one day we'll be able to produce content and not have it stolen 5 minutes later?


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Lain-mars, there are online companies that will do it for you for a price but I hesitate to use them because I can see sinking all my profits into something like that. Not sure it is worth it.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This is a great hub. I am amazed at the number of people who think it isn't stealing as long as they mention the source. Copying and pasting is just so easy that it seems ok to do it.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Millionare Tips, in school kids are taught if they give the author's name it isn't plagiarism but they need to realize that online articles and writing is different. Quoting a few paragraphs in a book for a term paper isn't quite same as copying an entire story from someone's website.


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 4 years ago from West Coast

Great hub! Having your stuff stolen is so annoying but you made me feel so much better saying that they only steal from the best ;) This was very helpful!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Triplet Mom. We all have to stay vigilant about this problem.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Thank-you for pointing out the difference between these two terms. A lot of people don't think that content copying is wrong. I do not understand such reasoning.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Flora. Yes, copying another person's work is illegal and can get you kicked off major websites as well as lose revenue privileges.


maxravi profile image

maxravi 4 years ago from India

Nice hubs.I too faced many times when my content got stolen.we may claim our original article and then the other person will remove it.But practically to chase everyone who stolen your content and chase him is a daunting task.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

It is a lot of work to keep track of it all, maxravi, but unfortunately we have to in this field of work.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

This is just an excellent article on the subject--clear and concise. Thank you!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Audrey.


csheal6249 4 years ago

This is so realistic of today's cyber content thefts. A lot has to be done to curb it, but your informative explanations and advice's will help writers prosper. Very well done, Pamela.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, csheal6249, we are all in this together and need each other's help.


senderwollas profile image

senderwollas 4 years ago from Earth :)

I thought content theft was over when the Panda Update appeared...


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Senderwollas, there will always be content thieves and we have to always be watchful. Panda was a Google change and had nothing to do with stealing people's writing.


JohnCW profile image

JohnCW 4 years ago from United States

Great Hub. That's why I love HubPages, they are very restrictive to violations. And, I hate duplicate content and stealing ideas.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

JohnCW, it's one of the hazards of being an online writer but I still love it. HubPages helps keep us covered but you still have to do your own checking. The web is a huge place and they don't catch everything.


rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 4 years ago from NY

Thanks Pamela this was very helpful, its just so sad that people actually do this.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

It is sad, rpalulis. Some people don't have talent so they steal from those who do.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Some of the articles I published in a certain site were stolen. I had just began writing online so I thought it okay since I was given credit and link to the site where it was originally published. But now I'm thinking professionally and I'm not going to allow this to happen.

Thanks for sharing your expertise.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Vinaya, they are making money from your work and you shouldn't allow anyone to do that. Thanks for reading.


Keri Summers profile image

Keri Summers 4 years ago from West of England

I'm so glad to see these things being discussed. I think a lot of the time, people don't see the harm, but they're not in the writer's shoes, and not putting themselves in our position. Although I realise what you're talking about is far more calculated. But also, I see some fantastic hubs sometimes, and then my stomach sinks to see watermarked photos, or original (and even uncredited) contemporary artwork "I found online" and so forth. I think many of these Hubbers would be horrified to know the equal distress they are causing the owners of visual artworks. So I think that the debate and educational element here is really important. We need a copyright-literate web community. Gosh, I think I had a bit of a soapbox moment. Didn't mean to get carried away, but copyright can be an emotive issue can't it? Up & Awesome (I wish there was a button to vote 'important', I might suggest it).


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Keri, you are right about photos. It's hard to keep work safe anytime you post it online. I've had my photo stolen a couple of times and someone was using it as their avatar. It's weird to surf around and find your own picture being used by someone else. We have so much to keep up with as online professionals.

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