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How To Protect Your Copyright Online

Updated on December 30, 2008

Enough With Your Jibber Jabber - Tell Me How I Can Get That Fool That Stole My Content!

Now granted, often when your content is stolen you won't get accreditation and you may not get a back link. This is the worst case of content theft, and it offers very little value for you. However, for every person who steals in this fashion, there are more who will give you back links and accreditation. If you wish to fight those who steal and offer nothing in return, you can always contact the host of the site and report the owner for stolen content. This is often quite effective in having stolen content removed. Learn how to run a 'whois' search on domains. This will provide you with the domain registrar at the very least, and at best, with the name and address of the site owner. You can then take direct, real world action against the offender.

Copyright protection is a huge issue online. Producers of content, such as my fellow writers at Hub Pages, and those writers who work on sites around the globe are constantly facing the problem of plagiarism, scraping, and stealing. Many are incensed to find their work appearing on other sites, finding it hard to believe that such blatant and unapologetic theft could exist in such an open medium. Unfortunately, this is the reality that we all have to contend with. The good news is that protecting your content may not be the key to success it once was. Our works no longer exist in a physical world, instead they have been released online where they take on lives of their own, spreading, becoming popular if we are lucky, and generally getting wildly out of control.

A Brave New World

First, the bad news. Major music studios can't protect their content online and they have budgets stretching into the billions. As a small producer of content you are never going to be able to control your content either. As soon as you accept that the playing field has changed forever, you will be able to take advantage of the opportunities which this new world offers writers.

We no longer own our content in the traditional sense. Sure, if someone steals your content and blatantly makes millions from it you can still sue, but more realistically it is likely that your content will be scraped and stolen by small timers. Fortunately this can actually work to your advantage.

Introducing Your Friend - The Back Link

Back links rule the Internet and are the currency by which sites thrive or fail. (Search engines measure how good a site is by how many people link back to it.) By putting links into your copy, you are automatically creating back links when it is stolen. If it is stolen by the dreaded site with higher PR than yours and begins to rank better than you in search engines, guess what? You just got a relatively high value link. You need those links more than you needed your content to remain yours, languishing in obscurity in some little visited corner of the Internet.

Encourage Thieves

That's right. By encouraging thieves you encourage the spread of your ideas, and the spread of your ideas is what will ultimately make you profitable and successful. There are billions of sites on the Internet, and people will only ever visit a very small number of them. The more your work and ideas spread (with accreditation, of course), the more likely it is that you will develop a following of your own. Once you develop this following you will actually become less vulnerable to content theft.

It is usually relatively small time writers who are most vulnerable to theft. Because they are unknown, when their copy is stolen nobody notices. People who have spend time building a social profile online, who have shared their ideas and yes, their content widely (sometimes unintentionally), are the ones who find people coming out of the woodwork to fight for them when something is stolen.

Copying isn't the enemy – obscurity is.



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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      There's nothing good about that, that's where a DCMA comes in...

    • profile image

      cmay 8 years ago

      you havent mentioned the bad points. Someone stole some of my ezine articles and added it to their site. They deleted my web links and changed it to their own. I cant see anything good about that.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      I've tried to educate the forum bunnies Misha, but its hopeless really ;) If one wants one's content to stay one's own, carve it on a rock and bury it in the back yard. Thanks for your lovely comments :)

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

      LOL Hope, some our writers otherwise bright completely fail to understand this concept. Look at all that screams on forums :)

      Agree 100%, the more I read you, the more I admire you :)

    • Ken Devonald profile image

      Ken Devonald 9 years ago from Edinburgh

      Thanks for the insights! I wrote a hub after I had some of my articles I posted to a re-publishing site appeared in some really obscure places. (see

      One thing I have noticed on this site is that all the re-published articles are linked back to the ezine articles site. This means that the intermediary site is getting the bulk of the traffic, which doesn't really seem right to me.

    • profile image

      Niche Blueprint 0 9 years ago

      This is a really interesting post. I never thought of some of your concepts. Thanks.