How To Protect Your Copyright Online
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.
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.