Sue Waters is someone I respect and follow, on her blog and on Twitter.
So I am mighty interested in her recent post on her advice if you find someone has been stealing content from your own blog – “How Do You Feel When Someone Copies and Pastes Your Post?”
Here are a few choice extracts that mean something to me, in my everyday role and blogging activity, but I strongly recommend you read her original article on the link above;
“Firstly if a blogger doesn’t include a Creative Commons license it means every thing that is written on their blog or website is automatically copyright. Direct copying of large sections or their complete article is only allowed with permission from that blogger.”
I’ve been a victim of this at times; once or twice it has helped and been beneficial to me, on one occasion it got me into a whole heap of trouble!
“It’s not fine to copy an entire post written by another person, even if they use a Creative commons license, and even if you have attributed them as the original source, unless they have given you permission.”
Again, this has happened to posts of mine; sometimes attributed to me (thank you) and sometimes a plain rip-off word for word (even the same spelling mistakes were visible!!).
“It’s generally a new person that gets caught out copy/pasting content because they aren’t aware that it isn’t appropriate. Your best approach is to contact them privately, by email if possible, to request them to remove your content and explain the reasons why. Remember they are new and they didn’t realise.”
Not always, but quite often the “rip-off”, for want of a better phrase, isn’t intended as malicious or underhand, but I agree with Sue that a politely worded email of phone call asking either for the copied text to be properly attributed or removed will work.
Isn’t this just basic ‘Netiqutte’?
One way I have ‘copyrighted’ my content is to use the services of Tracer, from Tynt (see my “What’s being copied from your website” post from July 2009).
“Tracer tracks when users copy content from your web site and automatically adds a link back to the original page when your content is pasted. So, why do you need Tracer?”
And this is who it looks when you paste the copied text into the text editor in WordPress;
The text is pasted with the accompanying ‘Source/Read more’ link, and part of the Tracer system allows you to set what kind of Creative Commons License you want applied to your work. The person copying the work from you can easily remove this text but, again, it’s considered bad form, but doesn’t detract from the fact that the license remains.
When you think about copyright of text you find on the website think about the copyright about the printed word (books, novels, textbook, etc) … it’s the same.