Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Handle Copyright Infringement

Last night I received an email from a distraught blogger who was the victim of copyright infringement asking if the copyright page on one of my blogs was effective.  There are two aspects to copyright.  First establish your copyright and second protect it.  How?

  • establish copyright - Technically copyright is established the moment you write your post.  It is yours, you're intellectual property.  In the event of copyright infringement you may want to strengthen your proof of copyright.  Go to MyFreeCopyright.com and sign your blog RSS feed up.  Each time you post, a time stamped registered copy of your post will be emailed to you.  You now have registered proof of when your post was made.
  • mark your work - At the very least your blog as a whole should be marked with your copyright and/or a brief blurb to the effect no content can be used without your permission.  Place the copyright notice on the landing page of your blog.  You can add an additional copyright policy page and/or copyright mark on each post.
  • prevention -  You cannot stop copyright infringement online but you can deter it.  Add the no right click script to your blog.  This disables the cut & paste via right click.  This tactic really only keeps the honest folk honest because there are ways around it but the person lifting your content has to use extra steps to do so.  Unless you are using some type of traffic building site that uses iframes (eg. BlogExplosion) place the script to prevent using your blog in frames.
  • check regularly for copyright infringement - Copyright infringement often happens without your knowledge.  Use Copyscape to check for where your content may be posted without your permission.  Check your stats as well to reveal where content may be posted without your permission.
If you find your content has been used without your permission there are several ways of dealing with the situation:
  • contact the person - Contact the person who took your content.  Ask them to cease and desist as well as issue a take-down notice under the DMCA.  Chances are this is all you will need to do as most people don't want the hassle of complaints that they have stolen someone's content.
  • if your content is not removed:
    •  complain to their blog host - Blog hosts take a very dim view on copyright infringement so are very quick to act.  They will notify their user to remove your content and they may even shut down the blog.  
    • complain to their ISP - Aside of a blog host the person needs an ISP.  Copyright infringement is against the AUP and TOS of most ISPs. Use your stats logs to determine the offender's ISP then send them a letter of complaint.  Most content thieves will remove the content in question rather than risk having to find a new ISP.
    • check for any advertising on the blog - Advertisers especially Adsense have strict rules against using copyright content without permission of the copyright holder.  Click on the bar that says the name of the advertiser (eg. Ads by Google).  That will take you to a form where you can file a complaint against the blog or site that has your unauthorized content displayed.  Click on copyright infringement.  Adsense will take it from there and chances are excellent their Adsense account will be history.
    • report the blog/site to Google - Google's recent algorithm change was directed at content farms.  If the blog or site has taken your content without your permission chances are very good they have done the same with other content.  Google can easily check to see which is the original content and act accordingly.  A complaint to Google can result in the blog or site being penalized by reduced Page Rank or being banned by Google.  Both of these actions dramatically reduces traffic to the blog or site reducing any earning potention that might have been.
    • be persistent - Complain, complain, complain!

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