Article by Wendy McCance
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney or any type of expert in copyright law and can not give legal advice. I am a writer who had an experience with some stolen material. Below is my story and how I handled it. I am sharing this information with you to share an experience I had and presenting an issue that exists when putting content on the web. If you ever find yourself in this position, you should always check with an expert in such matters if you are unsure of what to do.
I was updating some old posts on my blog. Checking to make sure I was using the right tags and focus words. I was also adding some related content from Zemanta. If you aren’t familiar with Zemanta, it is a great tool to give your readers other great content to read by pointing them in the direction of other articles available on other blogs. It was while using Zemanta that I found my first stolen article.
I noticed an article that had the exact same title as the article I was updating. I was curious as to why the article had the same title so I went to the blog. I was shocked to find not one, but four articles taken from my site. The person who created the blog was so bold that the articles were word for word, the titles were almost always the same and even the theme used for the template was the same as my old blog.
To add insult to injury, one of the articles detailed a very personal article I had written about my divorce, remarriage and how I was dealing with fibromyalgia. All the intimate details were still intact.
These were really old articles. They were written and originally posted on my old site. The articles are still available on my new site, but with one difference, I use Digiprove now. Digiprove is a plugin that makes copy and paste something you can’t do on this blog. It makes stealing content more difficult. It also lets you know that the articles are copyrighted material.
When I realized that the articles on this other blog were mine, I wrote in the comment section that the person was in violation of the copyright and that they would have to delete the material immediately. I also let them know in the comment that I was contacting Zemanta and WordPress about this violation.
The blog that was using my material is also a WordPress blog. I wrote to WordPress support and was directed to a Dispute Resolution and Reporting page. I was able to email them and explain what I had found. There is a full-page of information on how they handle such a situation. Basically they will investigate and if they find a violation, they will contact the owner of the site and let them know about the complaint and then suspend the blog.
I am unsure as of yet what Zemanta will do, but I am sure they won’t be thrilled to know that a Zemanta user is stealing content.
The thing that really stands out to me is that it served this blogger no good purpose. They had no comments or any sign of traffic on their site. There was just nothing they got out of taking the content. I just don’t get it.
In closing, I would like to say for the millionth time that I am a huge WordPress fan. I appreciate that they have such definite rules in place and won’t tolerate anyone using other people’s content.
I would also like to mention that Zemanta really is a great tool to use. It is a great way to share other people’s blogs and articles and vice versa. You get more traffic because if someone hits on the related posts, Zemanta will direct you right to their personal site to read the article.
Lastly, I am grateful for using the Digiprove plugin. It reassures me that content that has been created since I began to use the new website will not be taken quite so easily or as often.
I hope this information was informative. Just something to put out their to get you thinking about how to protect your own material. If you have any stories of having to deal with stolen content, I would be happy to hear from you.
note: Zemanta, WordPress and Digiprove are not sites I get any money from. Stating how I feel about them is just truly my opinion and not because I will get anything out of it.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org