Are People Stealing Your Blog Content?

Published on June 20th, 2009.

If you’ve been blogging for a while you’ve probably had a lot of people stealing your content in various ways. And you’re probably upset about it too. People steal my content every day, be it translations, photos or scraping of my full RSS feed. I used to get very upset about this before, but now I’ve learned to live with it. It’s too time consuming to actually try to do anything about it.

I look at it in a different way now, actually I think it’s pretty stupid for me to get upset about it. And why is that? Basically because I (we) do the exact same thing. We might not be stealing other people’s blog content, but most of us probably use copyrighted photos, download music and other copyrighted material. And that is pretty much the same thing, it’s just a vicious circle of mad people. Nothing good comes out of getting upset about it, period.

Ask yourself, do you really have the right to be mad about it? Do you respect other people’s rights?

upset

So instead of getting upset about it, look at it as an opportunity to grow and reach a new audience. It’s your content so you can do exactly what you want with it. Watermark your photos, link to your site inside posts, do everything you can to make sure that people who are looking at your content from somewhere else, will know that they’re not looking at the original source. Sure, other sites might make a few bucks by using your content, but it’s also free advertising for you, if you take use of the opportunity. If people like what they read, there’s a big chance they’ll check your site out, if they know where your site is located.

This applies to artists too (or the labels in charge). They can either be be upset about their CDs appearing on torrent sites, or they can think of it as free marketing. The CD itself isn’t the only thing you can make money with, use it to advertise the artist and sell other stuff. Just look at some of the big Japanese artists like Koda Kumi and Hamasaki Ayumi, A LOT of people download their CDs but they probably make gazillions of dollars by selling t-shirts, hoodies, slippers, plushies, fans, photocards, tape, you name it.

The Japanese are very clever when it comes to getting the most out of their fans.

opportunity

It’s all about using it as an opportunity, look at it differently, be happy.

A few tips for bloggers who are fighting RSS scraping sites:

  • Don’t fight them, use them.
  • Watermark your photos.
  • If you’re linking to pages on you own site, open them in the current window instead of a new one. That will lead people off the scraping site.
  • Use FeedBurner FeedFlare.
    FeedFlare
    This was taken on a site that scrapes my full RSS feed. The FeedFlare is automatically embedded at the end of every post. You can freely choose what you want to have in the FeedFlare. If your blog is new or just doesn’t do very well on search engines, these sites can be a big threat to you as they’ll get visitors that should end up on your blog. So if your blog is new, it’s even more important to do everything you can to let those visitors know that the’re not where they should be. I’ve been blogging for a while now and I hit fairly well on search engines, none of the scraping sites hit higher than my own blog, but it’s still important for me to do whatever I can, as people can miss my entries when searching.

This came to mind after all of our discussions about fansubbing and whether fansubbers should allow their translations to be used on streaming sites. I’m interested in hearing your thought on this, do you get mad if people steal your content? What do you do about it?

  • http://www.dumbotaku.com Dumb Otaku

    I get upset and I get happy at the same time. I get upset because dangit I put a lot of time into doing that work usually. I get happy because if someone is scraping or stealing my content it means I am actually creating value for others. At the end of the day I am more interested in creating value for others in my content than getting full credit. I’d prefer them to come to my site, but oh well.

    No one steals my content on my j-blog at least. People steal my programming blog content all the time.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      I’ve never visited your programming blog, but isn’t there any way you can protect your content to make sure people understand that they’re not looking at the original source?

  • http://www.dumbotaku.com Dumb Otaku

    I get upset and I get happy at the same time. I get upset because dangit I put a lot of time into doing that work usually. I get happy because if someone is scraping or stealing my content it means I am actually creating value for others. At the end of the day I am more interested in creating value for others in my content than getting full credit. I’d prefer them to come to my site, but oh well.

    No one steals my content on my j-blog at least. People steal my programming blog content all the time.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      I’ve never visited your programming blog, but isn’t there any way you can protect your content to make sure people understand that they’re not looking at the original source?

  • http://www.jamaipanese.com Jamaipanese

    aaah yes the dreaded content scrapers. I lost many a night sleep over those bastards but pretty soon realised that they are something all bloggers have to face.

  • http://www.jamaipanese.com Jamaipanese

    aaah yes the dreaded content scrapers. I lost many a night sleep over those bastards but pretty soon realised that they are something all bloggers have to face.

  • http://michaelflux.com Michael Flux

    Well, iuno about you, but 99.9% of the content on my site was original :D At least until it didn’t get taken down for “copyrighted content” <- lol.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Really? Is that why GoDaddy took it down? What did you do? :S They didn’t just warn you or ask you to take that content down before?

      Pretty much everything here is original too, I mean, everything I write is original. But I do use photos that aren’t mine sometimes, but almost all bloggers do that…

    • http://michaelflux.com Michael Flux

      “They didn’t just warn you or ask you to take that content down before?”

      Har har har, now why would they do something so nice! Isn’t it obvious that their lovely paying customers are all completely full of shit and and are all guilty until proven innocent :p

  • http://michaelflux.com Michael Flux

    Well, iuno about you, but 99.9% of the content on my site was original :D At least until it didn’t get taken down for “copyrighted content” <- lol.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Really? Is that why GoDaddy took it down? What did you do? :S They didn’t just warn you or ask you to take that content down before?

      Pretty much everything here is original too, I mean, everything I write is original. But I do use photos that aren’t mine sometimes, but almost all bloggers do that…

    • http://michaelflux.com Michael Flux

      “They didn’t just warn you or ask you to take that content down before?”

      Har har har, now why would they do something so nice! Isn’t it obvious that their lovely paying customers are all completely full of shit and and are all guilty until proven innocent :p

  • Pingback: Are People Stealing Your Blog Content? | XmasTips

  • http://caught-redhanded.com Ryan

    I don’t see any problem with this: as people have already said, there’s nothing you can do really, and it’s pretty complimentary, in a way.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Well, for just a personal blog that might be ok. Think of it this way though.

      What if you were at work and worked on projects. Now, let’s say the jerk at the desk next to yours, or across the office, regularly read your work, then submitted it as his own first, getting your credit.

      That’s a way to put it into better context.

  • http://caught-redhanded.com Ryan

    I don’t see any problem with this: as people have already said, there’s nothing you can do really, and it’s pretty complimentary, in a way.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Well, for just a personal blog that might be ok. Think of it this way though.

      What if you were at work and worked on projects. Now, let’s say the jerk at the desk next to yours, or across the office, regularly read your work, then submitted it as his own first, getting your credit.

      That’s a way to put it into better context.

  • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

    Funny. Some guy just snagged one of my photos yesterday. He cropped it and cut it into two photos and then posted it on his blog. He watermarked them as “internet photo”. If he was going to take the time to watermark them, why not watermark them with a link back to me? The original source?

    The best part? I comment on his blog so he did it blatantly, knowing I would see it. What a jerk!

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Haha that’s just weird… I’d get pissed if someone did that to me too, I mean if it’s a blogger I know.

      But damn… why even watermark them if you steal them, and especially with “internet photo”, sounds like something my grandma would say.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      No kidding. I left a comment there telling him he should have watermarked with my blog’s URL or at least left a link in the text. He went through a lot of trouble to format his stolen photo. I mean… come on. And the guy lives in Hawaii and it’s obviously a pic that’s not from there or anywhere in the US.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Yeah, I just don’t understand why he would do that. I mean, normally if you steal a photo and crop the watermark out, it’s because you want to make that photo your own. If you watermark it with something else, it will still look like it’s someone else’s photo… And if you watermark it with “internet photo” you’re just retarded :P

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Not all men were created equal? ha ha ha!

  • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

    Funny. Some guy just snagged one of my photos yesterday. He cropped it and cut it into two photos and then posted it on his blog. He watermarked them as “internet photo”. If he was going to take the time to watermark them, why not watermark them with a link back to me? The original source?

    The best part? I comment on his blog so he did it blatantly, knowing I would see it. What a jerk!

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Haha that’s just weird… I’d get pissed if someone did that to me too, I mean if it’s a blogger I know.

      But damn… why even watermark them if you steal them, and especially with “internet photo”, sounds like something my grandma would say.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      No kidding. I left a comment there telling him he should have watermarked with my blog’s URL or at least left a link in the text. He went through a lot of trouble to format his stolen photo. I mean… come on. And the guy lives in Hawaii and it’s obviously a pic that’s not from there or anywhere in the US.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Yeah, I just don’t understand why he would do that. I mean, normally if you steal a photo and crop the watermark out, it’s because you want to make that photo your own. If you watermark it with something else, it will still look like it’s someone else’s photo… And if you watermark it with “internet photo” you’re just retarded :P

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Not all men were created equal? ha ha ha!

  • http://japanesesnackreviews.blogspot.com/ Orchid64

    I can’t be bothered to see if someone is stealing my content wholesale, though I have accidentally run across people who used my pictures or people who have unintentionally taken what I have said and repeated it word for word (essentially, using my research to bolster their content). I wouldn’t necessarily get upset about it, but I do lose all respect for the people who do that.

    That being said, I don’t steal content from others. Period. If I use a picture which I did not take (which is rare), it’s only from a commercial site and I link to the original site and state that I took it from the company’s site. I think this wouldn’t even legally be considered stealing of content since showing pictures from menus or advertising almost certainly falls under a different heading than private content. If I get information from someone else and use it, I link to them and give them credit (and I always paraphrase or quote).

    The biggest thieves are people who are attempting to profit from your content and are absolutely unethical, but the majority are just either unimaginative or lazy people who steal bits and pieces to boost their content because they have nothing better to write about.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Funny. I’m plenty imaginative. Sometimes I just get lazy. Like right now there are about 5 or 6 blog entries I should be writing, but I just can’t seem to get around to it. Of course, it’s been a busy weekend and today’s my 1 yr wedding anniversary so… maybe I have an excuse?

  • http://japanesesnackreviews.blogspot.com/ Orchid64

    I can’t be bothered to see if someone is stealing my content wholesale, though I have accidentally run across people who used my pictures or people who have unintentionally taken what I have said and repeated it word for word (essentially, using my research to bolster their content). I wouldn’t necessarily get upset about it, but I do lose all respect for the people who do that.

    That being said, I don’t steal content from others. Period. If I use a picture which I did not take (which is rare), it’s only from a commercial site and I link to the original site and state that I took it from the company’s site. I think this wouldn’t even legally be considered stealing of content since showing pictures from menus or advertising almost certainly falls under a different heading than private content. If I get information from someone else and use it, I link to them and give them credit (and I always paraphrase or quote).

    The biggest thieves are people who are attempting to profit from your content and are absolutely unethical, but the majority are just either unimaginative or lazy people who steal bits and pieces to boost their content because they have nothing better to write about.

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Funny. I’m plenty imaginative. Sometimes I just get lazy. Like right now there are about 5 or 6 blog entries I should be writing, but I just can’t seem to get around to it. Of course, it’s been a busy weekend and today’s my 1 yr wedding anniversary so… maybe I have an excuse?

  • http://www.otakubaka.com Azura

    i know how you guys feel. i mean if you’re going to use someone else’ content at least give credit.. at least thats how i do it whether it be a photo or a sentence..

    but the problem with watermarking a photo is that it can be removed with photoshop if you know how

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Ya, but if you watermark your photo the average content stealer might be more inclined to just grab a photo from elsewhere, that’s not watermarked. Just to make it easier on themself.

  • http://www.otakubaka.com Azura

    i know how you guys feel. i mean if you’re going to use someone else’ content at least give credit.. at least thats how i do it whether it be a photo or a sentence..

    but the problem with watermarking a photo is that it can be removed with photoshop if you know how

    • http://amusedspectator.blogspot.com Bradley

      Ya, but if you watermark your photo the average content stealer might be more inclined to just grab a photo from elsewhere, that’s not watermarked. Just to make it easier on themself.

  • http://www.dumbotaku.com Dumb Otaku

    What do you all think about sites that “steal” whole articles with an itty bitty source link at the bottom? Such as what this site does?

    http://www.otakuden.com/

    I saw it in my traffic was like cool went there. Article was a copy paste of everything, including suggested articles, resized the image and put a [source: link] at the bottom.

    I then was like “really?” so I investigated. All there posts are rips from other sites.

    What do you think of sites that rip the whole thing and leave a link back? To mean its like why not write a review of the article then link to it instead of ripping the whole thing. Its like a grey area.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Well it’s certainly not good, but it’s pretty much the same thing as sites scraping your full RSS. There’s usually some sort of link back to your site, which is a whole lot better than no link at all.

      If you see that the site is taking a lot of traffic from you and it’s a site where you can get a hold on the author, you can just send them an email. I mean, that site looks fairly serious, although as stats show, it’s not very popular.

      I think it’s harder to get a lot of traffic on a site that steals the content, especially in a niche like ours. People who arrive there usually already get all the information on other places, and you don’t want to read the same articles again. Eventually people are going to see that link to the original source and they might end up using that in the future instead.

      Well, I don’t know of any site like that in our niche that is popular at all, do you? Of course it can be a problem if your own site isn’t hitting very well in search engines.

      It’s obviously a bad thing, but I would only care if the site is stealing a massive amount of traffic from my site.

  • http://www.dumbotaku.com Dumb Otaku

    What do you all think about sites that “steal” whole articles with an itty bitty source link at the bottom? Such as what this site does?

    http://www.otakuden.com/

    I saw it in my traffic was like cool went there. Article was a copy paste of everything, including suggested articles, resized the image and put a [source: link] at the bottom.

    I then was like “really?” so I investigated. All there posts are rips from other sites.

    What do you think of sites that rip the whole thing and leave a link back? To mean its like why not write a review of the article then link to it instead of ripping the whole thing. Its like a grey area.

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Well it’s certainly not good, but it’s pretty much the same thing as sites scraping your full RSS. There’s usually some sort of link back to your site, which is a whole lot better than no link at all.

      If you see that the site is taking a lot of traffic from you and it’s a site where you can get a hold on the author, you can just send them an email. I mean, that site looks fairly serious, although as stats show, it’s not very popular.

      I think it’s harder to get a lot of traffic on a site that steals the content, especially in a niche like ours. People who arrive there usually already get all the information on other places, and you don’t want to read the same articles again. Eventually people are going to see that link to the original source and they might end up using that in the future instead.

      Well, I don’t know of any site like that in our niche that is popular at all, do you? Of course it can be a problem if your own site isn’t hitting very well in search engines.

      It’s obviously a bad thing, but I would only care if the site is stealing a massive amount of traffic from my site.

  • Shining Srar

    You could try to mention your webiste’s url 2 times in every sentence, or hide it within the text of your articles,(white font on white background, and prehaps tiny not wisible font size)so if the stealing of your content happens automatically by some bot it will also copy your url allover the article and the guy has to remove it manually everytime which makes more inconvinient for him to steal from you and then might stop.
    Just an idea I came up with right now. :D

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Haha that will make the text very hard to read though, even on my own site as there will be big spaces everywhere :P

  • Shining Srar

    You could try to mention your webiste’s url 2 times in every sentence, or hide it within the text of your articles,(white font on white background, and prehaps tiny not wisible font size)so if the stealing of your content happens automatically by some bot it will also copy your url allover the article and the guy has to remove it manually everytime which makes more inconvinient for him to steal from you and then might stop.
    Just an idea I came up with right now. :D

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      Haha that will make the text very hard to read though, even on my own site as there will be big spaces everywhere :P

  • Shining Star

    Ok then how about you paste the text you want to post on a white picture that has same background colour as your site, and have only the headders for RRS written normaly? In that case the thefts will have to retype 80-90% of your article and that can be a nuisance.
    You could have premade template pics that are as big as your usual articles and basically just post the url with the text included picture?

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      That way I’ll lose pretty much all search engine traffic ^^ And people won’t be able to click on links or copy text for quotes or anything. So no, that’s not a good solution :P

  • Shining Star

    Ok then how about you paste the text you want to post on a white picture that has same background colour as your site, and have only the headders for RRS written normaly? In that case the thefts will have to retype 80-90% of your article and that can be a nuisance.
    You could have premade template pics that are as big as your usual articles and basically just post the url with the text included picture?

    • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

      That way I’ll lose pretty much all search engine traffic ^^ And people won’t be able to click on links or copy text for quotes or anything. So no, that’s not a good solution :P

  • Wii Canada blog

    I have a two months old blog and I can find some of my “posts” everywhere! It makes me think that I hit the right spot with my content on this one, but most of these websites rank higher than my blog and this is really bothering me!

    Often, websites that stole content will left a backlink, and I have nothing to say against them: any backlinking will be welcome and should pay in a near future anyway. But others stole content and don’t refer back to you, and so many do it I just let it go! This is really a problem.

    And I’m sure Google could do better on that matter. Damn! Knowing where the original content come from should be easy when 50 websites refer to your posts! And they should punish the thiefs! That’s always the same websites anyway.

  • http://peterzeller@wiionline.ca Wii Canada blog

    I have a two months old blog and I can find some of my “posts” everywhere! It makes me think that I hit the right spot with my content on this one, but most of these websites rank higher than my blog and this is really bothering me!

    Often, websites that stole content will left a backlink, and I have nothing to say against them: any backlinking will be welcome and should pay in a near future anyway. But others stole content and don’t refer back to you, and so many do it I just let it go! This is really a problem.

    And I’m sure Google could do better on that matter. Damn! Knowing where the original content come from should be easy when 50 websites refer to your posts! And they should punish the thiefs! That’s always the same websites anyway.

  • Obiwan

    C’mon lets see who is doing the stealing, those Japanprobe dudes copy all sort of stuff from Japanese TV and post in on youtube, then embed on their site, japanprobe readers copy those posts to their blogs, japanprobe gets angry for stealing “their content”. What about stealing from Japanese TV stations, no paying of royalties to them, no credit, no backlinks. Its a sad sad day for people who produce original content

  • Obiwan

    C’mon lets see who is doing the stealing, those Japanprobe dudes copy all sort of stuff from Japanese TV and post in on youtube, then embed on their site, japanprobe readers copy those posts to their blogs, japanprobe gets angry for stealing “their content”. What about stealing from Japanese TV stations, no paying of royalties to them, no credit, no backlinks. Its a sad sad day for people who produce original content

  • http://chokochoko.wordpress.com/ Squire Starsquid

    Well, I guess its only annoying if someone is stealing stuff and then parading that they created it, then its ‘worth’ getting upset about it i suppose.

  • http://chokochoko.wordpress.com/ Squire Starsquid

    Well, I guess its only annoying if someone is stealing stuff and then parading that they created it, then its ‘worth’ getting upset about it i suppose.

  • http://wwww.adnpost.com biswaskeran

    Yes many of people steal my blockcomments.

  • http://wwww.adnpost.com biswaskeran

    Yes many of people steal my blockcomments.