How to Copyright and Protect Your Blog On Blogger

image credit
For those of you following this blog, you are probably aware that this entire blog was copied by a splog, a fake blog that profits from stolen content.  I wrote about my experience and what I learned to do if you have been splogged last week.  I have learned from this experience that what most people who write on this topic say is true, "It's not IF your blog will be splogged but WHEN."  So if you have a blog and haven't protected it, now is the time to do it (before it even happens).  I think it's worth it to take the time to protect your content considering how much time you spend creating it.  Why should someone profit from your work?
I think protecting your blog is like protecting your house from being robbed.  You never can say that it's impossible to have your house broken into, no matter how much you do to protect your house.  Even if you take steps to protect your blog, it can still be stolen so you need to check every once in a while to make sure that it isn't.  I talked about how to do this in my last post.   But much like protecting your house, the harder you make it to steal the lazy theif is most likely to go to elsewhere.   

First it helps to think about who is your likely burgler whether it's for your home security (is it likely to be a drug addict or a highly skilled burgler), the same as it does for an online thief (is it an individual copy and pasting a blog posts or 2 of yours or is it a splogger using software and bots to steal  nuumerous individuals content)?  In my case I believe my splogger to have 1-3 splogs each one probably stealing content from 50-100 individuals via software and or bots that scrape the content by RSS feeds and strip the hyperlinks. This was a side thing he was doing while still having a full time job (related to computers).   Chances are if your content is stolen it will be in a similar manner.  I think it helps to first learn about how scrappers are able to do this.  If you want to learn about the software used to do this The Distil blog wrote an article listing specific software that is often used by sploggers.


How to Copy Right Your Blog
 Believe it or not some people think everything on line is free and not copyrighted.  This obviously is not true, the moment you hit publish your work is copyrighted.  You do not need to do anything for it to be copyrighted.   With that said it still is helpful to further make your copyright clear to avoid any confusion.   I learned this by working with photo printing.  If an image has a copyright symbol most photo finishing labs will not touch it.   Luckily I knew this so every image I have taken I have posted this blog's name or URL as a form of copyright.

Brand all photographs you have taken:
You can easily do this in photoshop, or using free software such as paint that comes free with windows under accessories using the text tool.  I like the open source (free to all) program GIMP that works on Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux.  I am so glad that I did this as it made it much more obvious that my work had been stolen and at least the post had some kind of forced credit. For more ideas on protecting your images I found a great article by Nature Focused Photography.

You should make a clear statement about if and how your content can be used.
Make sure that your statement is clearly visible and easy to find.  I have mine posted on the side and under my about page.  Be specific about your terms in your statement.

Post a copyright message at the end of your page
This should be paced under the attribution gadget in blogger.  See the bottom of this site for example.
If you don't know how to make the copyright symbol, you can just copy and paste it.  You can also use a creative commons licenses here.  I have not used this myself because I prefer to define under my statement so I have not used this myself, but it seems like an easy way to make your policies clear.

Post a copyright message as a post feed footer for your RSS Feeds.
Most sploggers use automated software that they plug in sites to and it automatically steals your content when you publish it via RSS feeds and the automatically publishes it on the splog (my splogger even admitted that this was how he had obtained my content).  So I would also suggest putting your URL in your copyright message so even if they strip the links in your site (like my splogger did) they are forced to have a link back to your site.  You can see mine as an example here.   If you are using blogger you can do this by going to the settings option, and then click on other.  Under the post feed footer box right what you would like to display below your RSS Feeds, and that's it. Another great idea for a footer came from The WM freelance writers connection
“This copyrighted article was originally published on MyBlog.com (hyperlinked.) If found published elsewhere, this material has been illegally scraped and should be reported to Me@MyBlog.com (your hyperlinked email address.)”

This way, content thieves who steal via your RSS feed will out themselves when they publish your work to their so-called websites.  Love it!

Place a Similar Copyright Message as a Footer for each Posts and Non Hyper links to Other Posts
Basically, write as though you know your content will be stolen.  Lots of sites say to place lots of links to your site in each posts (which is a good idea anyway) so that if your content is stolen you will force them to give you credit and a link back to your site.  The only problem is that most software strip all links from your posts (my splogger did).  So even though it doesn't look as pretty I would at least make sure you have the name of you site and the full URL of your site in each posts you write.  This way it is making it more clear who owns the content, and can at least maybe direct some traffic to your site (see bottom of this posts for an example).  I am currently manually adding it to each posts but plan to see if there is a way to automate this.  If you know of a way to do this please let me know!


How to Protect Your Content From Being Stolen
I think the most important thing you can focus on is preventing your content from even being stolen in the first place. I learned that there are a ton of great plugins to help protect your blog if you are using word press, but what if you are on blogger (like me) or another platform?  I therefore will not discuss word press plugins for copyright protection, but you can checkout this RINF article with 8 Wordpress plugins if you do have a wordpress blog.

There are also lots of cool tricks you can do if you are hosting your site yourself, or if you have a wordpress blog.  One is using htaccess to secure your site.  I have not however been able to establish whether or not I can do this in blogger. I'll keep digging into it and I will update if I am able to do this, or let me know if it is possible or if there are some cool tricks I'm missing.  Below are the easiest effective ways I could find to protect your content, honestly I wish it was more but at least it's something.  It's probably the equivalent of locking your doors.  Before it was like I had my door wide open.

Disable Right Click by Java Script.
This is not likely to be how your content is stolen, but it doesn't hurt to but an extra layer of protection.  I learned how to do this by Blogger Showcase.  Just log in to blogger and under Dashboard then go to Design --> Add Gadget - scroll down --> HTML/JavaScript --> copy the code from blogger showcase and past in in HTML/JavaScript text box area.  I used it and it worked! 

Do Not Use Full RSS Feeds
Chances are your splogger is using software that is stealing or scrapping your content from your RSS feeds.  I know this is what happened with this blog because my splogger told me this was how he was obtaining my posts. I have read on many a site that only posting partial feeds in your RSS, can prevent scrapping of content.  So you can either disable your RSS feeds or post partial feeds. I contemplated disabling my RSS Feeds but since I don't know if readers are using this feature, I didn't want to affect any of my readers access to this site. So I decided to use partial feeds, so how do you post partial feeds?  In blogger it's very easy, just make sure to use a jump break (where you would like to see the preview of the post to end with a link to read the whole post) in your post.  You can find this to the right of the video icon that looks like a torn piece of paper when on the posts editor page.  Go to settings, then other, and it will have the heading Site Feeds.  Under allow blog feed change it to until jump break, and then under post feed footer insert what you want on the bottom of each posts.  Mine is, ©2010-2012 A Minneapolis Homestead All rights reserved. with the URL of this site.  If you take these easy steps that take less than 5 min, it should prevent anyone scrapping your content.

Don’t forget to “likeus on Facebook.  Let’s be friends on Pinterest and we can follow each other on Twitter and Google Plus.  And check out my other blog OhYou Crafty Gal.  

©Minneapolis Homestead www.theurbanhomestaed.blogspot.com All rights reserved. Photos and content cannot be reproduced

 
Other Posts You Might Like:
What to Do if Your Site Has Been Splogged How I Got My Content Removed
This Site Has Been Splogged

3 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for this, Julie. Great tip about the RSS Feed footer. Good luck out there!
    ~Debra, Gardens Inspired

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Debra. I'm glad this helped you. I never even thought about my RSS before all this. I love how simple and affective it is just to change your RSS feeds. Even a non-techie like me can figure that out!

      Delete
  2. This is really great information. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete