The other day I found an email in my inbox from a kindly blogger, Jolene from Mumsgather informing me that she had come across a blog that was hosting copied content.
Full blog posts that had been copied and pasted from her blog, my blog and several other blogs.
I visited the blog in question and sure enough several of my blog posts were there, copied completely. My Silent Sunday posts and reviews all with my personal photographs and general rambling... in fact ALL my posts were there!
So why would someone want to do this? and what can us bloggers, who are spending hours and putting lots of effort into our blogs writing original content do about it?
You can of course try to contact the blogger who has copied the content, but in most cases where whole posts have been copied and pasted, you are unlikely to get a favourable responce. (however if only part has been copied, such as a photo into a original post, then more often than not the blogger will be very appologetic and remove or credit back to you quickly)
Many people say Imitation is a form of flattery, and yes I guess it is, but the reason for my blog posts being copied is more direct than that, it is simply because the copier wants to get money from Google Adsence.
You see Google Adsence has terms and conditions, one of which is that blogs must have decent content before adverts are allowed to be displayed, but some people simply do not have the know how to write a decent blog, so instead they steal other peoples post to make it look like they have a 'good' blog and then Adsence will accept them into the program.
Once they have their Adsence account authorised and set up the copiers manipulate the adcodes so that when you click anywhere on the blog you are opening up Adverts, this gaining them even more money as each click is counted as an advert click through.
They are directly using the hardwork from decent bloggers to get them traffic and clicks and make money, without the original bloggers permission.
So what can we do about this?
Well the first port of call is to inform Google Adsence, which is a simple process, fill out an online form and make them aware of the infringements. The form can be found here: https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/request.py?hl=en&contact_type=violation_report&rd=2
You can report any site to google Adsence, even if you are not sure if they are hosting copyrighted material, you can report if the site is manipulating clicks in an unnatural way. But of course if you know the site is hosting copyrighted content without permission then this is sure reason to report a break of the Adsence terms and conditions.
You can also report the site to Blogger, that is if the site is hosted on blogger. This is also a simple online form which you can find here : http://support.google.com/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_dmca&dmca=text&product=blogger
When using this form you need to report individual links to each copied post, you can not just report the general site, so for the site above which has copied lots of my posts I have had to put in over 50 individual complaints linking to each individual URL. this is time consuming and very frustrating, but thankfully Blogger respond quickly and within 24hours I received email from them informing me they were disabling the content I had reported.
If the content has been copied onto a site not hosted by blogger you can report them to Google.
This won’t get the content removed from the site, but should get them removed from Googles listings.
As frustrating and time consuming as this is, we have to not be deterred, after all when we post things on the internet we always run the risk of someone coping our content, and using it in a variety of ways, and there really are no fail safe ways to prevent it, but we can stay vigilant, help each other out and report any sites we find who are using plagiarised posts.
A great way to check if your blog posts have been copied is via Google Image search, which helps locate duplicated photos where you search for specific files directly to see where abouts the photos appear on the internet.
Here is a good tutorial from A Mummy Too: How to find out if someone steals your image.
I hope this information is of use to someone, please feel free to share it to help people report these sites making money from other peoples work.