Can You Protect Your Blog Content from Being Copied?

One of the most frequent questions I get as a WordPress blogger who provides advice to others is the following:

How do I protect my content from content thieves?

The bottom line is that there will always be those who will steal another’s work and try to reap the benefits of someone else’s labor.  Blogging is no exception and if you are a blogger who touches popular topics or quality content you may find your material copied/stolen by another site.

There is a WordPress plugin called “WP-Copyright Pro” which when enabled will prevent anyone from selecting/copying text and disable right clicking on your site (it will not allow them to easily just copy images or text) but this isn’t a real deterrent to someone who wants to steal your content.  Anyone can simply “view source” on your blog and get access to the images, or written content that way.

Most content thieves never actually manually copy anything on your site at all, and in fact just read in your RSS Feed into their own site.  There are WordPress plugins that will not only read in RSS Feeds, but will also replace the links with relative URI’s so that no reference back to original site even shows up with the links.  This makes it harder to find out or be notified if your site content is being duplicated on another site, as you won’t get a pingback unless a link lingers and points back to your own site.

I wrote a post about the WordPress RSS Footer plugin which allows you to add copyright and other information into your RSS feed to help deter content thieves or at least make your content more easily branded as “stolen”.  But other than using a Summary RSS feed to prevent full content from being used by other sites via automated plugins there is no easy way to prevent your RSS feed from being fed in to any site that wants to steal your content.

A proper site would import only a summary of your content and include a link back to the original site, I have many of these such sites that I see appear on my WordPress pingback and I in fact don’t mind those as they do create random backlinks from similar themed sites and the credit link is intact.

Finding Copied Blog Content

You can use to find other articles online that may have exact replicas of your article, but this is a very manual process.  In some cases but not most if you setup a link alert to your site from Google you may find a site copying your content (or even a WordPress pingback may show up). 

To learn more about how to defend, combat or confront content thieves I highly recommend Copy Blogger site which I have used myself extensively to help deal with several sites who have stolen my content over the past two years.

-Dragon Blogger

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