By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer)
I started the Daily Creative Writer blog for a few reasons. I wanted to reconnect with my creative side. I wanted to hold myself accountable to my writing. I wanted to connect with other writers. I wanted to share some of my tips, tricks and success stories. I wanted to promote some of my favorite books and authors.
In short, I wanted to participate in the online community and find a creative outlet.
I hoped my efforts would be entertaining, insightful and inspiring.
What I had not anticipated was the power of “auto blogging” and the culture of plagiarism and copyright infringement that follows in the wake of sincere and original blogging efforts.
It was by accident – a spam comment that managed to slip through – that I discovered that my content was being copied whole and being reposted on other websites. These websites are not the creation of well-meaning fans or even relevant content aggregators. These websites are pure spam websites – created, one can only imagine, for the sole purpose of generating hits and increasing ad revenue. You can tell the difference easily – a legitimate site that is reposting your content for a legitimate reason (I’ll get to that in a second) will have contact information that’s easily accessible. An illegitimate site has circuitous links that always lead you back to where you started.
If you find you’re the victim of auto blogging, then my sympathies are with you. It’s shocking to see your content somewhere else, especially on a site called “BritneySpearsGossip” or “24-7Plumbers.” These are not legit websites. While I’d rather have my content stay on my web page, I feel that if someone is a real fan, or they operate a news or blog aggregator with the purpose of promoting other bloggers, then reposting while not preferable, is at least it’s acceptable. Autoblogging, on the other hand, debases your original content, makes it part of a shady, revenue producing, spam site.
This is not why I started a blog.
Here are the steps I’ve taken – based on hours of internet research – to try and get this content removed from the auto bloggers.
1) Use a “Who Is” directory to track down the DNS and Hosting Info for the website.
2) Craft a DMCA takedown notice for both the host and the search engines (like Google Ad Sense). (here’s a good resource: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stock-letters/)
3) Send the notice as both an email and in hard copy through USPS.
4) Add a byline and a copyright notice under the title of every blog entry. (Here’s mine: By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer)
5) Add a footer at the bottom of each blog – you can use a widget, but I’d also include it in the text as well, so that a blatant copy paste will still include it – that states that if this content is being read on any other site besides yours, it’s been reposted without your permission and is a DMCA copyright violation. Here’s what my footer looks like: All Content is the sole Property of Elizabeth Cutright and The Daily Creative Writer, if you are reading this blog on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 The Daily Creative Writer
That’s what I’ve done so far. The response I’ve received from the WordPress community is that, as a whole, nobody likes this auto blogging option. Many people feel it enables copyright violations and content theft. (http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/when-are-you-going-to-disable-autoblogging-its-just-blatant-stealing?replies=5#post-972771)
Let me know what you think in the comments.
I’ll post updates if anything changes.
It looks like most of my content has been removed from the offending websites. It was certainly an annoying process, but at least it was successful. I should give a shout out to Singlehop ( firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) not only did they effectively and efficiently remove the copyrighted content, they even called me to follow up on my DCMA complaint. I am actually quite impressed with the way they handled this situation and feel confident that I can get similar instances cleared up in the future.
It also appears that the copyright warnings I’ve included on my blog posts are working. In the last months, my blog has not suffered a similar attack. It could also mean that it’s the same group of perpetrators that I listed above that participate in this kind of activity – maybe once you fight back they cross you off their list.
Let me know if you’ve had any similar circumstances in the comments. I’ll also try to answer any questions I can, or at least send you in a helpful direction.
- A Word Of Advice On Copyright To All WordPress.com Bloggers!! (theaveragejoenewsblogg.com)
- How to Avoid Copyright Infringement from Illegal Website User Content (minnesotaattorney.com)
- “I’m as Mad as Hell and I’m Not Gonna Take This Anymore!” A Tale of Copyright Infringement (pegfitzpatrick.com)
- Protecting Your Original Content Online (corporationcentre.ca)
- Copyright Infringement: Ignorance is no excuse. (pixiq.com)
- The Easiest Ways to Protect a WordPress Blog (bloggingtips.com)