Recently, I learned that another website was republishing not just some of my posts, but every single one of my posts to its own site without my permission. I was shocked, hurt and incredibly angry. As my regular readers know, I work very hard on my reviews and my blog as a whole, and I have put a huge amount of effort into building my site. I immediately began hunting for the contact information of the website’s owner (no easy task since the site contained no way of contacting the administrator). I was eventually able to find the information I needed and the posts have now been removed from the website.
While I didn’t realize it at the time, there were some warning signs that this was happening, and because copyright infringement is so prevalent on the Internet, I wanted to share the lessons I learned with my fellow bloggers.
The first warning sign was in my Feedburner details. On the bottom of the dashboard, there is information about uncommon uses of your feed. The website that had been taking my posts was the very first URL on that list. I had, to be honest, even clicked on the link at one point, but because the entire post was, word for word, my post, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. Since I had linked to the site from Feedburner, I mistakenly thought that I was just seeing an unusual way that someone had set up their feed for their personal use.
Check your uncommon feed uses every once in a while, and if there are any website URLs on the list, click the links and make sure that your content isn’t being used without your knowledge.
The other way of checking for copyright infringement is to Google your website’s name and check out any pages that you are uncertain about. The offending website was on the third page of my Google results. Make sure that you put your blog name in quotation marks to get the most relevant results.
If you find that your content is being used without your permission, there are many websites that will give you detailed information regarding the various actions that can be taken to resolve the issue. Document the infringement with screen shots and any other relevant information before you act, because if the infringement resumes at any point in the future, the perpetrator can be charged with willful copyright infringement, which is a far more serious matter than an initial copyright infringement. There is useful information at Marketing Dock and Free Legal Documents about the actions you can take to have your content removed from the offending site. If you have any doubts or questions, consult with a lawyer if necessary. Initial consultations are often free and the information you can gain is incredibly valuable.