Archive for April 10th, 2012

Some thoughts on protecting your author blog content

People can be jerks. I know that’s not really a news flash, but it’s important to remember, because if you’re posting your work on the Internet, some of those jerks are liable to steal it. Here’s the absolute truth: If you want to protect your content so that no one ever steals it, don’t publish it. Anywhere. Ever. Because all the protecting in the world is not going to stop someone who really wants to copy your stuff from doing it.

Am I in any way implying that this is OK? NO WAY. No. Not OK. Stealing other people’s content = bad. Really bad. It’s just that stopping the ones who are intent on doing it can be a pretty challenging endeavor. And it’s not just blog copy. I have a friend who was the dog daycare pioneer in Phoenix. She is a master marketer and had a website with very clever content. One day, she received a phone call from someone inquiring about a job opening advertised on her site. She asked where the person lived so she could give them directions to come in for an interview – and it turns out they lived in Maryland. No – they were not looking to relocate to Phoenix. They were looking at a site for a dog daycare in Maryland whose Web folks had stolen the entire content of my friend’s site – right down to the job descriptions. Only they forgot to change the phone number on this particular page.

My friend was understandably angry, but she chose not to pursue legal action, knowing the fight would be long, ugly, and expensive. Instead, she gave it up to the gods of “what comes around goes around” – also known as karma. I think she did the right thing.

All that being said, you obviously would prefer that people didn’t steal your content. So how can you protect yourself? Well here’s where I’m going to turn things over to someone who’s much more of an expert on this subject than I am. Awesomely Luvvie did a post about this very subject of protecting your content, and I HIGHLY encourage you to go and read it through, because it has tons of great information, including:

  • Knowing your rights
  • Monitoring your work
  • Stating your permissions
  • Registering your work
  • Defending your work

This post has too much good information for me to even begin to synthesize, so please go read it! Just to give you a taste, here’s the opening of the section about knowing your rights:

Know Your Rights as a Content Producer

The first way you need you protect your content is by knowing your rights. The moment you press “publish” on a post, you own it. You don’t need to have your work federally registered to prove that you own the rights to it. Yes, having the official “copyright” from the government makes getting damages easier, but it isn’t necessary. So your blog post is yours.

Here’s my own last bit of advice on this subject:

What you think about you bring about, so don’t spend a lot of time worrying that someone’s going to steal your content. A number of years ago, a photographer took a famous photo of the full moon shining over a bluff in California that was made into posters and greeting cards. Then the Internet came along, and people who liked the picture began posting it on their sites. For a while, the photographer made his living suing people who had used his image without permission. All I kept thinking when I heard that story was, “Really? Why didn’t he just go take another great picture?”

It’s the World Wide Web. People share things. Sometimes they borrow inadvertently; sometimes they flat out steal stuff. Either way, it may happen to you. So what will you do about it? Get mad and drive yourself crazy, or get even by writing even more great content to share with the world?



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