As soon as you publish works on the Internet you run the risk of content theft. People are unscrupulous and will steal content from your blog and use it on their own websites without your permission.
Some villains will even use software specifically designed to mine other sites for content.
The problem has become more prevalent with the rise of social media. It's now become expected practice for Internet content to be shared online across social communities.
You should take preventative steps to protect your own creative content. This article looks at creative commons copyright licences. It sets out how you can copyright-protect your blog against unauthorised users of your content. Be aware too that others may have contributed to the content on your site. You need to acknowledge their rights too and get their permission to republish.
Creative commons licences
There are six types of creative commons licences you can consider to protect your blog or website content
- Attribution: This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
- Attribution - NoDerivs: This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
- Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the same terms.
- Attribution - ShareAlike: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the same terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
- Attribution - NonCommercial: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
- Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs: This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
Steps to copyright-protect your blog
Make your own content distribution licence at Creativecommons.org. Choose how you want your content to be used, whether it's for commercial or non-commercial purposes, or not at all.
Create a separate page on your blog called 'Copyright'. Display your Creative Commons Licence here.
Put a copyright notice on each page of your blog, preferably above the fold. Make sure it is also used in your RSS feeds. A notice won't stop copyright theft but it does reaffirm your rights in the event of a dispute.
Set up Google alerts with key phrases from your blog. Google will email you every time someone else has used the same phrase.
Consider using a website plugin that disengages the right-click of a mouse so that content cannot be highlighted, copied and pasted. Some plugins are also available which will charge users if they want to use your content.
Contact the site administrator with a link to your distribution licence if you find your copyrighted material on another site. Demand that the offending content is removed from the site. You can look up the administrator's email using the WHOIS domain name search.
Report the website to Google Safe Browsing if the administrator fails to remove the offending content. Google frowns on copyright theft which is also an offence.
Finally, if the problem persists it's time to bring in the lawyers. Do some background research to make sure that they have a good track record in copyright and intellectual property law.