Something really scary happened earlier this week. I found that someone has been stealing my articles behind my back and reposting them on their website, ramazanakbuz.com.
Apparently, they have been stealing my content for months. I never knew about this until I got an email from WordPress this Tuesday stating that somebody has linked my blog post on their content. Being a curious soul, I wanted to see what kind of website was linking to my post.
And guess what, the article that pinged my blog post was a carbon copy of one of my recent post.
How I found this content theft
Usually when I write articles, I link to some other related articles I’ve written in the past. And whenever my articles are linked somewhere I get a notification from WordPress.
The guys at ramazanakbuz.com were probably using some kind of bot to steal articles, which reposted my article without removing the hyperlinks in the post. This is what helped me to become aware of the plagiarism that was going on.
But what I found out after that was even more shocking! I saw the same titles which I had previously covered in the “Related article” section of that website. Turned out they were all my content too. They had copied it word to word.
I scavenged their site to see if more of my content were plagiarized, and I found some 13 articles that were stolen from this blog.
Most of these newly found stolen articles had my hyperlinks removed which explained why I was never notified about this earlier. Some of the articles were cleverly translated into some other language (Turkish, I think) on which when I used Google translate turned out to be the exact copy of my original version of those posts.
I figured out that they have been manually copying my content for a while, as some of the older posts had the same featured image as mine, but edited (with emojis, etc). However, I think they screwed up when they tried to automate the stealing process.
But I haven’t registered for any Copyright!
Naturally, the first question that came to my mind was “how do I prove my ownership of the content?”
I hadn’t registered for any copyrights that protected my content online. Heck, I didn’t even know if they had copyright protection for blogs.
So I did some research and found that there was no need to register for copyrights for blogs. You can but it is not necessary. Only super big companies will do that, and they’ll have to do it for each and every article on their site.
Apparently, for individual owners like me, we get the copyright to the content as soon as it is published on our website.
We can bring the plagiarism issue to the eyes of the all mighty Google or the hosting provider of the infringing website. They will try to figure out to whom the content originally belongs to. If they can’t come to a conclusion, that’s when the lawsuits come in.
So, what did I do?
But in my case, I didn’t have to go that far. I was ready to file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint to the hosting provider of the site that copied my content. If I had done so, they would have removed their entire website from the internet. However, I didn’t want to pull out the big guns right off the bat(that, and also because I’d feel bad if I destroyed someone else’s website with my own hands.)
You can read more about DMCA and other ways to deal with content stealers in this article.
So, I tried mailing about the issue and asked them to take down the infringing articles. I gave them a 72 hours period to respond, after which I would have contacted their web hosting provider. (By the way, you can find the hosting provider of any website by using this tool, or any other similar tool from the internet.)
Good for them, they responded quickly saying that they had deleted the posts. Even so, I noticed they hadn’t deleted all of them.
What’s more? They had the nerve to say “good work.” What does that mean? Good job finding me out stealing your content and I’ll be sneakier next time? Who ever that A-hole is, they clearly don’t even regret stealing other’s stuff.
That pissed me off big time. Nonetheless, I had achieved what I set out to do. They still had 3 or 4 of my posts that were translated to some other language, but most of them were deleted, so I’m content with that.
I’ve decided to keep tabs on that site for a while so that my content doesn’t get stolen again. If I ever catch them again, I’m going straight to google or their host provider. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Why it is important to deal with these plagiarisms
Some of you might be wondering if it is worth all the effort. Why not just let it all slide?
It is important because it will affect your website’s ranking on Google. If the website that is plagiarizing your content has more traffic than you, then Google might think you’re the one who is copying their content and punish you by decreasing your content ranking on the search engine, making all your effort go to waste.
While Google is much smarter now and the odds of that happening are low, it is not a chance that I’m willing to take.
But how do I find if my content is being plagiarized?
I was lucky this time around that the morons at ramazanakbuz.com screwed up. But as I said before, if they had removed the hyperlink to my blog post in their article, I would have never known about this plagiarism.
This is where tools like copyscape comes in. We can identify the sites that are stealing our content with their help.
I would have never considered doing plagiarism checks before (because they take more time. You’ll have to manually enter your posts one by one and check). But now that I know there are people who steal my content and are earning from it, I can never be too sure
If you’re a fellow blogger, I hope this post brings plagiarism and its impact on your blog into perspective. Most of the time, just calling out the content thief will be suffice. They will take down the article once they know you are aware of the plagiarism. So, don’t fear anything and go ask for your rights if you ever face a similar issue!