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How to stop people from copying your content?

Running a successful website takes time, effort and often a lot of money. Having the content you produced stolen by internet users can be disappointing and even lead to a penalty by Google, as Google fines for duplicate content and plagiarism. Fortunately, thanks to tools like CopyScape, which has the ability to track links that are pointing to your website through Google’s own Webmaster Toolkit, detecting copycats have become an easier task to master. After finding a source that is copying content from you, you can file a complaint against them and ask the webmaster to remove the content before you take legal steps. Even though the process has been streamlined to a relatively simple step-by-step procedure, you are still faced with one big disadvantage if your website’s content gets stolen – Google will notice this and might consider the content on your website to be duplicate and plagiarized.

Preventing Content Plagiarism Should Be Your Primary Concern

You do not want to wait until someone has actually copied content from your website and published it somewhere else before you take action against plagiarizers. This is bad for your online reputation and ranking in Google, as well as in other major search engines. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures that you can take to at least minimize the risk of your content being plagiarized. Let’s analyze some of the methods that can be implemented to help prevent content from being copied from your site to another site without permission.

Copyright Notice

One of the most common implementations of a basic preventative measure is a copyright notice in the footer of your website. This disclaimer tells the visitor that the website and any content they find on the website is your property and cannot be used elsewhere on the internet – at least not with prior authorization from you. Your copyright notice should include the word “Copyright” or the copyright symbol (some like to use both), the year that you are currently in (you can also use a date range, for example “2008 – 2017”) and then your website or company’s name.

Appropriate Policies

If someone copies your content and you report them, you not only need to show proof that you are the original author, but also that you have appropriate policies in place that tells the website visitor that the content may not be reproduced. Ensure you have a privacy policy and a terms of use page on your website. In these pages, you should explicitly state that the content on your website is your own property and may NOT be copied or published elsewhere.

Watermarks

watermark
Kiss Metrics explain that an excellent way to avoid your images from being stolen is to add a watermark to them. Adding a watermark is not difficult and can be done by even someone with no experience as a graphic designer. There are many online tools and apps that allow you to add a watermark, such as Marksta, iWatermark and Photomarkr. Whenever someone copies images from your website, the watermark will remain on the image, which means you will gain credit for the work that is being plagiarized.

Disable On-Page Copy Functionality

Think about how people are stealing content (in this case, we are referring to people and not content scrapers). They visit your website, like what they see, highlight the text, click on “copy”, go to their website and then paste the text there. Individuals who want to steal your content will not spend hours retyping the entire piece, but would rather use the highlight, copy and paste method. Use this to your advantage by either disabling the copy functionality on your web pages through JavaScript programming, or by implementing a JavaScript program that will replace whatever the plagiarizer is copying from your site with a message like “This message was copied from example.com”. There are many free tools that allow you to add such functionality to your existing web pages and even some WordPress plugins that do not require any programming knowledge.

Bloggers Sentral also suggests disabling text selection on your website, as well as blocking the “drag and drop” feature on your web pages. This can be done with a combination of CSS styles and JavaScript programs.

Conclusion

While several methods exist for filing a complaint against a website that has copied content from your website, once content has been plagiarized it could be harmful to your own online presence. Prevention is the key factor to managing plagiarism on the internet. By utilizing the tools and techniques we have discussed in this post, you will be able to have better control over your online content and will significantly reduce the risk of being attacked by plagiarizers.