What I Learnt From Having My Blog Post Stolen

what I learnt from having my blog post stolen | life lessons every blogger needs to know

I’m sure most people have heard of someone’s blog post or online content being stolen. However, unless it’s happened to you, it’s easy to assume that it never will.

Up until when my blog post was stolen in April 2017, I thought exactly the same. I was naïve and thought that my small space on the internet was not designed to attract people who wanted to steal content. My content wouldn’t be touched when they would get more traffic from stealing a bigger blogger’s content, right?

Wrong. I guess it’s easier to steal from smaller bloggers in some ways, because there isn’t the same backup from their readers when they find out. If they find out, that is. Even though I posted a few tweets about it when it happened, I felt embarrassed for complaining about it and deleted them.

For a while, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, especially as it was evident that I wasn’t the only blogger to be stolen from. The website focused on fidget toys at the height of the trend, so there was a lot of content to choose from. Especially as mine was stolen during Autism Awareness Month, when there was a lot of conversation about these toys.

There was no way to report this article and have it removed at the time, so I put it down to a learning experience. I have since made changes to my blog that I hope will enhance the security and lower the risk of a blog post being stolen in future. Of course, I know the possibility is always there, but I thought I’d share the ways I’ve minimised the risk with you guys.

DISABLE RIGHT-CLICKING ON YOUR BLOG

I must admit, when I first saw people doing this on their blogs, I didn’t really understand why. As someone who prefers highlighting to keep track of what I read, I didn’t know the benefits of doing this. I naively thought it was an overreaction in response to something that rarely actually happened.

However, my opinion has definitely changed since it happened to me. You might have noticed that I’ve even implemented it on my own blog. I did this simply by clicking on the plug-in section of my website, and searching for a disabling plug-in with good reviews.

I know it can be frustrating for some people who like to follow the text in a similar way that I used to. However, those who use it for innocent purposes have sadly had it spoiled by those who like to exploit it.

ADD LINKS TO YOUR BLOG POSTS

People recommend leaving links in your blog posts to encourage people to explore your blog, but it’s also a great way of detecting stolen content. Something content stealers aren’t very mindful about is removing the links in an article, or changing them to links on their own website.

When my blog post was stolen I received an email asking me to approve some ping-back links from another website. Without that, I would never have known that something I worked hard on had been reproduced on another website. I’ve done some research into stolen blog posts recently, and found out this is a pretty common way of finding out about it, so it’s definitely worth considering.

This also means that you can still benefit from the content that was stolen from you, by having links back to your own website. The blog who stole my content wasn’t very popular—they had comments on very few posts—which made me feel better. Knowing that there was the possibility of people being referred to my site through this made me feel slightly better.

Know your rights to online content

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

As a young teenager, I used to upload fan-fiction on the internet. As embarrassing as admitting that is, it did teach me a few things about protection of your content online. I’ve double checked this to make sure my thirteen-year-old self wasn’t deceived, but it’s definitely correct.

“When you publish something online, that content automatically belongs to you.” (Click to tweet)

 

This means that if someone steals your content, your protection allows you to have it removed. I recommend taking screenshots of the stolen content, including timestamps, in case you are blocked from the website in future. You can use this to prove that your content was written earlier than theirs, which should be enough to prove this content is yours. Of course, if the violation is as obvious as in my case, the links back to your own website should probably be enough.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that some companies do state in their terms and conditions that they have the copyright over the content you produce. This means that the content you write for other companies does not remain yours if it states otherwise in the terms and conditions. I don’t have much experience here, but it’s worth looking into if you guest post regularly.

Have you ever had a blog post or online article stolen? What did you do afterwards? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Goodbye

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51 Comments

  1. Girl In Gamba

    12/08/2017 at 6:33 PM

    Oh my gosh this is so scary! I can’t imagine this happening nor have I heard of people stealing blog posts until now! I’m so sorry this happened to you but I’m so happy to find this advice. Thank you so much for the tips!

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:17 PM

      The worst case I’ve ever seen was when someone stole someone’s whole blog–all the photos, links, everything. They changed a few minor details but most things were the same. Proper stalkerish! I’m glad it wasn’t that bad for me, thankfully. I hope these tips help!

  2. clairesyear

    12/08/2017 at 6:46 PM

    I can’t believe that somebody was so disrespectful that they actually stole your content! As you say, until it happens to you, you don’t really think that it will. I will certainly start adding a few of these features to my blog to protect my content. Thank you for writing such a helpful post for us bloggers x
    Claire | clairesyear

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:23 PM

      It definitely felt like a slap in the face at the time, but I’m glad it happened now. It means I can protect myself against future threats, finger’s crossed. Good luck–I’m glad my tips were able to help!

  3. ngettis

    12/08/2017 at 7:15 PM

    I’m so sorry your post was stolen! These are great tips to keep in mind for other posts and bloggers wanting to protect their content.

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:25 PM

      Thank you!

  4. Linda

    12/08/2017 at 7:48 PM

    I am sorry this happened to you, it’ so so sad to see what people are capable of…but it’s good that your learnt useful things from this and above all, thank you for sharing it with other people so we can all watch out!

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:26 PM

      Yeah, it’s very frustrating, especially when writing a blog post takes hours of hard work. I’m definitely grateful for the lesson it taught me, though. I hope these tips help you.

  5. ankana silva

    12/08/2017 at 7:50 PM

    This is a very useful article. I am gonna book mark this just in the rare occurrence this might just happen to me.

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:27 PM

      Thank you, I’m glad you found it useful. Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen to you, though it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

  6. Ray oickle

    12/08/2017 at 8:52 PM

    First, I have had content stolen, several posts in fact. It sucks when it happens, but there is something you can do about it, you file a DMCA take down notice and go from there. You can learn more about it here:
    https://www.dmca.com/Takedowns.aspx

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:28 PM

      Oh, wow! It was frustrating enough when it happened to one of my posts–I couldn’t imagine it happening to several! I saw something about the DMCA in research I did after it happened, but it all seemed complicated and I was drowning in college work at the time. It might be too late to do anything about this event, but I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for future possibilities!

  7. Glutarama

    12/08/2017 at 8:57 PM

    Fascinating read, thank you for sharing. Not sure I’ve ever had my work stolen, but I do have a lot of internal links so I would get a pingback, so that’s awesome advice, simple to do and benefits all round. xx

    1. RebekahG

      12/08/2017 at 9:29 PM

      Thank you. You should be safe if you include internal links, fingers crossed. The way around it is to copy+paste every link into Google but let’s be honest, who has time for that? And someone can easily change one or two words in the article and it’ll be missed, unfortunately. It’s definitely an added benefit of a tip I’d used for different reasons beforehand.

  8. Asakemi

    12/08/2017 at 11:09 PM

    This was really great! Sorry you had to go through this. At least it taught you something and now you’re sharing with us! Will implement some of these posts now

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:19 PM

      Thank you. Although I was mostly frustrated and very angry when it happened, I’ve been trying to think of it in a positive light and sharing this with others has definitely helped with that. I’m glad this was an informative article for you.

  9. Gabriela

    13/08/2017 at 1:52 AM

    Thanks for sharing! I need to take some security measures, this post has great tips.

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:18 PM

      Thank you! I’m glad you found this article useful.

  10. Colleen

    13/08/2017 at 4:12 AM

    I have never had this happen to me and I hope it never does. Thanks for the tips. People that would do such a thing are despicable.

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:17 PM

      Fingers crossed! Hopefully implementing these tips should help to protect your blog content from being stolen. Yeah, I completely agree with you.

  11. Ramesh

    13/08/2017 at 6:38 AM

    Pretty sad that it happened with u..
    Thanks for sharing these useful tips. These are very helpful! Nice and informative article.

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:16 PM

      Yeah! I was mostly shocked because I’m very insignificant compared to a lot of other bloggers, but that’s what they prey on, I suppose. I’m glad you found this article informative.

  12. The Simple Bachelor

    13/08/2017 at 2:04 PM

    Thanks for the idea of disabling right click, I didn’t even know about that as a newer blogger. Great write up!

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:16 PM

      Thank you! I’m glad I was able to help you protect your content. It was something that took me a while to think about, too–and I was too late, unfortunately! Good luck with your blog.

  13. Shell

    13/08/2017 at 4:08 PM

    This is awful!!!! I’m so sorry this happened to you!!!

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:15 PM

      Thank you. Thankfully I’ve been able to turn it into a positive experience, but it was upsetting at the time.

  14. Alice

    13/08/2017 at 7:11 PM

    That’s so awful- I can’t believe someone stole your blog post! Is there any way you could sue? At the very least you should write to them and ask them to take it down/ credit you.

    Copyscape is also a good tool to use to check if any of your content has been published elsewhere if you’re worried.

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:15 PM

      There’s a DMCA thing where you can apply to have their content taken down by proving that the content is yours. There weren’t any contact details unfortunately, even though I scoured the web. I haven’t checked to see if that’s changed. In all honesty I’m marking it up to a learning experience, although perhaps this would be different if the website was established and had traffic coming in, because then they would be stealing what I’d written.
      I haven’t heard of Copyscape but I’m definitely going to check that out now. Would be great for peace of mind!

  15. Kayleigh Zara

    13/08/2017 at 7:13 PM

    I’m sorry that you’ve had a blog post stolen that’s awful! I’ll definetely have to look into getting right clicking cancelled on my blog as it seems like the best way to protect your content x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:13 PM

      Thank you. Yeah, that’s certainly been beneficial for me. I know it’s annoying for some people, but necessary evils and all that… 🙂

  16. palegirlrambling

    13/08/2017 at 7:24 PM

    Oh my goodness I can’t believe someone stole your content! I too have never thought about people wanting to steal my content but reading this has actually made me aware that it can happen so Thankyou for that! I’m so sorry your content was stolen!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:12 PM

      It was definitely a shock to me at the time. One of the purposes of writing this blog post was to make others aware that it did happen, so I’m glad I was able to help you out. Thankfully a lot of the community will be mindful of the effort it takes to produce content, but there’ll always be one!

  17. Corinne & Kirsty 🌸 (@corinnekirsty)

    13/08/2017 at 7:53 PM

    I have had my blogpost stolen once but I was way younger and writing fanfictions. I was fuming. I still can’t believe people would be bad enough to steal someone else post… thanks for making me aware of what can be done in such a situation

    1. RebekahG

      13/08/2017 at 9:11 PM

      I had a few fan-fictions stolen back in the day. I know it was using things that already existed, but it’s still disheartening, isn’t it? It’s ridiculous that people can’t produce their own content and would rather someone else’s, but I’m glad I was able to use it as a learning experience for others.

  18. Pinspired Girl

    14/08/2017 at 4:15 AM

    Wow thank you for sharing! I’m sorry this is something you had to go through and virtually alone. These are great tips that I pinned and plan to implement in my blog. Seriously you would never expect it because you would assume people have more respect, but I guess not.

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:17 AM

      Thank you! You’d definitely expect that, but unfortunately not everyone respects bloggers as much as they should. Thanks for pinning the blog post; I’m glad you found it helpful.

  19. eafear

    14/08/2017 at 10:00 PM

    interesting. they’re pretty dumb too if they don’t remove the links. sad!

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:17 AM

      Thank you! They are, I agree, but it’s probably not their first thought, especially if they do it to a lot of people.

  20. Gretchen

    14/08/2017 at 10:42 PM

    I would be so bummed if this happened to me! Definitely need to look into disabling right clicks on my blog. I’ve never even knew you could do that, so thanks!

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:19 AM

      Neither had I until recently, so don’t worry! I’m glad you were able to find my tips helpful.

  21. diyontrial

    15/08/2017 at 2:19 AM

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! Great advice on how to keep your content safe. Every time I see those ’round up’ posts I often wonder if they have stolen the content or not.

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:24 AM

      Thank you! I’m not quite sure what you mean by round up posts, but one way of knowing is by clicking the links and seeing where they take you back to. Obviously this isn’t bullet-proof and some aren’t as forgetful as the person who stole my blog, but it can give an inkling!

  22. Sosi's Mom

    15/08/2017 at 3:20 AM

    Thank you for writing about your experience. I am going to have to figure out how to disable the right click!

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:31 AM

      Thank you. I’m not sure if you can do it on a free version of WordPress as you can’t get hold of plug-ins. You might need to Google that one, though! I hope you figure it out.

  23. gopika

    15/08/2017 at 10:56 AM

    I always had this fear of blogs getting stolen. Thank you for sharing your experience and these wonderful tips. They are very helpful.

    1. RebekahG

      16/08/2017 at 10:37 AM

      Ah, you’re already a step ahead of me–I didn’t even think it was possible before. I’m glad you found these tips helpful!

  24. abbeylouisarose

    16/08/2017 at 10:08 AM

    Wow, this post was definitely an educational one for me, Rebekah! I have had blog post ideas copied before which I find incredibly frustrating, especially if it’s done without asking me / linking back to my original content, but I’ve never experienced anything on this level! I’m so sorry that it happened to you, it must’ve felt like a real kick in the teeth after working so hard on the content as I know you do! I didn’t realise that you could disable right-clicking on your blog, I need to go and do that immediately! Thank you for publicising your experience and showing us our rights, this is incredibly useful!

    Abbey 👑 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

    1. RebekahG

      28/08/2017 at 12:00 PM

      Thank you, I’m glad you found it useful. I can imagine having ideas stolen would be frustrating, too, especially when you put so much thought into coming up with them! Yeah, it was definitely frustrating at the time, but I’m glad I’ve been able to turn it into a positive now.

  25. Muneer

    26/08/2017 at 6:59 PM

    Fantastic article.
    I got it for google.

    1. RebekahG

      30/08/2017 at 10:58 PM

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed my article.

  26. Actually Autistic Blogs List

    01/11/2017 at 5:19 PM

    Please modify all your links (at least going forward) so they open in new windows. It’s annoying not to be able to open links without navigating away from the original post. (See autisticnotweird.com, who had also disabled right-clicking, as an example of this.) Thanks.

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