How to protect yourself from content theft

Your content has been copied, copied and will be copied. The bad news does not end there. Often, search engines rank pages with content stolen or legally copied above the originals.

There is some good news. Yes, content theft cannot be protected. But the consequences of this scourge can and should be protected. Another positive point: sometimes the theft of publications can be wrapped in their favor. Finally, great news for vindictive and vengeful authors and site owners: thieves can be punished. And for this, it is not always necessary to sue. Interesting? Details below.


Why you shouldn’t worry about content theft

The answer is obvious: experiences are harmful to health. This is a given: summer always flies by unnoticed, in the morning after a fun party a headache, and the content is copied and will be copied. Only one way to completely defend yourself against theft: do not publish anything. If you publish content, be sure: it must be copied.

Speak, the inevitability of theft is not enough to not worry? Then know: copying content is a compliment to your resource and its authors. This is true with reservation. Consider yourself a winner if your content is copied, because it is yours. This recognition of the quality, benefits and relevance of the publication, as well as your credibility.

Here is another reason not to get nervous. Most likely, content theft will not do you any perceptible harm. Search engines say they are trying to identify primary sources and give them traffic. They also claim that they are punishing sites that publish plagiarism. If your site is popular, the audience also knows who the author is.

So, content theft is the norm on the Internet. If your publications copy consciously, this is an indicator of their quality. Search engines try to punish plagiarists. And the performance of your resource is unlikely to change much if someone steals from you a couple or even a dozen articles.

If a psychotherapy session calms you down, you can stop reading. Just ignore the mediocre people who use someone else's work. "Yandex" they judge.

And what to do if suggestions and persuasions do not work? Perhaps, after all, there are situations in which experiences due to content theft are justified? No, you shouldn't be nervous anyway. But you need to act, as copying publications sometimes causes practical and even measurable harm to your site. When does this happen?

How content theft can harm your site

Scammers do not steal your content for sporting interest. With the help of your publications, they get something. It does not work the principle of "win-win", and the law of conservation of energy. That is, if someone gets a benefit from your content, you lose it. See for yourself.

Copypasters steal your traffic

Look at the search results page in the illustration. "Yandex" displays in the top of copy-paste. Two of them put an active link to the original. Another one indicated an inactive link generated using the URL shortening service.

Search engine users do not know which of the proposed links points to the source. Therefore, the transitions will get everything: the owners of the original content, copy-paste and even aggregators.

The negative consequences of theft are obvious: the primary source site loses conversions. Reducing the CTR in the issue - not the best for the resource signal "search engines."

The clickability of links in the SERP depends on the position of the resource. According to various sources, the first place provides the site with 18 to 36% of the total number of transitions from the page of issue. The second and third positions receive 12% and 9% respectively. Look again: 36% of users click on the link in the first place, and only 12% click on the link in the second place.

By the way, this is not the worst option. Worse, if the search engine for some reason decides that the source site is generally unworthy of a place in the top.

However, more or less logical to explain the behavior of "Yandex" can be the machinations of a multi-armed gangster. The search engine can test various distribution options in order to collect behavioral signals. The problem is that due to borrowed content, the site copy-paste will receive good behavioral signals. Users will read the article, share material in social networks, comment on it. Far from the Internet marketing market, people do not care where to read the article: on the Texterra website or on the fish-stick blog.

You can get sanctions

This happens if the search engines incorrectly identify the source of the content. There are many such stories on the Searchengines forum: content is stolen from a young site, search engines index the plagiarist site first, and the author’s resource loses ground or completely drops out of the index.

It is difficult to imagine that in such a situation sanctions would receive a long-standing, authoritative site. But young projects need to think about how to protect. This is especially true in the context of the slow indexing by Yandex of new resources.

By the way, not only Yandex can unfairly punish a site. There are cases where the resource source of content because of the actions of attackers ate "Panda".

Reputational loss

Everything is simple here: if a potential client finds that the publication was stolen by you, and not by you, the transaction is unlikely to take place. Again harder to young projects. It is easier for a person to believe that a small online store has stolen content from the site of the conditioner “Svyazist” or “”, and not vice versa.

The need to spend resources on new content

Yes, it is: if your content is dragged away, and the search engines get confused because of this, there may be no other way out. In order not to fall under the filters and receive traffic, you will have to create new content instead of stolen. You will spend time and money on this.

Even if the theft of content does not cause you noticeable problems, you must fight off the intruders. Why? If only because someone without the use of your property. At your expense, the thief gets some benefits. This is unfair.

How to understand that your content was stolen

Be proactive: periodically check to see if someone has stolen your content. The frequency and mode of inspections depends on the size and age of the site, the level of competition in the industry and the presence of anomalies in performance indicators. For example, take inventory monthly or quarterly. Also check the preservation of content in case of a sharp drop in search traffic, which is typical of a penalty from Google or Yandex.

Detect content theft using the following methods.

Search plagiarists using "Yandex" and Google

This is the easiest way to find copy-paste. Just type in the search box the name of your publication.

By the way, on the first page in the SERP "Yandex" there is a resource that uses the content of "Texterra" is clearly illegal.

You can find stolen photos by searching for images in search engines. Also you need the service TinEye. With it, you can find even slightly modified images.

Search using uniqueness checking services

Search for duplicate content using text uniqueness services. Here are some examples:

  • Copyscape.
  • Advego Plagiatus.

For example, uniqueness checking service shows URLs on which a text fragment was found.

And the Copyscape service is looking for copies of content by URL.

You may also notice the unauthorized use of your content via reference tracking services, such as Google Alerts or Hootsuite.

Decided to fight content thieves? You will succeed, as the law protects the rights of the author and publisher. Details below.

What does the law say

The rights of authors are protected by international and national law. At the international level, the Bern Convention is considered a key document in the field of copyright. This agreement sets forth the key intellectual property rights of authors.

One of the principles of the Berne Convention is the automatic protection of the rights of the author. This means that the rights of the author come under protection at the time of the first publication of the work or its fixation in a material form. That is, you just print the product or publish an article in a blog indicating the author. No other action is required to start protecting rights.

Another key principle of the Berne Convention is the presumption of authorship. The author of a publication is a person whose name is indicated on a web page, in a printed publication or in a book, unless otherwise proved. Please note that if someone publishes your article under his own name, he will be considered an author until you prove the opposite.

The Berne Convention further protects copyright at the national level. In Russia, the protection of authors' rights is regulated by the Civil Code. The Civil Code of the Russian Federation confirms the principles of automatic protection and presumption of authorship. Also in the Civil Code are described the objects of copyright, the rules for the free use of works, the possibility of using the copyright protection sign.

For site owners, the Digital Era Copyright Act (DMCA) is important. This is a US statute. It protects copyrights from infringements using modern technical means, including copying and publishing works on the Internet. From a practical point of view, the DMCA is important here than this: the site owner can file a complaint with Google against plagiarists. The world's largest “search engine” is guided by the Copyright Act in the digital age. Therefore, it removes from the results of issuing links to sites plagiarists.

The law automatically protects authors from content theft. This does not mean that your publications are protected from theft. Also, the Berne Convention, the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and the DMCA do not guarantee that in the event of theft, the fraudsters will be automatically punished. Legal rights must be protected independently. About this next.

How to author exercise your rights

Dmitry Guriev, director of Anti-Bankir, lawyer, author and presenter of the Debtors Community blog, agreed to tell about the protection of copyright to Texterra readers. By the way, Dmitry is our regular reader and active commentator on publications.

- Dmitry, the Berne Convention and the Civil Code of the Russian Federation protect the rights of the author automatically. Protection begins from the moment of publication or fixation of the work in tangible form. That is, as soon as the author put an end and printed the work, the law protects it.

On the other hand, the Berne Convention has the presumption of authorship principle. If a certain Peter Petrov takes the article by Ivan Ivanov and publishes it under his own name, he will be considered the author, unless Ivan Ivanov proves otherwise.

In this regard, the question arises: should the author and the owner of the content somehow fix the authorship before publishing?

- The Civil Code of the Russian Federation and the Berne Convention really protect the rights of authors. Protection really starts automatically. But in practice it acts only if the author proves that the work was really created by him.

You say that Petrov published Ivanov’s article under his own name. In this situation, a legal dispute arises between Ivanov and Petrov. Who will prove authorship in a judicial order, that will win the dispute.

According to Article 56 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation, a party to a dispute must prove the circumstances to which it refers. That is, Ivanov must prove that he is the author of the work. Then he will win the dispute with Petrov in the event of a trial.

To fix authorship before publishing is easy. To do this, simply print the article and send it to yourself by registered letter with notification. The letter must specify the URL of the page on which the material will be published. And you can publish an article after receiving the letter.

An alternative way - notarial fixation of authorship. Notaries provide the service of certifying copies of pages from the site. That is, the notary can fix the text of the draft article in the administrative console. Of course, this is a troublesome and expensive procedure, but it provides unconditional protection of the rights of the author.

- Does copyright protection sign (©) have any practical meaning?

- Yes, it has. A copyright notice warns that the publication is copyright. Here you need to understand that the law protects authors, regardless of the presence or absence of the icon.

By the way, in practice this symbol is more often used to protect trademarks, and not products of intellectual labor. If the rights of the author are protected regardless of registration, the rights to the trademark must be registered.

- Do I need to specify the terms of use of the content on the site? For example, site owners write that copying information is prohibited or allowed with reference to the source.

- This information can be specified. For example, if you agree to have your materials reprinted with a link, report it. Writing about the prohibition of copying content is optional: the law protects your rights automatically. But if you want, you can once again warn potential thieves about your right to content.

- Two words about fair use. This legal rule allows you to use any content absolutely legally. For example, within this concept, you can use any content for educational purposes. Does this mean that an attacker can take the author's article and print it on his website with a postscript "for user training"?

- No, it is not. If someone wants to use your publication for educational purposes, he is obliged to give a link to the source and specify the author. Without reference and indication of the author, the use of content ceases to be bona fide. By the way, educational activities are subject to licensing.

I'll tell you a case from practice. I made a video for my own site. In the video, it was necessary to insert an excerpt from the famous cartoon for 18 seconds. During these 18 seconds, credits showing the name of the cartoon, the director’s surname and other basic data were displayed on the screen. This is fair use.

- Imagine an unpleasant situation: from the site "Texterra" stole an article by the author Eugene Kryukova. Who is easier to defend and defend the rights: the legal entity "VelikaPlaza" or the author Eugene Kryukova? What if the author is located in Vladivostok and the legal entity is registered and works in St. Petersburg?

- If we are talking about copyrights, they will be protected by the author Yevgeny Kryukov. If we are talking about litigation, the author can send any statement, explanation or objection by mail. At the hearing, he can attend virtually. Previously used for this Skype. Now the court for communication uses other programs.

The court can be won or lost without attending the meeting. Therefore, the main thing - to provide timely evidence of authorship.

- Google removes from the issuance links to sites that violate the Copyright Act in the digital age (DMCA). Is there any possibility of fraud? For example, detractors can publish someone else's content under their own name. Then they file a complaint with Google, which accuses the present author of plagiarism. "Search Engine" is guided by the presumption of authorship. Therefore, it removes the link to the source from the output.

How to protect against unscrupulous competitors who can harm the site using the concept of presumption of authorship?

- Google definitely will not remove the link to the content from the issue until the complainant provides proof. He must prove to the "search engine" that he really is the author.

Theoretically, a crook can fake evidence. Then the real author will have to defend their rights in court. The success or failure of the defense depends on the author’s evidence. That is, we again return to the need to fix authorship with the help of letters sent to oneself.

- What to do if the content is stolen?

- I would do that. Before publication, I would send myself a letter with all the source data of the article. By the way, you can attach information about the uniqueness of materials from sites like or Advego to the letter. Статьи в своем блоге я защищаю именно таким способом.

Если контент украли, необходимо направить мошеннику досудебную претензию. Этим действием вы убиваете двух зайцев. Первый - вор может испугаться, согласиться с вашими требованиями и удалить краденый контент. В этом случае проблема полностью решена. Second, you show the court that you tried to resolve the issue through negotiations.

By the way, it is desirable that a pre-trial claim be a professional lawyer. A well-written document is half the battle. The court also draws attention to the correctness of the claim.

If, after receiving the claim, the fraudster did not agree with your requirements, contact the court. Please note you will have to hire a lawyer.

- Should I contact Google, "Yandex" or a hosting provider?

- By and large, to contact the hosting provider or search engines is meaningless. From a legal point of view, this can be done in order to collect an evidence base for further use in a court dispute. But there is no guarantee that your appeal will be considered at all.

I have experience with the administration of "Vkontakte". When unscrupulous people illegally used the trademark of our company, I asked the administration of the social network to help. Employees demanded to collect evidence. This is a large package of documents, including company registration data, copies of certificates, and so on.

The administration of "Vkontakte" sent requests to the owners of the groups that stole our trademark. The group admins replied that they did not violate anything. Therefore, Vkontakte employees wrote to me that they could not do anything, because no one violated my rights. The situation is absurd. But the correspondence with the administration of "Vkontakte" was attached to the materials of the court case. It helped us.

By the way, if the search engines do not fulfill your requirements in the pretrial order, correspondence with them can help during the trial. That is, if “Yandex” does not remove the stolen content from the issue, you can demand that your rights be protected in court.

- Dmitry, what can you advise to site owners and authors who want to protect their rights?

- Remember, protecting copyrights is quite difficult. Scammers can use different tricks to use your content. A very simple example: an attacker can only change punctuation marks and make intentional mistakes in the text. After that, it is difficult to prove that you are the real author of the work. There are actually a lot of tricks.

According to my own practice, I can say that anyone who has evidence is recognized by the author. The court always considers the evidence base. If you have a letter sent to yourself with a date or a notarized copy of the work, you are legally protected. Even if the thief also assures a copy of the work at the notary or sends himself a letter, he will have a later date on the stamp or on the document.

Therefore, do not neglect prevention, protect your content.

How to prevent content theft in practice

Dmitry Guriev provided readers with very useful legal information. Add to it the practical experience of internet marketers to get an effective content protection strategy. Start by preventing the theft of your publications. Recommendations below.

Do not block copying content using scripts

Why practical recommendations begin with what you should not do? This is a very important question, so it requires attention.

First, the use of scripts to block the right mouse button can stop only schoolchildren and the most primitive robots. If desired and necessary, attackers can easily copy your content.

Secondly, the inoperative right mouse button impairs the usability of the site. Why? Take a look at WebVizor as visitors read your publications. Many users do it like this:

Your visitors pick out bits of text when reading. This probably helps them to concentrate or not to lose the passage on the page. How large is the proportion of users with the habit of highlighting text? Most likely, the numbers differ for different projects and even for different publications. But if the user experience worsens even for every tenth visitor, this will negatively affect the metrics of resource efficiency.

Claim your content rights

Use the copyright notice. You can type it on the keyboard using the Alt + 0169 keyboard shortcut. How to use the copyright protection sign correctly? The Civil Code of the Russian Federation determines that it consists of the letter "c" in a circle, the name or the name of the right holder and the year of publication of the work.

Here is an example of the correct indication of copyright: ©, ABVGD, 2016, or ©, I. I. Ivanov, 2016. Please note, you do not need to set a period after the specified year. If you regularly publish copyrighted materials on the site, indicate the year the resource was created and the current year through a dash. Here is an example: ©, ABVGD, 2002-2016.

If necessary, specify the terms of use of the content

If you allow your content to be used under any conditions, please indicate this in any form. For example, write in the basement of the site that the copying of materials is permitted when specifying the active link to the source.

Send yourself the printed material before publishing.

What should be done? Before publication, print the article. If CMS settings allow, create a draft and select the URL of the future page. Attach the publication address to the letter. Go to the post office and send the printed article to yourself with a return receipt. After receiving do not open the envelope.

Is it advisable to take such precautions? Yes, lawyers say that in the case of litigation this method of protection works. What if you publish a lot of materials every day and work from the wheels? Try to protect at least the most important publications.

Brand Content

Use the name of your company and products in the text, refer to your other publications. This makes it difficult to automatically use publications. Thieves will have to adapt them. Perhaps this will stop the most lazy scam.

Branding will also protect you from automatically copying content. If your publications are stolen by robots, they will contain the name of the company, products and links to your site. In the event of a dispute, it will be easier to prove the case. In addition, backlinks are an important signal for search engines. It helps to determine the source of the content.

Use the Original Texts tool.

Some experts believe that the "Original Texts" Yandex tool works. Others say the tool does not work. Should I use it?

Yes. To inform Yandex about the upcoming publication of the original text, you will spend 10 seconds. Representatives of Yandex claim that the Original Text service is only one of many signals that robots take into account when determining the source. Therefore, do not expect an unconditional efficiency tool. But a screenshot from the webmasters' office can be useful to you as additional evidence in case of litigation.

To inform Yandex about the upcoming publication of the author's text, log in to the webmaster's office. The "Original Texts" service is available in the "Site Content" section.

Customize RSS feed

Aggregators collect content using RSS. The publication appears on the sites aggregators almost immediately after the release of your resource. Theoretically, search engines can first index the content on another site, and then on yours. Will Google and Yandex be able to understand the situation?

Better not guess, and correctly configure the display of RSS-feeds. It should be used to broadcast announcements of publications, and not the entire publication. The ability to customize RSS depends on the CMS you are using. For example, to select the correct RSS feed display mode for a site on WordPress, in the console select the section "Settings - Read". Mark the correct RSS display option and save the changes.

Create a sitemap

The sitemap in xml format gives search engines information about the site structure, the emergence of new and updating existing pages. Thanks to the correctly configured sitemap.xml file, site indexing is accelerated. This can reduce the negative consequences of content theft.

You can create a sitemap using online generators, for example, XML-Sitemaps. You can also use plugins and extensions for popular CMS, for example, Google XML Sitemaps for WordPress, Xmap for Joomla !, XML Sitemap for Drupal, Google Sitemap for Opencart.

Announce your content on social networks immediately after publication.

This is a recommendation from the US Department of Defense. Or rather, from the future employee of this department, Matt Cutts. He previously engaged in the fight against search spam in Google. Mr Cutts recommends tweeting material immediately after posting. What for? People will see the tweet, follow the link, read the publication and refer to it. This will help search engines to quickly index content and determine the source in case of theft.

What can be added to the recommendation of an almost military Matt Cutts? Announce publications can not only on Twitter. There are Facebook, "Vkontakte" and other sites.

Protect photo with watermark

If you publish copyrighted photos, use watermarks. They make it difficult for attackers to automatically use your content.

You can set a watermark using the Water Mark, Watermark, Visual Watermark (paid program) and other services.

By the way, watermarks can be used to protect infographics, video and other visual content. To protect the video, use the Video Watermark program. If you publish videos on YouTube, you can brand them with annotations and tips.

The proposed measures do not protect against theft of content. They reduce the negative effects of theft, and also make your publications less attractive to intruders. But the content will steal anyway. What to do in this case?

What to do if your content is stolen

If you do not agree with how someone uses your content, take action. Know have to be bothered. The magic button "to punish the plagiarist" has not yet been invented. What exactly have to do? Approximate plan below.

Submit a claim to a thief

Sometimes site owners violate the rules of using content without malicious intent. For example, someone can reprint your material, but forget about the back link. In this case, the claim will be enough to solve the problem.

What to write to the plagiarist? In any form, ask to delete your publication or put a link to the source. Note that the content belongs to you. Refer to legislation that protects your rights. Write to go to court if the thief does not fulfill your requirements.

Please note that Dmitry Guriev, director of the Anti-Banker company, recommends that a lawyer file a claim against the plagiarist. Alternatively, you can use the CopyWatcher paid system. Registered users are available claims templates.

How to find the owner or administrator of the site? Use contact information, feedback forms, service WhoIs. If contact information cannot be obtained, try to find out from your hosting provider. You can determine the host with the help of special services. For example, pay attention to the SEOGadget tool.

By the way, if you know the hosting provider of the site on which your content is published, send him a complaint against thieves. Denis Saveliev recommends contacting the hoster, as the provider may affect its client.

Ask Google to remove the links to the stolen content from the issue.

To complain Google about content thieves, fill out the form. Usually, the "search engine" removes links to plagiarism from the issue within a few weeks. Pay attention to the warning: Google recommends consulting a lawyer if you are not sure that a third party will use your publications.

Yandex is positioning itself as a mirror of the Internet. To links to the stolen content disappeared from the issue, you will have to independently remove your publications from the pages of the site-plagiarist.

Contact the administration of social networks

This is necessary if your content is published on networking sites, for example, in Facebook, LJ, and so on. Even if the administration does not remove the materials, you will receive additional evidence. They will come in handy during legal proceedings.

If thieves do not fulfill your requirements, go to court

Yes, you have to spend a lot of time, money and emotions. Everything will return a hundredfold when the court decides in your favor.

Sue or not? It is hardly advisable to sue each student who made the TOS-aggregator. Let the guys earn on the game artifacts. Such thieves practically do you no harm.

The trial can not be avoided if the attackers go on principle, work in your industry and obviously cause you damage. For example, if the owner of a competing online store claims that he is the author of the content, you will have to meet in court.

Remember, you must be represented by a qualified lawyer during the trial.

Well, how is it on the Internet? Steal!

Matt Cutts, in the video mentioned above, claims that about a third of the content on the Web is plagiarism. One might envy the optimism of the future employee of the US defense department, but the point is not in concrete figures. The essence of the problem is described by the adapted quote of the classic in the subtitle: content is stolen on the Internet.

Remember, your publications will be stolen sooner or later. Therefore, in advance, take care to minimize the effects of theft. Send yourself letters with printed articles. Brand content. Specify links to other pages of the site. Correctly configure the RSS. Ensure that the site meets the requirements of "search engines" so that the content is timely indexed. Announce publications in social networks.

When the publication is stolen, you can try to have a good talk with the plagiarist, hosting provider and administrator of the site where your content is published. If this does not help, you will have to sue. There are no other options.

Watch the video: 10 Smart Tricks to Avoid Pickpockets (December 2019).


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