Copyright Blue

What to Do When the Thieves Come Knocking

Copyright BlueYour content is what makes your site yours. It’s a key part of your business—whether it’s your site design, your name, your brand, your marketing, or your written content. And the minute someone copies and pastes, your business is now diluted. Every time your content is duplicated, you become less and less of a unique destination… and that is how websites die. Well, that and EMP’s, but we’ll worry about those later.


An Ounce of Prevention

Take it from me (and just about every other expert out there). It’s much easier to prevent theft from happening in the first place than it is to undo the damage of theft. Protecting your content keeps the whole shebang in your hands. Once your content is stolen, now you’re involving lawyers, the legal system, and other third parties who probably won’t share your sense of urgency. And that’s just domestic theft. International theft is even more complicated.

You can take steps if your content is stolen, but wouldn’t it be better if it just wasn’t stolen in the first place?

Remind People Not to Steal

This sounds like something people should already know, but many users aren’t aware that copying and pasting without giving appropriate credit is technically stealing. Include little reminders around your site that everything on the site is your intellectual property, and that reproducing without permission is a crime. Honestly, that’s sometimes all it takes to prevent an inadvertent theft.

Still, some people won’t see (or will ignore) these types of warnings and copy your content anyway. You can deal with this in a few simple ways. One is to simply request credit on their site, which helps you in the long run by linking more traffic back to your original site. It’s almost like having an ad!

Another step is to include code on your site that automatically attaches a link back to your page if someone copies and pastes from you. You’ll see this on sites such as when you copy one of their author quotes. Sure, they can just delete the link, but it does remind them that it came from someone else and maybe they should check with that author first.

Turn to The Tech

Copyright issues are huge in the internet world, so it makes sense that a host of tech tools would pop up to help eliminate the problem. Use tools like CopyScape to find out if there are copies of your pages anywhere online. Or use sites like TinEye to reverse search your images and see if anyone has borrowed them without asking.

And sites like Distil go a step further and help prevent your site from being “scraped” by automatic bots.


People who love graphics tend to hate watermarks. They just get in the way and interrupt an otherwise perfect photo or graphic. But a subtle visual tag on a photo or graphic makes it very difficult to steal without it being very obvious that the graphic was stolen.

And the copyright symbol is a powerful deterrent as well. Include it where you can.

Lock That Text Up

Don’t want to leave anything to chance? And are you using WordPress for your site? There’s a plugin called WP-CopyProtect that may be just what you’re looking for. This plugin makes it impossible for text and images to be highlighted and copied from your site. Sure, someone could retype your blog word for word, but they’re obviously too lazy to do any real work themselves, so unless you’re spinning literary gold, they’ll probably just move on to greener pastures.

That Last Little Bit Of Security

Want just a little more security on the legal side? Consider creating a Creative Commons license for additional help in protecting your content.

Next post, we’ll focus on what to do if all else fails and masked bandits go running off with your content. But until then…

Questions? Ready to Get Started?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.