How To Help Stop Somebody Stealing Your Blog Posts

I recently stumbled upon a blog where the author had copied and was using my blog posts. No pingbacks or mention that I was the original author, just plain copy and pasting of some of my posts and images. It left me feeling angry, yet I also felt honoured that my work must be good enough if somebody wanted to copy it.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, with the internet being such a vast and open space used by billions of people worldwide, the chances of that happening to any one of us who publishes anything on the internet is a distinct possibility. Whether it be photos, fiction, reviews, poetry, recipes or gardening tips, everything faces the chance of being copied and somebody else taking full credit for your hard work.

Take action

In my case, I contacted the blogger concerned and asked them to remove all of my content from their blog. When that failed, I contacted the blogging platform hosting the blog and filed a copyright claim against the blogger. Within a few days, the blog and all of its content had been deleted.

Click here to find out what to do if a WordPress.Com user has infringed your copyright.

However, there is something we can all do to try and stop our hard work being copied. What I am about to advise you to do may not stop somebody else copying your work, but it acts as a warning to anyone thinking of copying or duplicating your work, without your permission, that they could face the possibility of prosecution, a fine, both, or having their blog deleted by their host.

Display a notice

Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay

I recommend that anybody who has their own blog or web page to clearly displaying a ‘Copyright and/or Disclaimer’ notice. There are many places on the internet that offer ‘Copyright and Disclaimer’ notices free of charge, and who give instructions on how to copy and paste one of these notices to your blog or webpage.

WordPress offers some excellent advice and instructions on how to display a ‘Copyright and/or Disclaimer’ notice. Click here to view it.

Widgets and menus

If you use a theme on your blog which displays widgets, and ‘I’ll come to widgets later, I recommend you display your copyright and/or disclaimer notice as one of your widgets. I use the Tortuga theme on my blog, and the widgets I use are displayed on the sidebar to the right of my blog posts.

My ‘Copyright’ notice is the last widget at the bottom of my sidebar, while my disclaimer notice (Disclaimer & GDPR) can be found on the menu bar at the top of my blog.

You are welcome to use these as the copyright and disclaimer notices for your own blog. All you need to do is copy and paste them to your own blog and, where necessary, change some of the wording to reflect your own name and the name of your blog.

Click here to use the free copyright notice I use on my blog. Full instructions on how to copy and paste the warning on to your blog are included.

If you’re not sure what ‘widgets’ are or how to add them to your WordPress blog, click here for full details.

Copyright every blog post

I always add a copyright mark at the end of all my blog posts. All of my posts finish with Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved. Doing this also helps as a deterrent against copying my posts. Remember to change the year when a new year begins.

Protect your photos and images

Image by Ishant Mishra from Pixabay

Many of us also include photos and images in a post, and while you may display a copyright and/or disclaimer notice on your blog, I recommend that you also watermark any of your own photos that you use.

Most computers come with plenty of software that help edit photos you have loaded on to your hard drive, but there are also other ways to watermark your photos.

I use an Apple iMac and use an app called ‘Photobulk’ to watermark all my photos. It’s a straightforward app to use and usually costs $9.99 to download, but can often be found either on offer or free of charge to download from the developer’s website. Click here to visit the website. (The link is not an affiliated link, so I do receive any payment from it.)

I simply drag any photos I want to watermark to Photobulk, type in the text for the watermark I use (in my case I use © hughsviewsandnews.com), press ‘start’, and my photos are then watermarked with my details.

There are also free watermarking apps for Apple products, too many to mention here, so check iTunes for more details.

What about Android users?

Image by Pasi Mämmelä from Pixabay

Click here for a free photo watermarking app for android. I’ve never used the app as I use an Apple iMac, but the reviews for this particular app are excellent.

Don’t forget you can also add copyright notices as a caption on photos. Your copyright details will then show under the photo.

Finally, always ensure you download the latest updates for any apps or software you use; otherwise, they may not work correctly.

If you have any questions about displaying copyright and/or disclaimer notices on your blog, please leave me a comment, and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Have you ever had your blog posts and/or photos/images copied and used without your permission? What do you do to help stop your blog posts, photos and images being used illegally?

Click here to follow my Blogging Tips magazine on Flipboard.

Click here to follow my Blogging Tips page on Mix.Com.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

163 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Hugh. Sorry to hear you went through this. It’s disheartening for sure. I have a Terms of Use and Privacy Policy on my website. I’m going to fine tune my Copyright notice, thanks to your insight. Another informative share. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing and I am glad you were able to get it sorted. Unfortunately, I did not have such good results when a website copied my material for the third time last December. Its every December, the “places you can visit Santa in Tokyo list”. They reword it, but they essentially let me do the work of listing the places you can go and then copy it. >:-( It makes me so mad. The first two times they did it I didn’t report them to anyone / anywhere. The second time I did message the blogger. The third time it went all the way up the chain to the powers that be in Google, but they decided not to do anything about it because the culprits had changed the wording enough to get away with it. I was gutted.Google did say that I should contact the web host and have them take the post down, but I lost heart after Google “rejected” me and let it slide. 😦 I will make sure this December to include copyright every paragraph!! I used to have it at the bottom of every post, but when I made back-end changes it wiped it… thanks for the reminder to add it again.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the experiences you have had with one of your posts being copied three times. I’d certainly recommend you contact the blogging company that hosts the blog if it happens again, as they have the power to delete the entire blog from their platform if the offender does not conform with their requests. From what I know, even just changing a few words in the copied post still counts as infringing on copyright. It’s a shame that Google did not take any action, but I’m sure the host company would.

      1. Thanks Hugh. After reading your post I am quite inspired to do it now. It might be months later, but its still up there for the world to see. And apart from the article being very similar and being posted annually a few days after mine, I have other proof. Comments and emails from the blogger. I didn’t have an opportunity to present them to Google. You have to use a form that doesn’t allow for such, it just gives you room to post pieces from your blog entry and the copied blog entry. And they decide from those few snippets.

        1. You’re welcome. Only yesterday, I had a case of another blogger who had copied one of my recent posts and published it on his/her blog. Fortunately, they use WordPress (like I do), and WordPress gave me great advice on what to do. I’m delighted to say that the offending post has now been removed.
          I think it best to give as much evidence and information as possible, even if it means backing it all up in a separate email to the company you are submitting the DMCA claim to.

  3. Thanks, Hugh, for sharing your great advice for bloggers. How frustrating to find that others were copying and taking credit for your work.

  4. Very useful advice Hugh on an issue that affects all of us. I’ve got a general Copyright notice on my blog but hadn’t thought about individual posts. Will have to look into it. Thanks for the info. 🙂

  5. What a wonderfully helpful and useful informative post. I am swallowing back the acrid taste of anger on your behalf. Horrific, ignorant and to me unfathomable. What are the odds that you would actually stumble across your own work? Once again, Hugh turns (what must be) an awful situation into a learning tool to help others. I am humbled by your generosity. Pinned for later use. Thank you. ☹🌹

    1. In two of the three cases where it’s happened to me, it was another blogger that bought the infringement to my attention, Ellen. It’s very satisfying knowing that our fellow bloggers are out there helping to bring down these people who copy and claim ownership on work that is not theirs. There’s probably more of all our work out there that has had its copyright infringed, so the advice I have given in this post will hopefully go towards putting off some of those content thieves who steal other people’s work.
      I hope this post goes a long way in helping many people, although I do know that there are some who don’t really care if their work is copied and claimed by somebody else. At the end of the day, it’s a choice left up to each one of us.
      I’m always happy to help.

  6. Great post, Hugh. There is so much unacknowledged information on the internet it is crazy. Often, when researching background information for a photo I am going to post, I run across three or four websites or blogs will matching text. Not just similar information but actual text. It is hard to identify the original source because credit is rarely given to the original post/page. It really bugs me when I see this on monetized travel related sites and blogs. And especially when the site/blog owner says that parts of their travel were comped.

    1. Thank you, Marie. I’m sure there is lots of copyright infringement out there that goes unnoticed and where no credit is given to the original author. While the advice I have provided in this post may not deter some people from copyright infringement, I’m glad that companies like WordPress have a policy in place that helps those affected to get offending material removed from the web.
      Thanks for your comments on this matter.

  7. Set up Google Alerts with title and some phrases from content to help you find stolen work. I also have a Terms of Use page on my website. So sorry this happened to you. It really does hurt the heart to have our words stolen.

    1. It does indeed, Mary. It’s now happened to me three times. I’ve already set up Google alerts, but it’s also great to know that the blogging community acts as our eyes when they come across our work that has had its copyright infringed.

    1. Of course, Debby. I’ve set up Google alerts which will alert me of any possible infringements. Occasionally, I also type in the title of my most popular blog posts into Google and search the results. I’m also using ‘Copyscape’, a site that searches the net for duplicate copies of a web page (link to it is in one of the links on this post). Yesterday (a few hours before this post went out), Terri Webster Schrandt informed me of the infringement of my ‘Hot Dates’ post. It had been copied word for word by another WordPress blogger, with only the copyright details having been changed. It’s great to know that our blogging friends also act as our eyes when searching the internet.
      xx

      1. Holy moly Hugh, you’re being plagiarized everywhere! You’re famous! LOL Seriously, I set up my name and books in Google alerts years ago but it never sawned on me to check for blog posts. Thanks for all your FBIing and sharing with us. ❤ xx

        1. I think many of us don’t think about protecting our blog posts, Debby. I see so many blogs with no copyright or disclaimer notices on them. As you know, I publish a lot of flash fiction and short stories on my blog, so I want to protect them with copyright as best I can. I’d hate not being able to share my flash fiction with you all, other than in a book. I like scaring you guys as often as I can with my stories 😀😈
          xx

  8. Hi, Hugh – I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I am glad that the folks at WordPress were able to help solve the problem completely. Years ago, another blogger whom I follow, had her complete site copied by another blogger in Korea. She sought all of the help that she could (including consulting a lawyer), but unfortunately nothing could be done for her at the time. Sadly, she walked away from that blog. Fortunately, she started up a new one a couple of years later. Thank you for your advice on Copyright Notices. This is an excellent suggestion.

    1. WordPress has been so helpful with this matter, Donna. It’s the third time it’s happened to me. In two of the three cases, it was other WordPress bloggers who had copied my work. In the other case, it was on another blogging platform, but they too were very helpful when I filed a DMCA notice against the offending blogger.

      I’m sorry to hear about the case of the blogger you followed. I’m surprised nothing could be done, and she ended up walking away from her blog, but things seemed to have changed now, and action can be taken. In my last case, the blogging platform deleted the whole blog when the owner of the blog did not remove my post that she had copied and credited to herself. Of course, that probably does not stop them from setting up elsewhere, but hopefully, they’ll get fed up of having to set up a new blog all the time.

        1. I’ve been reading that other bloggers are having the same problems, Michael. I know, too, that there have been problems with pingbacks. Fingers crossed it’ll all be sorted soon.

    1. You’re welcome, Diana. Yesterday, I was informed that the latest post I wrote for your May Speculative Fiction prompt has been copied and used (word for word) by another blogger. They only change they made was the copyright details at the end of the post where they inserted their email details. I’m currently in discussion with WordPress about the action I can take to get the post removed from the offender’s blog.

      1. Oh no. That’s a shame, Hugh. I haven’t reblogged it yet, so they took it from your site despite your notice. The problem with content thieves is they don’t care.

        I added the widget this morning. I was wondering if the copyright at the end of each post can be set up to appear automatically or if you type it in each time? I couldn’t find an automatic option and would definitely do it.

        1. Yes, they took it from my site, Diana. They did not include the details where I had the pingback to your blog, so you would not have had any pingback notification from their blog. I’m pleased to say that the post has now been taking down by the blogger who copied it.

          I’m glad to hear you’ve added a copyright widget. I’m now using the new Gutenberg editor for all my posts, and have set up a ‘reusable block’ for my copyright notice so that I do not have to retype it on every new post I create. It’s a great little asset and can be used for author bios, book information, links to social media sites, and any number of things that you may like to add to the end of every post. I’m afraid the Classic editor doesn’t have anything like that, so if you’re still using the Classic editor, you’ll need to either copy and paste the details to every new post or retype it at the end of every post.

  9. Wow, I cannot believe that there are really such impertinent people copying a post 1:1. It is already an effrontery to use phrases, wordings or core parts. I noticed this too. The funny thing is that first, that blogger made fun of my posts on his blog. But later he wrote about the same things with the same topics and thoughts. How did I find out? It WAS a blogger friend once!
    You gave us very useful and important advice here. I will definitely put that copyright text on my blog. Thanks a lot, Hugh!

    1. Our blogging communities can be our eyes in seeking out copyright infringement, Erika. In two of the three cases of where it’s happened to me, it was another blogger who bought the breach to my attention.
      So sorry to hear you’ve experienced similar problems with copyright.

      1. That’s right, our community is great in that! The one who “copied” has been a false person anyway and I wasn’t following at that time anymore. So I got notified by a friend who followed both of us.
        I already put the copyright text on my blog. I saved your post in case something happens again. To me this is one of you best/most important bloggin tips! Thank you very much, Hugh!

        1. What happened to you reminds me a little about somebody who always left lovely comments on my posts. Then, one day, they left a horrible reply on a comment left by another blogger. I was mortified and blocked them straight away. I also changed my blog settings so that I had to moderate all comments before they appeared on any of my posts. More work for me, but I felt better for doing it.

          Thanks for the feedback on this post, Erika. I really appreciate it.

        2. Oh, that sounds very bad. It is even worse when your followers get “attacked” you your blog by another follower.
          That one blogger left some mean comments on one of my posts. Whatever triggered that in him. I stayed polite but stuck to my content. Then he posted something very offending and provoking on his blog. He did that twice. After the second time I unfollowed that blogger and blocked him too.
          Interesting what we experience here… lol!
          Always a pleasure, Hugh. Thank you 😊

  10. Oh Hugh, that’s terrible! I know how angry I get when someone “takes” from my creative work an idea, setting, or even character names from me. That’s so much worse.
    Just because something is inevitable, expected, or accepted, doesn’t make it okay.

    For the past ten years, I worked for federal executives, writing and editing any kind of communications or written document you can imagine. I made it look like they could put two sentences together. I created presentations making them look savvy. I motivated their staff making it look like they had a soul. I sent communications making it look like they cared. I rarely got any acknowledgement for the work. Worse, I was held back from career progress because they knew how stupid they would look without me. Or how they would look if even higher execs compared me to them.
    I was repeatedly told by various people — “There’s nothing wrong with that.” Or “It’s part of the job.” Or worse of all “Ha! Sure you wrote that.”
    I don’t mean to vent or make this about me — not at all. I’m just trying to illustrate how widespread and accepted that kind of theft has become. How it crosses industries and professions and touches many diverse groups of people.
    Moreover, it doesn’t make it okay if your defense is that your muse, or your character told you to do it.
    Thank you for your post. I’m sharing it.
    Hugs.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing this post, Teagan.

      I have come in contact with so many people in my life who you have described in your comments. Unfortunately, life seems to be full of them, but we must do all we can to stop them from influencing us and bringing us down to their level. It can sometimes be challenging to do that, but the negativity these people often bring with them is born of their own ignorance and them often placing themselves on a nonexisting pedestal that they believe makes them better than anyone else.

      People who steal content from others for their own gain are just as bad and, in my opinion, should be banned from the internet. I have many of my blogging tips posts copied and then some of the words altered to try and avoid copyright issues. Fortunately, many of the people who have done this do not seem to last long in the blogging world and soon move on.

    1. Yes, WordPress has an excellent system in place for dealing with this problem, Jacquie. This is the second time I’ve had to use it. However, the other blogging host company I also contacted with details of a previous infringement, was also very quick at removing the offending blog.

  11. Wow, Hugh! I can’t believe someone has the guts to just steal your material without even mentioning you or linking back. Or asking. What a jerk move! And, even after you contacted them, they didn’t admit their wrongdoings. Some people are evil. But, we do know that, unfortunately.

    I guess just putting a copyright mark on the bottom of our blog is obviously not enough. One of the reasons I don’t watermark all my photos is because it takes so long to do them one by one with my software. Reading that there’s a way to bulk watermark them is very helpful! I might play around with it, although I wonder whether it will still look good on portrait photos (requiring smaller font) or pictures where the background might not display the watermark well enough.

    We once had photos stolen off my other (sailing) blog. Someone used photos of OUR sailboat, with US in it, to advertise their sailboat for sale of the same brand. We made them remove the photos. I don’t remember how we even discovered this. For all the things stolen we do notice, imagine how much goes undetected!

    Valuable info, Hugh. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Liesbet. I do have to play around with some of the watermarking by either changing the size or colour of the font, so it stands out better. What I need to do is take advice and try and use the same font all the time. I tend to switch between Times New Roman and Aerial. I’m able to watermark at least 10 phots at the same time with Photobulk, so can sometimes be a quick job. Of course, watermarking can also be removed, but people who generally steal them don’t have the time or knowhow how to do it.

      Unfortunately, I think much does go undetected, but the warnings and notices hopefully will put some people off from stealing our work or images. I’m sorry to hear that some of your photos were also used illegally by another user. It’s a horrible thing to happen.

  12. A timely post, Hugh, I’m sorry you are becoming quite the expert as a result of your own experiences 😰 Weird that the blogger who stole your hot date post linked it to my Sunday Stills Fifth post from last week. Talk about showing off. I remember when you looked into the last similar incident, the blogger claimed he was developing the website for someone else and it was supposed to be a draft…then why did he link it? I’m glad WordPress takes action on these, but copyright infringement seems more rampant these days, according to some of your comments!

    1. Hi Terri, strangely enough, the blogger who stole my post did not link to Diana’s Speculative Fiction prompt post. Fortunately, I inserted the pingback to your post in the main body of the post, so you were able to pick up the infringement. Why the blogger didn’t remove the link is anyone’s guess, but maybe they didn’t realise it was there (or know how to remove it?).

      I’ve been in touch with WordPress, who have given me details of what I need to do (again!). Hopefully, the blogger concerned will take down the post. If they don’t, then I’ll file a DMCA claim with WordPress. Thanks ever so much for making me aware of the latest infringement to one of my posts. From what I’m aware, it’s the third time it’s happened to me. However, there could well be many other infringements out there.

  13. Thank for the information, Hugh. I never even thought about this. I will add notices to my sites and posts. I guess I should do a few searches too just to see if I find my work copied. It’s a shame we have to worry about such things. I appreciate your sharing this.

    1. It is such a shame that other people feel the need to steal our blog posts, images and photos and use them as if they were their own, Rob. It’s happened to me three times (I was alerted to a new case only yesterday by another blogger) since I started blogging in 2014, so it has not happened a lot. However, I think it a good idea that we do all we can to try and stop these people from stealing our work. At least if it does happen, we’ll know what to do.

  14. Excellent Advice, Hugh. Thank you, I have now added a basic Copyright Notice to my main blog and will work my way through my other sites.

    1. This doesn’t apply to reblogs, Lucinda, although I have heard of bloggers demanding reblogs to be taken down (why they have a reblog button if they don’t want anyone to reblog the post is a mystery?)

      However, be careful when it comes to reblogging posts that include images and/or photos as they may be copyrighted. I know of one blogger who was fined for having copyrighted images on a reblog she did on her own blog. Even though it was only a reblog, the images and photos were still downloaded onto her blog, so she was fined. I’d recommend that you check first that any images or photos on a post you want to reblog are free to use, free to use with a credit link to the owner, or you have the permission from the owner to use them.

      If in doubt, always ask the owner(s) of the photo/images if you can use their images.

  15. Many thanks for this helpful post, Hugh.

    I haven’t (to my knowledge) had material from my blog stolen. I did, however have to file a DMCA with Youtube when someone uploaded a segment of the audio edition of my book, “The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems” without my permission. In that instance the person doing the uploading claimed that my book was available from their website. It wasn’t, however I suspect that the individual concerned hoped to entice people to purchase other titles from their site and/or steal credit card details.

    Fortunately Youtube took the content down within 24 hours. In addition to checking for blog content that has been illegally copied, its also worth checking other platforms such as Amazon and Youtube.

    Best – Kevin

    1. You’re welcome, Kevin.

      I’m sorry to hear you had to file a claim with the DMCA but delighted to hear that YouTube took down the offending video within 24 hours. For my own books, I use a site called Blasty. I do pay to use their services, but they do all the hard work for me. Up to date, they’ve removed over 250 illegal copies of my books from the web.

  16. This is great advice, Hugh. I had images taken from Flickr to a person selling images and clipart. I contacted the person, and they did remove them. I have given images to many people, all they have to do is ask. I even gave an image to a guy who wanted to use it in a professional presentation. I was honored, and I was glad he asked. The Flickr incident caused me to add a copyright to my blog images, even though they are fairly low resolution. I think I have a copyright somewhere on my blog. I should make it more prominent.

    1. It’s horrible when it happens, Dan. I’ve had photos copied from my blog and placed on other blog posts with my watermark still showing. It amazes me why people would want to do that. They can, of course, remove watermarks easily, but obviously did not know how to do so.

      1. Yeah, my copyright can easily be cropped off, but some people just don’t bother. The thing that amazes me is that most people I know would allow use of a photo if you asked and attributed it to them,

  17. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Be aware that some sites allow only up to 10% of their post content to be used – with their permission – so check their sharing T&Cs – and always, Always, ALWAYS state where the copied content came from AND link back to the original article…
    Also, be aware that any images used, will probably be copyright protected for their use only…

  18. Oh that’s not good to hear your content has been ‘stolen’ Hugh! How awful for you. I appreciate your tips in this post. I have a statement on my blog about copyright but I hadn’t thought to use it on each post. I’ll do that in future! Always great to have your advice so thanks again.

    1. Terri Webster Schrandt informed me yesterday of another post of mine that has been copied and used on another WordPress.Com blog, Debbie. The author removed my copyright details from the end of the post and inserted their own. Hence, today, I’ve had to file another claim for copyright infringement with WordPress. It probably happens a lot, catching it is a problem.

      1. That’s awful Hugh! Hopefully it can be sorted for you and others who also get their work stolen this way. I am including your post in my Friday wrap up and will credit you of course 🙂

    1. I set up a ‘Google Alert’ to notify me of any possible infringements, Ritu. I’m also looking at using Copyscape (full details of both in one of the links on this post).

      I also found out from another blogger, that my ‘Hot Dates’ post from last week has been copied and used on another WordPress blog with the author claiming copyright for the work. So, I’ve had to open a new claim today. 🙄

        1. With the help of WordPress, I’m in the process of getting the post deleted from the blog of the blogger who has infringed the copyright of the post. WordPress may even go as far as taking down the entire blog.

    1. Sorry to hear it’s happened to you, too, Renard. I’m currently going through a new claim after being alerted by another blogger that one of my new posts from last week has been stolen and used on another WordPress blog.
      Glad to hear your claim was successful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.