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

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 – 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 not 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 ©, 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.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.

190 thoughts on “How To Help Stop Somebody Stealing Your Blog Posts

  1. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    Protect your blog contents! This extremely helpful post by Hugh’s Views and News will tell you how. (It’s on my ToDo List and I’ll be getting it done as soon as possible, myself!) Thanks to Hugh for sharing this, and I hope some of you will find the post as informative as I have. Check it out, and don’t forget to pass it along. 🙂

  2. Hi Hugh,
    Really a shame that as busy as we are, we have to jump through these hoops and overcome hurdles, because people aren’t honest. (Do you like my track runner analogy? =).

    1. You’re welcome. I was shocked when I discovered that the contents of some of my blog posts had been stolen. Hopefully, this post will inform other bloggers what they can do if it happens to them.

  3. Thanks for the advice, Hugh! These are things I know I should be doing and some that I do. I need to be more diligent. 🙂

  4. Good grief you must have been so annoyed! Thanks for posting this Hugh, I did add a copyright widget through your advice quite a while ago, but I hadn’t thought of adding it at the end of every post. I’ll start doing that. Great advice as always

    1. Yes, I was, Sam. I never imaged why anybody would want to steal my blog posts, but if they’ve nothing exciting to write and publish, I guess taking other bloggers’ work (and claiming it’s their own) is something they hope will bring them followers and comments. I’m delighted that WordPress has a process in place for dealing with data thieves. I hope you never have to use that process, but it’s easy to use if ever you do.

  5. I have had work stolen. I don’t like it. Thank you for posting this clear information. I do have copyright notices, but that doesn’t stop everyone. Maybe I show post more attention-getting notices. But so far I think the violators have no shame. There would have to be real consequences to get them to stop.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had work stolen, Barbara. While copyright notices won’t deter every thief, I think some would be put off from copying and claiming other people’s work as their own. In the three cases I’ve come across of my own work being stolen, two of the bloggers took the post down after being threatened in having their blogs deleted if they took no action. The third blogger had their blog removed after ignoring a DMCA notice issued by the hosting platform. Blogging platform providers do take these cases seriously. It’s good to see they have clear guidelines of what action to take if your copyright is violated.

  6. An informative post on a very important subject. I guess I should get to work spot checking this from time to time. It would annoy me to no end if I found out someone was generating traffic and/or revenue using my content without my permission.
    Thanks for this Hugh.

    1. I occasionally do spot checks for my most popular posts, Norm, although it’s been other bloggers who have highlighted two of the three copyright infringements on my work. It’s great knowing that we have extra eyes out there looking out for us.

  7. Hi Hugh, Loved this post! Really needed! Just a technical point. A proper copyright notice (maybe excepted for fine art and photos) requires a copyright notice (c); the date – 2019; the name of the copyright holders. I would recommend that you follow the example of Microsoft – Copyright (c) 2019 Microsoft Corp. – All Rights Reserved. The reason for adding the “All Rights Reserved” is because many foreign countries laws don’t quite match those of the U.S.

    1. Chuck, thank you so much for informing us about adding ‘All Rights Reserved’ to copyright notices. It’s something I will now add to all future posts. I’ll also update the notices on my blog.
      Thanks also for reblogging the post and sharing it with your readers.

  8. Wow! You have uncovered a whole lot of unscrupulous bloggers, Hugh. I can’t imagine stealing another’s work. I display copyright notices in each piece and my sidebar and watermark all my original photos. Apparently the thieves won’t be deterred by these warnings, but I’m so glad you took action and WordPress dealt with them. I have google alerts for my name, but not sure how I’d have enough alerts to find plagiarism of my posts.

    1. They may not deter all thieves, but I think they will stop some, who may move on to another blog and check to see if there are any copyright notices, Molly.

      If you want to find out if any of your blog posts have been copied illegally, try Copyscape (link to it via one of the links in this post). Unfortunately, for the free version, you have to cut and paste the URL of the blog post each time, but Copyscape will scan the whole web and show you any possible infringements. I now use it for my most popular posts.

  9. Thanks for the tips – wow – you must have been really shocked – and I am curious as to how you found the site that had your stuff – ??

    1. You’re welcome.

      I found out about two cases of copyright infringement from other bloggers. It’s great that the blogging community also acts as our eyes. The third infringement I caught when doing google searches of some of my most popular posts. I’d already taken the advice of WordPress and set up Google alerts, but I’m now also using ‘Copyscape’, a free site that scans the web for copyright infringement by simply adding in a web address of a blog post.

      Thanks too for pointing out the typo error in the post. I appreciate it.

  10. 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! 🙂

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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. 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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