How To Help Prevent Somebody From Stealing Your Blog Posts And Photos

Have you ever had any of your blog posts stolen? What I mean by that is literally copied word for word to another blog.

It’s happened to me a few times, and it’s also happened recently to James, who blogs at Perfect Manifesto. Read his post here.

Reading James’s post prompted me to update and republish this post from 2019.

Banner for the blog post 'How To Help Prevent Somebody Stealing Your Blog Posts And Photos'
Are you protecting your blog posts and photos from being stolen and used without your permission?

Some of my blog posts have been copied and published on other blogs. The thieves gave full credit for the work to themselves. When it first happened to me, I was utterly shocked and angry.

Unfortunately, with the internet being such a vast, open space used by billions of people worldwide, the chance of having your blog posts or work stolen is high.

Don’t think your blog is too small to have its contents stolen. As you’ll see in the comment image below, James felt his blog was too small for anyone to want to steal his blog posts, but he was wrong.

Screenshot showing comments about stolen blog posts
Never assume that nobody will steal your blog posts, images or photos

Whether it’s 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.

What should you do if you discover one of your blog posts or photos have been stolen?

Contact the blogger concerned and ask them to remove what they have stolen.

If that fails, contact the blogging platform hosting the blog and file a copyright claim against the blogger. Whenever I have filed a claim. I’ve been lucky that the offending blogs and their contents were deleted.

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

What Can I Do To Protect My Blog Posts And Photos Being Stolen?

What I am about to advise you to do may not stop somebody else from 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.

1. Display a copyright and disclaimer notice

I recommend that anybody with their own blog or web page clearly display a ‘Copyright and/or Disclaimer’ notice.

Some websites offer ‘Copyright and Disclaimer’ notices free of charge and give instructions on how to copy and paste one of these notices to your blog or webpage.

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

Click here to use the free copyright notice I use on my blog. Instructions on copying and pasting the warning onto your blog are included.

2. Widgets and menus

If you use a theme on your blog which displays widgets, I recommend you display your Copyright and/or disclaimer notice as one of your widgets. I use the Toujours 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 at the top of my blog. Take a look at them.

You are welcome to use them as your blog’s copyright and disclaimer notices. 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.

If you’re unsure what ‘widgets’ are or how to add them to your WordPress blog, click here for full details.

3. Copyright every blog post

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

You’ll see I’ve placed a copyright notice at the base of this post.

When a bot or spambot copies one of your posts, it won’t remove the copyright mark. Therefore, anyone reading the post may become suspicious and realise the post has been stolen. It also acts as a warning not to follow the blog that has stolen the post.

4. Protect your photos and images

Many bloggers also include photos and pictures in their posts.

While you may display a Copyright and/or disclaimer notice on your blog, I recommend you also watermark your photos and images.

Most computers come with software that helps edit photos you have loaded onto your hard drive, but there are other ways to watermark them.

I use an app called ‘Photobulk’ to watermark all my photos. It’s easy to use and costs around $9.99, but it can often be found on offer or free 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 ©, and press ‘start.’ My photos are then watermarked with my details.

There are free watermarking apps for Apple products, too many to mention here, so check the Apple App Store for more details.

What about Android users?

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

Don’t forget you can also add copyright notices as a photo caption. Your copyright details will then show under the photo, but it is best to watermark the photos, making stealing them more difficult.

5. Remove the reblog button from your blog

If you don’t want your blog posts stolen or shared by other bloggers, consider removing the reblog button from your blog. My post, Is Reblogging Dead? Why I Have Removed The Reblog Button From My Blog, details why you should remove the reblog button and how to remove it.

If you have a reblog button on your blog, readers will assume you’re happy for them to reblog your posts. So, remove the reblog button if you don’t want any of your posts reblogged.

6. Remember to update

Finally, always ensure you download the latest updates for any apps or software you use; otherwise, they may not work correctly. This includes antivirus software for your computer and the latest updates for the blogging platform you use.

Of course, if you’re not worried about your blog posts, work, photos or images being copied or used without your permission, you can ignore all the above advice. However, I’d be surprised if any bloggers are not concerned about their posts, work and photos being stolen.

Remember what I said earlier? James thought his blog was a low target for thieves to steal his blog posts, but it happened.

If you have any questions about displaying copyright and/or disclaimer notices on your blog, please leave a comment.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Don’t assume your blog is too small to have anything stolen from it. It can happen to anyone.
  • Display a copyright and disclaimer notice on your blog.
  • Copyright every blog post by adding a copyright mark at the end of every post.
  • Watermark photos and images with the name of your blog before inserting them into posts.
  • If you don’t want other bloggers reblogging your posts, remove the reblog button from your blog.
  • Remember to update apps, antivirus software and any updates your blogging host releases.

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 from being used illegally?

Copyright © 2022 – All rights reserved.

73 thoughts on “How To Help Prevent Somebody From Stealing Your Blog Posts And Photos

  1. Spot on as ever, Hugh.
    Thank you for the advice, particularly on watermarking the photographs.
    I am not aware of my content being stolen, although I have been reblogged (or so I believe!) I thought reblogging was a good thing in this constant quest to achieve blog visibility, but you have changed my mind!

    1. When used correctly, reblogging is good, but it does have its pitfalls, especially around copyright infringement issues. I tend to use ‘Press This’ if I want to share a blog post of another blogger, although I mostly share them on my social media accounts.

        1. It’s a sharing button that, when clicked, copies the URL address of a post you want to share and adds it to a new draft post as the title of the post you’re sharing. So no nasty URL address on your post. You’re free to add more information, tags and categories before publishing the post. Much better than reblogging as no images or photos from the post you’re sharing are added to your media library.

    1. James thought precisely the same, Michelle. He felt his blog was too small to be a target for thieves to steal his content.

      Good to hear you have put measures in place to help stop anyone from thinking twice about stealing content from your blog.

  2. This is refreshing and something we bloggers need to look more into. Thank you Hugh for this post and I agree it is key to protect your content from online criminals who may take it. I’m glad I sometimes denote my blogs at the end with the copyright symbol © for example, ©copyright 2022. Men’s Fashion & Style by Mthobisi. All rights reserved. This makes my blog and site safe as a baby in her mothers hands😊🙏

  3. Excellent advice Hugh. I do all those things on my blog already, except I’ve been lazy to watermark my personal photos. Thanks for the reminder. I do have an app right on my phone, lol. But I question about removing the reblog button. Thieves don’t have a problem copy and pasting. 😦 Also, wondering how you discovered some of your stolen posts? 🙂 x

    1. Hi Debby, I recently published a post about why I had removed the reblog button from my blog. I’ve heard of cases where bloggers reblog a post, copy and paste the post to a new post, and then delete the reblog from their blog. The blogger who thinks their post has been reblogged and credited to them thinks it’s just a simple reblog, whereas the reblog has been deleted, and the post’s contents have been republished under the thief’s name. It’s happened to me and to at least one other blogger who left a comment on that post.

      The other reason why I removed the reblog button is that SEO dislikes duplicated content and will rank blogs lower that have copied content (including duplicated blog post titles). As somebody who wants more new visitors and followers, this was something I did not like hearing, so I decided to remove the reblog button for that reason too.

      As for how I find out if any of my posts have been stolen, I do the following –

      1. Set up Google alerts on my name
      2. Set up Google alerts on my most popular posts
      3. Insert pingbacks into most of my blog posts (some thieves are draft enough to leave them in, so I get alerted of a pingback notification)
      4. Rely on other bloggers notifying me if they spot any of my posts or photos that have been stolen (this works well).

      I hope that helps?

      1. Thanks for sharing that Hugh. I wasn’t aware of reblog SEO not liking reblog titles. And Google alerts is a great idea. Thanks again for your good advice. 🙂 x

        1. All SEOs dislike duplicated content of any kind, Debby. That’s why using pingbacks or the ‘Press This’ market on WordPress is a much better option than reblogging.

  4. I had that happen once year ago Hugh. Some of my posts have a unique or memorable title, so I can search them easily on WordPress when I want to send them to someone. That particular post was “Temps are falling; leaves are falling.” It was about Fall foliage and the leaves were tinged with frost. I was commenting to a blogger who lived in a warm climate and described how the leaves looked. I knew the title from that post, so just went into another tab and searched on the internet, rather than WordPress. At that time my blog was carried in two online local newspapers so Googling would bring up that post. To my surprise, I found a church bulletin with my blog post verbatim, but no pictures were used. I did not make an issue of it as it was a church bulletin – but it was not attributed to me. I changed the name of the post; I don’t remember to what. I was so flabbergasted I forgot to send the link to the other blogger. 🙂

    1. That’s terrible that a church stole one of your posts, Linda. However, it was probably whoever looked after their website that was in the wrong, but it doesn’t help the look of the church.

      I’m sure there is some of my content out there that I have not discovered has been stolen, but I’m more concerned about other bloggers stealing my content, especially if they use WordPress as their host.

      1. I thought it was terrible too Hugh. Yes, it’s a worry if they are using your material without your consent. I don’t know why people would be so nervy to do this, knowing full well the law of copyright.

  5. It took me a while to realise that a blogger who was ‘re-blogging’ my content was effectively stealing it – I thought at first it was flattering that they thought the content so good that they wanted to share it. How dumb could I be!

    Good tip about adding a copyright notice to all posts. I think I should do that with my pages too

    1. Some people will go to any length to pretend they’re doing something nice, while all they are doing is stealing your posts. It’s another good reason for removing the reblog button.

      I use a reusable block for the copyright notice at the end of all my blog posts. It saves me time in having to retype it every time I write a new post. It acts as a further deterrent if somebody is thinking about stealing my content.

  6. 🤔 Hugh, I know what it is like to have my work stolen. I was fortunate enough to have the offender remove my blog post from their blog.

    In regards to reblogging, people can still reblog our blog posts despite the removal of the “Reblog” button; that action can be carried out via the WordPress Reader.

    The people who engage in content theft are getting wiser. Instead of publishing our content word for word on their blog, they are running our blog posts through article spinning software (And that makes the content theft harder to detect).

    Plagiarism has always been an issue on the internet and from the looks of things, a lot of dishonest people are going to get away with it.

    1. In an earlier comment (and in a recent post), I mentioned that posts can still be reblogged from the WordPress Reader, Renard. I hope that the flaw will one day be addressed by WordPress and it will be removed.

      It’s a real shame that these content thieves are getting away with stealing the work and photos of others. That is why we should do everything we can to protect our work and blogs. I’m positive that some thieves will think twice about stealing content if they see the copyright and disclaimer notices on a blog. It’s just one of the reasons why I have them on my blog.

  7. Excellent stuff. It’s probably a cement on the quality of my posts that I’m not aware of that’s but I’m sure it has happened.
    I would make the point which you sort of allude to that you don’t need to state explicitly your work is copyrighted for it to be so. What you suggest, esp watermarking is a great deterrent but not strictly necessary. Your work = your copyright. Reading your post may leave some worried that without that little (c)insertname they are exposed when they’re not.

    1. Thanks for the clarification, Geoff.

      However, the visibility of copyright and disclaimer notices will make many thieves think twice before stealing any content. They’re more likely to steal content if they see no notifications. Of course, it won’t stop any bots from copying content, but when readers see a copyright notice that has nothing to do with the blog, it’ll make most think twice about following it. As I mentioned in the post, we should do everything we can to deter thives from stealing our content.

      1. I hoped I made it clear that your post was excellent and what you say is spot on (when isn’t it); my concern was those readers who’d not thought about it who might think they had no protection at all. Not a big point!

      1. Yes. It’s a free plugin that prevents readers from selecting text and images, or right clicking to print preview. It also disables printing which is an unfortunate downside.

        I suppose they could still take screenshots using the snipping tool or other simila applications but it at least makes it a little more difficult to steal content which will hopefully deter all but the most determined of thieves.

  8. You certainly have your act together on your blog, Hugh. I hope the notices and disclaimers have prevented other people from stealing your content. You might have noticed a difference, but this is probably hard to tell.

    Good idea about finishing every post with a copyright notice as well. I just have a small note about this in my widget bar to the right and on the complete bottom of the pages. I don’t think I’ve had content stolen yet. But then again, I’m not browsing the web for it, or stumbling across it, or had anyone point this out to me.

    An event I do remember is related to stolen content and photos of our for sale ad we composed for our sailboat, Irie, a few years ago. Someone who was selling the same brand and year of catamaran had copied our photos in their own ad. We were upset by that and contacted the seller. He took the photos down.

    1. It’s hard to tell if the notices and disclaimers have had any effect, Liesbet, but I think they have. At the very least, just seeing them will make some thieves think twice about stealing content. Sometimes, it’s more about the visibility of notices.

      I use a reusable block for my copyright notice at the end of all blog posts, so it’s a case of one click to insert it. Saves some time than having to type it at the end of every post.

      It’s good to hear that the person who stole your photos from the ad you had placed did remove them when you contacted him. I’ve been lucky that all the stolen content I’ve reported has been removed. In some cases, the whole blog was deleted.

  9. Hi, Hugh! Excellent information on the best practices for protecting our creative online works. I think I was one of those folks who saw one of your pirated posts and alerted you. It still irritates me that some will “reblog” a post and plop it into their own website/blog as if it was their own content. I haven’t had the reblog button for a while and this still happens, and they include a link, which is odd. Thanks for the creative commons link…I just updated mine.

    I stopped publishing even partial song lyrics on my posts since there seems to be no wiggle room to do so without express permission. I’ve only done this carefully and used lyrics as a quote, but that could be asking for trouble.
    We bloggers always appreciate your excellent advice for our blogs! PS we did not go camping this week due to the extreme heat in our area. Good week to take a break and do some blog admin, like this!

    1. You were, indeed, Terri. And I’m very thankful to you for looking out for me and letting me know that some of my posts had been stolen. If those thieves had removed the pingbacks in the post to your blog, I might never have known that they had been stolen. Forrtunatly, they were silly enough to forget to remove them.

      Even though you have removed the reblog button from your blog post, your posts can still be reblogged from the WordPress Reader. Such a shame that WordPress has not removed that flaw, but I am aware there is pressure on them to do so. Certainly, when I next speak to them, I’ll ask them why they haven’t done it.

      I’m amazed by how many bloggers I know who publish song lyrics on their blogs. It’s a slippery path, which could bring them trouble.

      Sorry to hear the camping trip had to be postponed because of the hot temperatures. We’ve come out of a 4-day heatwave. I stayed inside for 4 days. But I did not mind, because I got a lot of blog admin done (more about that in another post).

      1. I always forget about how we can share from the WP reader…shows you how much I use it, Hugh 🥴 Hope you can have a good conversation about that with WP. Also, shouldn’t WP have a site listing suggested dos and don’ts for publishing potential copyright infringing text? Maybe they do… but if a blogger is named in a lawsuit for copyright infringement, the lawsuit could include WP and Automattic as well.
        Another heat wave for the next week. We do things outside in the morning then hide in the house 🤣

        1. There is quite a bit of information on WordPress about copyright infringement, Terri. But they probably have themselves covered in the small print of terms and conditions of using their platform. Many online companies bury the information deep in the small print.

          I know of a group of bloggers on the forums who are shocked that WordPress still allows the downloading of images and photos from a post being reblogged. Their advice (which I took) was not to reblog any posts and to delete any reblogs you may have. They also recommend removing the reblog button from your blog. I was asked to join the group, but I’d be spending all my time in the forums (which I didn’t want to do), so I declined. However, I keep in touch with one of the members.

          As for the heatwave, you do right by staying in the house when it gets too hot. My partner walked our dogs early in the morning and late evening, but I refused to allow that hot sun or air on my fair skin.

    1. Many bloggers think it’ll only be the big blogs that get content stolen. I’d only been blogging for a year when I first had a post stolen. It can happen to anyone who publishes content online.

  10. I haven’t noticed yet that my posts got stolen. But you never know. I have that copyright on my blog. the copyright on the post, is that just a sentence you add? Or is it something you can set in the settings for every post?

    1. Quite a few times (when it’s happened to me), somebody from the blogging community has alerted me to one of my posts or photos being stolen, Erika. And some thieves forget to remove pingbacks from posts they are copying, so I’ll get a pingback notification. Some of the thieves make it easy to find them.

      I’ve created a reusable block for the copyright notice I use on my posts, meaning I don’t have to retype it every time I draft a new post.

      1. It is a shame that some people cannot simply forward the honor of a content… However, I see the importance clearly.
        Thanks for the hint. I will create such a reusable block. Thank you, Hugh!

  11. I often quote bits from other blogs, but always give credit back to where the quote came from. Another area that’s hard is book reviews. You have to be careful not to use the same wording as the author does in their blub. If you do, you must quote it. This was an excellent post, Hugh. I use the Press This function on Add to Any. It gives me a clean link back to the post. Well done on all the information. 👏🏻 💜

    1. Thanks, Colleen.

      I hadn’t thought about book reviews, but I see quite a few bloggers adding song lyrics to blog posts which is another concern regarding copyright laws. I always say it’s best never to use anybody else’s words unless you give them credit. But even then, some copyright laws require us to get permission before publishing them.

    2. Publishers don’t tend to see use of their blurb as an issue. In fact some of them encourage it when they are organising “blog tours”. I never do it because I can’t see the point in just repeating what a potential reader can see for themselves. i prefer to write my own version

        1. I think there’s a different Colleen between using a blurb which is essentially a marketing tool – and you’ll find them on every website where the book is sold — and the poetry which is classed as content.

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