Theft is an unfortunate reality of publishing content online.
Stolen content could be an article that is copied exactly, or an article that’s spun into a marginally different version of your article. In either case, there are steps you can take to remove that content from the offending website.
How Constant Content Keeps You Secure
We’ve been in the online content business for a long time, so we’ve seen it all.
Over those years, we have implemented a number of systems and tools to protect the content on our site and make it difficult for would-be thieves.
We use a 3-pronged approach to protect the articles you put up for sale:
- Content credits
- Account review tools
- Long summary system
1. Content Credits
Have you ever wondered why Constant Content requires customers to purchase content with credits? The reason is that having customers commit to purchasing credits before being able to preview any content is one of the best ways to keep your content secure.
Most thieves don’t want to pay anything so requiring customers to purchase credits before previewing content discourages thieves.
2. Account Review Tools
Everyone that signs up for a customer account on Constant Content is thoroughly reviewed using sophisticated tools. These tools were specifically implemented to help us ensure that clients are trustworthy.
3. Long Summary System
When you upload an article to the Constant Content catalog, customers can only see a preview of the article. By only showing a portion of the article, we allow business to assess the quality of your writing but make it difficult for thieves to steal your article.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes articles get stolen. But before you can do anything about stolen content, you need to be able to find it.
How to Find Stolen Content
Google is the best tool for discovering and monitoring your content if it has been copied anywhere else online.
Google Search with Quotation Marks
The easiest way to tell if an article has been copied and posted elsewhere online is to copy a few sentences and paste them into a Google search with quotation marks.
To search for one of your existing articles, click over to My Content and then click Edit on the right side of the screen.
Then scroll down to the content editor section and copy the first paragraph.
Next, open a new Google search and paste the paragraph you copied with quotation marks on either end. Adding quotes around your search will tell Google to find pages with that exact string of text.
Obviously, if you sell an article it will show up somewhere online. But if an article has never been sold, then searching for a paragraph should generate zero results.
Set Up a Google Alert
Google Alert is another great tool for help you monitor your content and get notified of websites using your content.
Here’s how to set up a Google Alert.
First, go to Google Alerts.
Copy the first paragraph of your article and create an alert for that text. Now, if a website copies your article and publishes it, you will receive an email notification.
You can choose between receiving emails daily, weekly, or “as it happens”.
Search for Stolen Content with Copyscape
Copyscape is a tool specifically designed to check if a piece of content is original. While there are some limits on the free version of this tool, it can help you find stolen content.
To use Copyscape, simply enter in the URL of the page which includes your article.
The tool will then crawl the internet and return any pages with duplicate content.
What to Do If Your Content Is Stolen
If you have an article stolen, there are a few steps to take.
Let Us Know
First, let us know about the issue and include a link to the offending article as well as your original article.
We try to figure out which client took the article so we can suspend their account.
Email the Website Owner
Most blogs and website owners include their contact information somewhere on the site. If you can, email the website owner and ask for them to remove the offending content. Some websites will actually remove the article fairly quickly, especially if you threaten to file a complaint if the article is not removed in a timely manner.
Find Out Who Is Hosting the Website
Website’s like WhoIs.net can help you figure out who is hosting a domain.
Once you figure out where a domain is registered, send them an email explaining the situation and include links to your original article and the stolen article. Be sure to also include the publish dates so it’s very clear that your content was published first.
These companies are often quite responsive when it comes to duplicate content, and they may even remove the offending website altogether.
File a DMCA Takedown
Filling a DMCA complaint should only be used as a last resort.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a method of reporting to Google a website has stolen your content. The process is a bit complicated and it involves some legal understandings, but essentially, you’re asking Google to review the articles.
If Google agrees that a website has indeed been stealing your content, then the site will be banned from Google search results, their Google Ads (formerly AdWords) account will be shut down, and the individual will be barred from opening a new Google Ads account.
It’s impossible to be 100% protected from thieves when you publish content online.
Fortunately, there are ways you can search for and track stolen content, as well as ways to have that content removed.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have a piece of content stolen, follow this post to help get the content back and prevent it from happening again or at least get credit for your writing.