August 29, 2014

What to do when your content is scraped from your blog

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 10/12/06

Des let us know via our BBC contributors list that he found a site that was scraping all our content from BBC and reposting it, verbatim.

The blog in question was using our feed from Feedburner to access our content.  The blog posts even included our Feedflare items (more on that later).  However there is no attribution that the posts come from BBC or are written by someone else.  To make matters worse, this blogger even copied all our tags and categories for his own blog.  I left a comment on own of my own posts that was scraped asking this person to stop and that he was in violation of the DMCA and international copyright law (the comment is still in moderation, imagine that).  So, then, what can you do about a splog scrape?  This is what we’ve done so far.

Right now we’ve thrown down the first gauntlet to try to embarrass this person.  We’ve added to our Feedflare items (which you can see in our feed) a CreativeCommons license, Copyright statement, and Attribution link.  All of these things will make it really clear to a reader that a) the content doesn’t belong to him and b) who the content really does belong to.

Is that going to be enough?  Probably not.  We can also file DMCA papers to Google and his ISP, which is pretty serious stuff.  Google does not take kindly to people using Adsense to make money off stolen content.  ISPs also get a little edgy about this kind of stuff too.  One course of action that we haven’t taken, yet, is actually altering our feed.  Right now we publish a full feed (that is you get the complete content of the post).  There are lots of debates about full vs partial feeds, and this isn’t the time or place.  What we can do, and very easily with Feedburner, is to switch to not only a partial feed, but a partial feed with a message like “Sorry for the inconvenience, but some blogs are stealing the content from this blog so the feed has been truncated.  Stealing content is wrong.”

Does this tactic work?  Sure does.  Jim Turner and I helped a friend of ours do this and within a few days the scraping stopped.  Rather embarrassing and not good for clicks when a website visitor sees that message above.

Beyond the tactics for how to combat scrapers, how did we find out in the first place?  Des was the key to this.  He was looking at our Technorati links and saw something hinky.  A little digging led him to this blog and the discussion began.  We’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

Now there are legit ways to use and consolidate content from other blogs.  You can list headlines from a topic, couple sentences, and a link back … doing this ads content and value to your blog, in addition to your own content.  Recently I’ve been getting a lot of good traffic from a legit site in this way.  Just the headline from one of my posts (about the whole podcasting – netcasting question) on a Mac site brought a goodly number of visitors and it was my #1 referrer yesterday.  I’ve also seen my headlines and a few words on other sites as a “great links for the day” … always flattering to read that.

Where do you draw the line?  Fair use.  You can use a feed to bump up content on your site if you just use the headline, a short snippet of the post, don’t claim it’s yours, and link back to the author/original post.  That’s cool and helps everyone.  You may not, without permission, copy and republish an entire post on another site.  Note the “without permission” part … I’ve been asked and have granted permission for a few of my articles to be republished from time to time.  Again, always flattering.

This will probably be the first post of many on this affair … so watch our feed.

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5 comments for What to do when your content is scraped from your blog »

  1. A curious development in this story is that, having found the owner of the blogsite in question, I emailed him asking him to cease and desist etc. Just received an email from him saying my articles had been removed from the site. They haven’t. Nor have the other articles from this Business Blog Consulting site.

    Comment by Des Walsh — October 12, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  2. Thanks Des. Why am I not surprised. Though I didn’t see any new content of ours on the site this morning.

    Comment by Tris Hussey — October 12, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

  3. This to me is another example of how bloggers are not just writers, but carry many hats that others may not be trained for. Des was able to track down the post, Tris had the technical knowledge to curb the problem and the rest of us merely brainstormed on ideas that would make our point. This is why I tell companies they should be on the lookout not just for a writer that can create content but a blogger that knows the backside of the blogging world and can navigate it with tools provided. Good job Des and Tris.

    Comment by Jim Turner — October 12, 2006 @ 4:08 pm

  4. Thanks Jim. You make an excellent point (worth a separate blog post IMHO … you can flatter me any time you wish ;-) ). This point in the blogosphere reminds me of the transition in the early days of the web from the “everyone can build a website” to “there are people who really know how to do this well”.

    The contributors here are probably the sharpest minds in the blogosphere right now. It really could be considered a “dream team” if there ever was one. What is most interesting is while we can all write (and some much better than the rest of us plebes), we also have sub-specialities in the blogosphere.

    I like metrics, gadgets, and a smattering of the back-end stuff. Others here are experets in SEO, RSS, Corporate blogs, Adsense, the list goes on.

    So while this might be an off-topic comment, it is worth to note the discussion yesterday about this was pretty darn cool to participate in.

    Comment by Tris Hussey — October 12, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  5. [...] What to do when your content is scraped from your blog Source: BusinessBlogConsulting, 10/12/2006 [...]

    Pingback by Business Blog Hive » Business Blog In The News (10/8 - 10/14) — October 26, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

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