The Internet has revolutionised the way and amount of information that we can publish and share and being able to contribute your knowledge to the growth and development of others in your profession can be very rewarding, but once you’ve put your information out there, it’s wise to keep track of what happens to it and who is using it.
Here are some tools to protect your copyrightFairshare is a good free service that allows you to register your websites and then subscribe to an RSS feed that shows you where on the web your content is being republished and what percentage of your posting was used.
Fairshare is also in the process of setting up a system by which you can get paid a portion of advertising revenue if your content is being used by other sites. Here you can download a (440k) PDF showing you how to set up Fairshare to track your content.
Copygator is a service which will search the web against a URL that you enter and look for places where content from that source appear. They also supply a small image that you can add to your webpages and if the content is copied elsewhere you can be notified.
So why is it so important to track where your content is going?
- It’s a much misunderstood and largely false assumption that your content, once published on a free blog or website, belongs to everyone and anyone. This simply isn’t true. If you publish something on your site, then it belongs to you and nobody else, unless you say so.
- Unfortunately, despite the above fact, it is still pretty easy for anyone to take what you produce. If that is someone copying your article to use with students or to share with other people in your profession that may well be fine with you, especially if they acknowledge you as the source and provide a link back to your site, but that isn’t always the case.
- There are companies that set up thousands of websites and just copy in content from other sites in an effort to generate money through advertising. They never actually produce their own content, just rip off other people’s and in many cases without any links back or credit.
- There are also those who set up sites and just copy content they find interesting. This could be well intentioned and they may be crediting you as the source, but if they are doing it on a regular basis this could well start to have a negative impact on your own site.
So what harm can it do?
- Well firstly, if someone is viewing your work on another site, then they aren’t visiting your site, so they are reducing your site traffic. If you rely on visitor numbers and page impressions to get funding, then this can start to endanger your site.
- There is also the risk that search engines like Google who try to spot sites that are copying content in multiple places blacklist your site as one of the copies.
- If you ever want to make money from your site (and why shouldn’t you? We all need to eat) by either selling the content for republication or selling the whole site etc whoever pays for it will want to know that what they are getting is original and unique.
If they aren’t crediting you as author of the content and linking back, you could drop them a message asking them to credit you with a link back or even ask them to remove your content from their site and remind them that what they are doing is theft of your intellectual property.
Here you can download a (440k) PDF showing you how to set up Fairshare to track your content.
How about you?
- How do you protect your copyright?
- Do you track where your content is going?
- Are you bothered if someone copies your content?
Drop me a line or leave a comment below.