I Try DIY has been up and running for nearly three years. I admit, the blog was born out of being unemployed for the first time in over a decade. It was a pastime, for sure. Amazingly, over the last couple years the blog grew into something more than just a hobby. In fact, I treat I Try DIY like a baby. This baby has grown over the years, and I’m proud of what it has turned out to be.
Until recently, I never felt the need to add a copyright notice on the site. After discovering a few sites who have used my tutorials in full on their site, I went ahead and added the following to the footer of this site.
I work really hard on this blog and the tutorials contained on this site. I spend lots of time, effort and money on each one. If you enjoy them, feel free to link to the site as much and as often as you’d like. You may even use a photo or two. All I ask, is for you to not repost the tutorials in full. Thanks!
Don’t get me wrong, people appreciating my tutorials makes blogging all worth it. The thing is, I believe there are people out there that don’t know that what they’re doing is considered ‘stealing’ content. Here are some pointers for co-bloggers out there.
What is considered Stolen Content?
A LINK-BACK CREDIT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH
There are several sites out there that link to tutorials on my site, using a photo or two. That’s the way it should be. On the other hand, there are sites out there that use 90% of the tutorial (text and photos), and leave a small link-back credit at the tail end of the post. The thing is, because you’ve already copied everything on your site, nearly no one will check out the original post on our site. The link-back doesn’t make things right.
USING OTHER PEOPLE’S PHOTOS IS NOT COOL
There are also a few sites out there that don’t necessarily use the instructions verbatim. They do, however, like the step-by-step photos so much that they use most, if not all, of them on their own blogs. The truth is, it takes me nearly an entire afternoon to perfect a tutorial post and the photos that are included on the site. If you’re inspired by my post and would like to share it on your site, you can either link to the original site for others to learn from it. Or, you can document your own experience in remaking the projects.
CROPPING OUT A WATERMARK IS A DEFINITE NO-NO
The worst of them all. I have actually discovered a couple sites that have used my tutorial photos, and creatively cropped out my logo watermark. Sometimes, even to the point of having a photo that no longer makes sense. The fact that they had to go through the effort of removing my logo tells me they knew exactly what they were doing. Again, totally not cool. That’s stealing other people’s work. I’ve had the same thing happen to a couple photos on my Instagram. Crazy!
How can I check for stolen content?
For other creative bloggers out there, here are a few ways you can stay on your toes and keep track of your content!
- GOOGLE ALERTS – Set up to receiver alerts for links to your site, or popular post titles.
- COPYSCAPE – Run popular post URLs through the site to see if there are any copycat posts out there. I found quite a few this way!
- MENTION Set up an alert for any mentions of your site out there. Even with a free basic account, I’ve managed to sniff a few sites out there.
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS – I go through my analytics daily. I check out referrals, mainly to thank sites who link to stuff on this site. I love those guys. I’ve also managed to find a few of the other kind. The trick is to check out the sites with lower referral counts. There’s also a report for Trackbacks, or sites that have linked directly to your site. It even shows how many times people have actually clicked through to your site.
- REVERSE GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH – Upload photos from your site, and see if other sites are using them. Oftentimes, you get Pinterest results, and that’s totally fine. Then sometimes, you get hits from those dreaded websites.
What do I do if I find stolen content?
For a while, I did nothing. I just left some sites alone. That was until I came across a repeat offender, and not just with my own content. I left a comment on the post itself, first thanking them for liking my tutorial, but followed it up with a question about cropping out my logo from the images. The comment on that blog was deleted. I then sent an e-mail, again thanking them for linking to my blog, but asking for the post to either be edited or removed. The e-mail was ignored, and nothing was done to the blog post. I have been told that I can go and file a DMCA Takedown. For blogspot websites, you can report stolen images to Blogger/Google. I haven’t quite decided if this is worth my while. I’ll keep you guys updated, that’s for sure.
I hope this post helps you guys!
UPDATE: After publishing this post, I was notified of another instance of stolen content. Well, it’s actually more like stolen brand identity. Why anyone would think this is okay is beyond me!