Content Theft Prevention 101

In a previous post, I defined plagiarism and copyright infringement. I also let you know that you technically don’t need to have copyright statement on your blog to be protected under copyright law. I also gave a few links and tips. Well, I’m about to dive in deeper to show you some other tips and hints.

First off, do add a copyright statement somewhere on your site. Whether you create a special page, or add this to a footer (which doesn’t really work with infinite scroll, ne?), or a sidebar. I highly advise following the guidelines set forth on Plagiarism Today’s site. I also highly recommend really looking up and understanding Fair Use and Creative Commons. Oh, and the cool thing about Creative Commons is that if you wish to implement it on your site, they have a short online questionnaire to fill out and they’ll supply you with the code and statement for free. Isn’t that nice?

Okay, so you’ve added your copyright notice following the guidelines for a correct and accurate one. You’ve implemented a Creative Commons license to work with your copyright if you so desired. Now…does that stop content thieves? Hell no. We have two really different kinds of thieves. There’s the classic copy and pasters and the RSS feed thieves. I recommend checking out Internet Power User Shout Me Loud’s article “Why You Should Offer Partial Feeds after Google Panda Update” (yes, it’s a bit dated, but that doesn’t change the fact that the advice still applies today on partial vs. full feed).

To prevent RSS feed thieves who copy posts, NEVER EVER allow your full article to be posted via RSS. In WordPress this is as easy as going to the Admin dashboard, going to Settings, and then Reading and making a simple change. There is a section that states “For each article in a feed, show” and you have two options, full text or summary. Do change it from full text to summary. This means they at least cannot get your whole post. If you are a Blogger user, go to your settings and choose Other. Change your Allow Blog Feed to whichever item you feel suits you best. I recommend going with Summary (first 400 characters) or Until Jump Break (so when you truncate a post by using the Read More break). Do you use an external RSS feed burner? You can also optimize that to only show partial feeds. I can’t even remember how I did that in Feedburner. LOL. Oh well. Just play around in the settings or Google is your friend.

Oh, besides not allowing your entire content to be accessed in an RSS feed, I really am a supporter of NOT even allowing full content (except for really, really short posts) to be shown on your blog’s main front page. In WordPress, some themes are set up to use that custom Excerpt field and many are not. So, using the Insert Read More Tag is really helpful in truncating the content (plus it means content stealers have a few extra clicks to get to the content they want to take from you). In Blogger, use the “Insert Jump Break” option.

So, you’ve now added copyright, truncated your RSS feed, and even truncated the content on your front page. What else is there to possibly do? Well, if you want to get into some nitty gritty work, there is something you can do code-wise. I’m kind of ambivalent myself on this, but I don’t think implementing some of these codes on a post by post basis isn’t bad. I HATE it when things like this are implemented sitewide, though.

First things first. Let’s get rid of highlighting text. This means that people cannot highlight and select text to copy and paste (we all know there are ways around this, but it’s something only diehard thieves will work around). I have officially tested this code on a self-hosted WordPress site and it works wonderfully. The thing is, you’d probably want to create a special CSS style in a child styles heet (it’s never a good idea to make changes to the theme’s original CSS file). You can find the correct CSS code here: css-tricks.com/almanac/properties/u/user-select/. You can attempt this on WordPress.com if you have the custom CSS feature (yeah, you have to pay for it). Or, you can try inline styling if you so choose.

You do need to be in code view. Simply paste the code in, changing it to say what you want. It is wonky and won’t always work. It’s kind of hit or miss since there is always CSS compatibility issues with various browsers.

<p style=”-webkit-touch-callout: none; -webkit-user-select: none; -moz-user-select: none; -ms-user-selet: none; -o-user-select: none; user-select: none;”>Text you don’t want highlighted goes here.</p>

Try highlighting this text

You can disable right clicking, but that is a number one pet peeve of mine. Plus, it can break your site in various ways, so I don’t recommend it at all. The best way to protect images would be watermarking or simply stamping some sort of text on it as people are less likely to grab images (oh, they still do, but it’s a way that does discourage some theft) with text or watermarks. Of course, they can always steal the image you created and crop off the text or watermark depending where you’ve put it.

If you are a site owner and are comfortable doing some work in .htaccess, then check out this tutorial which gives you the code: www.javascriptkit.com/howto/htaccess10.shtml. Sometimes, you can even avoid .htaccess things if your webhost has an easy way to enable hotlink protection. There is even a handy dandy custom form that will generate a file for you to copy and paste into your own .htaccess file.

WordPress and Blogger also make it easy to attach your blog to a Google+ page. This is a great way to show ownership of your content. I highly recommend checking out Kissmetric‘s post on safeguarding your blog content which does go into verifying authorship with Google+. In WordPress, attaching your blog to your Google+ page is in Settings > Sharing. Blogger is even easier, it has Google+ on the main sidebar menu.

I also recommend setting up a Google+ page for your site, because as we have found at work, it does help boost search rankings for your content to some degree. Sure, the social networking and interactions aren’t necessarily all that amazing, but still. You can always try organizing a Hangout with blog friends, right?

So…I think that was everything.

4 comments

  • A very informative article! Thanks 🙂

  • You rawk, NeeNee!! Thanks for this – SO enlightening! 😀

  • Thanks for sharing!

  • Great read! I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award over at The Huge Anime Fan.

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