When I started this blog, the only people that read it were my husband and my mom. I have a few more readers these days, but still am a relatively small blog compared to some. One thing that I fail to understand is why someone would steal my content and even what would lead them here to do it.
Last week, my husband was having a rough week. He sent me a text message that said he needed a beach vacation that day. So, as a reminder of how nice our beach vacation was, I was texting him a link to the blog post I wrote about the beach vacation. I was on my phone, so I googled it to get the link. To my surprise my blog post was not the first link to show up! Instead the number one post was to a site that I had never heard of before that not only was using my photos without permission, but also hosting them as a download so anyone could download and use them and they had been downloaded 377 times! The photos were family specific. They were photos of my children playing on the beach and a few photos of the beach house we stayed in. The site that stole them had nothing to do with homeschooling or the beach and there was nothing else on the website related to either of those topics. I was surprised to say the least.
The site had a contact us tab, but when I clicked on it it led to a blank page. After asking some blogging friends what other have done in a similar situation, I reported the site to www.privacyprotect.org. They responded within a day and told me to report it to the host of the website. You can look that information up at www.whoishostingthis.com. I reported it and received a response almost immediately. Within 24 hours, the photos were taken down.
How do we protect ourselves from content being stolen? As much I would be annoyed to find some of my written posts stolen and on another site, it bothered me a great deal more to see my photos being used on a site that wasn't related to anything that I write about! It was very bizarre! I am no expert in protecting your content when you are blogging but these are some of the things I have been told. Have a copyright statement on your blog. Will people respect it? Probably not. But if something is stolen then when you do report it you can say that your copyrighted photos, post etc...was used without your permission. You can disable right click copying on your blog. Does this mean someone still can't steal your content? No they still can but it makes it harder. You can put a watermark on your photos or label them with your blog name. You can also set up google alerts that will send you an email alerting you when whatever key words you have set up gets posted on the web.
And don't forget if you find your content someplace it is not supposed to be, report it! If the site itself will not respond or take it down, the server host will if it is stolen content.