I can't believe today is Day 16, and the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge is already half over! I am still having a great time, although I've fallen a little behind on the tasks in the past few days. One of the best things about this challenge, though, is that now I have the e-book as a resource. I can complete the tasks again as many times as I want to, and for any I didn't put a huge effort into, I can do them again when I have more time. It's great!
The challenge for today is to write a post that solves a problem for your readers. This can be a great way to draw new traffic, as well as solving your own problems and providing great information to reader. I can't wait to see what all of the other ladies in the challenge come up with, hopefully they'll solve some problems for me!
Maintaining a blog is effectively a means of self-publishing material online. The internet gives us a wonderful forum to share our words, and to many bloggers the things we write are a little piece of who we are, and mean a lot to us. One of the challenges that can face us, especially as our blogs grow, is how to protect our writing from plagiarism.
Protecting Your Material
If you were an author writing articles for a newspaper, or writing books, you would do everything you could to protect your materials. Any book you pick up, whether it's full of essays, poetry, recipes or a novel, has a copyright notice in the front of the book letting people know that the author own that material. Along with this copyright come protections that tell people how and when they are allowed to re-publish the materials.
eHow has a great article about how to copyright and protect your blog. This list mentions several places that it might be good to display your copyright notice.
At Blog Traffic Exchange, you can find a great article about how to physically add your own copyright to your blog. Adding a copyright will not prevent people from copying your work, but it will alert them that what they're doing is not allowed. This takes away the excuse of 'I didn't know' from anyone who wants to copy your work.
If you host your blog on Wordpress, you could use a plugin like Copyfeed. Just do a search for plugins, and you're likely to find one that you like and is easy to work with.
A more extreme option is to disable right-click on your website. This will prevent people from copying and pasting content directly from your page. You should keep in mind, however, that this prevents any right clicks, including opening a link in a new window or tab. Some web surfers may be turned off by this limitation on their viewing.
For more considerations, check out this timely article published today on the Problogger Blog. The Content Producers Copyright Checklist is a great resource for bloggers thinking about how to protect their work.
One way to help make sure your material stays your own is to post a copyright notice on your blog. Creative Commons is a great resource for bloggers, photographers, and anyone who posts material online. From their website:
"Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.
We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof."
At creativecommons.org, you can read about how to license your work, and what it means when others license their work. The great thing about a Creative Commons license is that it allows you to copyright your work, but gives people permissions (under conditions you choose) to copy or distribute your work as long as it's credited back to you. To get more information before you license your work, you can visit Creative Commons article 'Before Licensing' about things to consider along the way.
Sharing Your Work
If you want people to know that sharing your work is okay as long as they follow certain guidelines, the more guidance you give them, the better.
Sandy from The Road To Fabulous had a great suggestion, which she shared on the message boards at BlogFrog. Sandy said:
Many of the articles I write in my ezine and on my blog contain this little paragraph at the end:
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sandy Grason is a Rock Star Author, Int’l Speaker & Hot Mogul. Get on the Guest List for Sandy’s next Virtual Cocktail Party®, gain access to private videos, articles, tips, tools and strategies. Get Fabulous Free Gifts including: 60-minute mp3 download “The Manifesting Mojo Class” where you’ll learn how to rock your manifesting mojo now at www.SandyGrason.com
Usually that helps-then if they want to use it, I get more traffic and subscribers. However, if someone is intent on stealing your stuff, they'll find a way to do it.
Breathe, keep focused on the awesome stuff that only YOU can create and know that karma is a bitch.
If Plagiarism Happens
Despite your best efforts, it is possible someone will decide to be dishonest and copy your work. What should you do if you think or know your work has been stolen?
If you suspect that your work has been copied, one resource is Copyscape. At their website, you can enter your web address or the web address of a specific post, and they will search for infringement. The provide a free plagiarism detector as well as premium services including batch searches and case tracking.
The first step if you find your content has been copied is to contact the author of the post that has stolen your material. Sometimes, they may not realize they've done something wrong, especially if they're new to the blogging world. Let them know that you would appreciate that they either take down your work, or link and give credit where it's due. In some cases, this may solve the problem.
Unfortunately, there may be cases where the response is less than positive. Another option is to contact the host site. If the material has been published in a forum or on a site like Facebook, contact the administrators and let them know of the infringement. If it's hosted on Blogger, Wordpress, or another service, you may be able to notify them and they may be able to remove the material or contact the person who published it.
PS In reading this blog, you may have noticed something missing - I don't have a copyright notice anywhere! I had one at one point, but when I changed templates it must have disappeared. So, there's another tip - make sure if you change designs or templates, all the little things get transferred over. I'll be sure to have a notice up very soon!