What Would You Do If Someone Scraped Your Web Site Content?

Normally when I pose a question in the title of my posts I go on to answer it myself.

This time, however, I ask a question to which I do not know the answer.

Earlier today I found two different sites that were copying my recent posts, in their entirety, word for word.

If I had any kind of ego I might feel flattered by this – after all, they do say plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery don’t they?

Anyway, I’m not going to name and shame the two sites in this post – methinks theres a good chance this post will appear on those sites anyway.

No, instead my point is to see what you guys think is the correct response to having your content stolen?

I have a few options –

Hotlink Protection

Firstly, both sites in question are also displaying my pictures in their posts. This could give me the opportunity to use hotlink protection through my hosting account in such a way that the picture they get is different to the one I display. I could utilise this to send a message about content theft or, alternatively, find something gross involving a woman and a horse for example.

RSS Redirection Fun

Secondly, I know how they got my content – through the RSS feed from another of my sites which now picks up these posts since I 301 redirected the home page of the old site to point to the home page of this site.

Knowing this, I could now change where that original feed points, maybe finding an RSS feed from a DMCA type site to make a point, or some gross type of site as alluded to above. Better yet, I could make my feed redirect to their feed – that way, every time their bot scrapes my feed it will in fact copy their own, leading to a huge amount of duplicate content appearing on their site.

My understanding is that this could end up becoming an endless loop which will surely fill them up with so many copies of the same posts that the search engines will quickly spit them out.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act

A third option would be to contact the webmasters (I’ve tried without success thus far) or the hosts. Failing that, a DMCA takedown notice might just do the trick. Seems like a lot of effort without any fun payback to me though.

Speak To My Friends

Fourthly, through Twitter and other avenues, I have come to know many great and interesting people in the security arena – not all of these work on the light side. Some of these people have offered to practice their skills in certain ways, if you catch my drift. Interesting, but not really my style.

Pepper My Posts With Affiliate Links

The fifth option that I thought of was to make a point of writing several posts in a row into which I could insert affiliate links. Doing so would mean that I could, possibly, earn some money from having my hard work copied around the web – if someone found my post in another place and used those links then I might possibly earn from it.

Good idea in theory but not good for my own blog if I link to products every single time I write something.

Ignorance Isn’t Very Blissful

Lastly, I could ignore the problem and just hope neither of these sites would outrank me.

Which option would you choose and why??

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the opinions you’ve already given me Stuart, much appreciated.

    Hotlink protection is definitely the way to go for now I reckon, and then I’ll see what happens.

  2. Lee – you know my opinion already.

    Do what you can but personally I’d refrain from the gross or lewd. That’s just me I admit, but probably best not to start a war you don’t even want.

    By all means use hotlink protection – but create an image especially for the purpose saying somethign like “All this content stolen from Security FAQs” or similar.

    I think I’d be also very tempted to let your ‘friends’ do their work. But now it’s been mentioned publically one can’t be seen to condone that 😉

Trackbacks

  1. […] far more common manner – lazy people looking to make some easy cash have often used tools to scape my content and place it on their own web site. So what can you, and what should you, do if someone steals your […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lee. Lee said: What Would You Do If Someone Scraped Your Web Site Content? http://bit.ly/bU0FJ6 (useful comments appreciated) […]

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