What I Did When Someone Stole my Blog’s Content

S is for Stealing ContentBy Laura Christianson

I am steamed.

A few minutes ago, I received a “pingback” on the blog post I published Monday about redesigns to the major social media outlets. (A pingback is an email message that includes a link to a website or blog that links to your article).

Interested to see who was linking to an article I’d labored over for many hours, I checked it out. The site had reprinted my article, in its entirety.

Not only that, but the site’s owner placed her own byline directly above my article. And she made no attempt to link back to the article on my site.

Even worse, the site that reprinted my article was another social media marketing company! A company that I had liked on Facebook (and have very recently dis-liked). Aaarrrrgh!

As you can imagine, I took immediate action. I posted the following comment on her blog, beneath my article:

Please delete this article from your website immediately. The content, in its entirety, has been stolen from the Blogging Bistro website, where it was originally published March 18, 2013 at http://www.bloggingbistro.com/facebook-google-youtube-pinterest-twitter-get-major-redesigns/.

You did not ask for nor receive permission to reprint the article; thus, you are breaking copyright law.

I can’t believe that a marketing company would have the audacity to steal someone else’s content. You should know better.

I sent a similar message via email directly to the blogger/marketer. A couple of minutes later, I received the following reply from her:

We apologize as we weren’t stealing your content – we linked to your website and state that it is your information in the post. We had planned to also link to your Facebook page tomorrow via a scheduled post. We can remove it if you wish. Didn’t mean to ‘steal’ we were simply sharing an informative article.

The blogger followed it up six minutes later with this message:

I never took credit for it at all. It states clearly in the article that it is yours- with links AND images. I will remove of [sic] you don’t want the shared/promoted exposure that’s your choice.

Can you see the steam shooting out my ears?

After double- and triple-checking my article on their website and taking screenshots of the entire article to see if I’d missed my own byline and the supposed link to my website (neither of which were visible to the naked eye), I replied:

When you reprint an entire article without asking or receiving permission from the author, that is stealing. Check copyright laws on this. I’m not seeing a link or any attribution to the original source — just your own byline and my article, reprinted wholesale on your site.

For future reference, whenever you share someone else’s content, you are allowed to publish a limited excerpt (length of excerpt depends on the length of the original article — for a blog post, it’s usually a couple of lines or a very short paragraph) with an attribution to the author and a link back to the primary source.

But you can never, ever reprint an article, song lyrics, poem, book chapter, blog post etc. in its entirety without written permission from the author.

Disguising “stealing” as “sharing” wouldn’t go over well in court. Please remove the article immediately. If you want to compose your own original promotion of the article along with my byline and a link to my site, you have permission to do that. That would be genuine and honest sharing.

To her credit, the marketer immediately took my article off her site. She replaced the reprint with an appropriate intro, link to my article, and credit line.

If she hadn’t, I would have been sorely tempted to use the power of social media to alert her clients and prospective clients (and the rest of the world) that this woman has no qualms about stealing other people’s content. She really wouldn’t have wanted me to go there.

So, readers, did I do the right thing? What would you have done?

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Image courtesy of morgueFile

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