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How to Stop Content Scrapers

I’ve heard a bunch of stories about bloggers whose content was copied or stolen by others. I always wonder to myself- how did the copier think they would get away with it? I mean, come on- this is the internet we’re talking about. Nothing can be hidden here.

Especially when a site completely scrapes an entire book review, but has the “courtesy” to include a source link at the bottom of the page. This recently happened to me. Here is my original post and below is copied content.

Check it out. Exhibit A:

My Red Glove post completely recopied

Oh look, how nice. They cited the link at the bottom. Exhibit B:

So nice of them to think of me...

If you want to check it out further- click here to see the full, stolen post. I hate to give them any more traffic, but I thought some of you may be curious.

I’m not sure how other people feel about this. I mean, some could argue that the scraper did cite a link to my original post. My thoughts are that that if you turned in an essay in college that was totally ripped off of someone else’s paper and cited the original article in the bibliography, wouldn’t this be labeled as cheating?

This bothers me for a bunch of reasons. The biggest one being that I work really hard on my reviews. I do my best to provide a unique perspective and insights into books. To just have the whole post lifted and re-posted on another blog (along with a bunch of other scraped content from a random range of sites), is really upsetting.

I plan to handle this in the following ways:

1. Comment on the blog, stating a cease and desist notification.
2. Find and contact the owner of the blog using WhoIs.com Database and send another cease and desist letter.
3. Take pre-emptive action for the future by using Copyscape.com to see if my posts are being scaped elsewhere.
4. Set up Google Alerts (described in this post at LegalProductivity.com) to notify me of future scraped content.

For anyone who’s curious- bloggers do not need to officially copyright their posts or blog. Once you’ve written a post, it’s inherently copyrighted and would be recognized as such if a dispute ever came up. If you wanted to trademark something, that would require official legal paperwork (and fees, ew).

Has your content ever been scraped or copied? How did you handle it? Any advice or tips about scraped content is welcome! I’m definitely open to all opinions!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Anonymous

    The site looks like it’s lifting content from everywhere. If you look at the tags at the bottom of “their” post, it’s obvious what they’re doing. The tags are for basketball and stuff like that.

    From the teaching perspective, students who copy and paste directly from a source, use no original words of their own, fail to use quotation marks, BUT cite the source are still considered plagiarizers.

    How did you find out about the lifted material?

    • They actually had the guts to include a “source” at the bottom that was my post URL. So, I got the trackback notification about it. Super annoying..

  • I just cannot fathom why people copy other bloggers reviews! Why are you blogging if you can’t come up with original content?! It boggles the mind.

  • Pam Wright

    If that isn’t the height of “laziness!” But it certainly doesn’t surprise me. People will do just about anything to get credit for something they didn’t do! Sad state of affairs for journalists or any other profession for that matter. If more people were irate about this maybe someone would stop it. But it looks like not many people care. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now:(

    • Haha, you can stay on it! 🙂 Sadly, I think the internet is so big that scrapers like that will always be popping up :/ But information about the issues will be the biggest deterrent for it happening again and again.

  • Elissa Backas

    I’m sorry this happened to you 🙁 Unfortunately I think it’s been going on quite a bit lately. At least you got some credit, usually they don’t give any. Unfortunately, much like spam, it’s illegal, but there’s not a whole lot you can do about it without spending a great deal of time trying to stop it 🙁

  • I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. Thank you for posting links about how to see if your posts are being scraped. I never knew how to check. This is a great informative post!

    • Thanks Linda! If one person can be helped from this craziness, then this post was worth it! 😀

  • Ems

    That is terrible! I’m sorry…what a complete mess. And people who plagiarize are jerks, plain and simple.

    Thanks for the tips on checking for this (I’m apparently not big or cool enough to scrape my stuff! :P). I’ll be keeping my eyes open. Hope it doesn’t happen to you again!

    • Thanks, Ems! I think the scraper took my post just randomly. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. Which makes it all the more obnoxious! lol

  • So sad to hear this happened to you! I wonder why so many bloggers are getting their content stolen. But thanks for the tips. I’d never heard of copyscape before.

  • morsecode (karen)

    Good luck dealing with this. I’d be interested to hear how they respond to a cease-and-desist posting.

  • People assume that if you simply ‘cite the source’ you can reproduce anything you find on the web. That is ABSOLUTELY WRONG.
    The copyright laws are quite specific that it is *unlawful* to reproduce *in part or in whole* without *express* [written] permission of the copyright holder.
    Also, when you publish something (even on the Internet) it is implicitly protected by this law and you are the legal holder of the copyright.

  • That happened to me once. I sent an email to the website owner requesting them to remove the post immediately and notified them that in the future before ‘borrowing’ any content they must contact me first for written approval (kind of common sense I know). They removed the post right away. Good luck!

  • Melissa Hayden

    I don’t think any of my posts have been stolen. Or that I know of anyway. I have the google alerts set up, but I don’t think they work right as I know there are times and places my alerts are set for show up on friends blogs and google doesn’t find it. So I don’t trust it. But I still have it. I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out. And hope all works out for you. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the information though.

  • Tammy

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. Thanks for posting the links so others can make arragements for it not to happen to them.

  • I have actually been the guilty one who did post another post of elsewhere, and the owner did come and tell me ….and I did remove it. I did learn my lesson back then. I am glad you have written to complain and did all that you did do. I have learned more by doing this “only once” – then any other lesson. I am guilty as charged but honor all others now. Thanks for your honesty as others do need to realize not to copy others work. I now use the © 2011 but as you said it is all copywrite anyhow now in our blogs. Thanks. Jackie