Sunday, July 12, 2009

Copycat Bloggers Don't Last Long and Other Truths to Keep You Sane

Has your blog been copied yet? The longer it's been around, and the more traffic it has, the more likely it is that another blog will pop up with your posts on it. It's also likely that when you find out about it, you'll get pretty steamed.

Here are four truths and a bit of essential reading material to help you keep your cool:

  • Don't react until you've calmed down. Seriously. Just breathe. The last thing you need is to leave a ranting, raving comment on the internet for search engines to find. Be rational. Find out what your rights are. Then react calmly.
  • There are two kinds of copycat blogs: blogs that are run by humans and blogs whose content originates from the RSS feed of your blogs (scraper blogs). It's easy to reckon with human copycats, usually via comments or email. The latter, you might have to learn to live with (unless you're very, very determined). They're more of a nuisance than a real threat, anyway.
  • Copycat blogs (the ones run by humans) don't last long. There's just no payoff in it. Blogging, for most of us, isn't particularly lucrative, and there's no feel-good factor when you're just pasting someone else's work on your own blog. Copycat blogs tend to disappear within a few weeks of appearing, especially when copycat bloggers know you know your legal rights.
  • Your writing is yours. No one is allowed to use it without your permission. That's the law. Learning a little about U.S. copyright law (or the copyright law of your country), not to mention international copyright law, will make you feel a lot better. You can start by checking out the Bloggers' Legal Guide (a must read!). You should also become familiar with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998.
Essential Reads:
Help! Someone Else is Using my Blog's Name
Protect Your Posts from Piracy! Essential Reads

Outside BlogCoach:
Creative Commons (Do you have a copyright notice on your blog yet?)
What You Do When Someone Steals Your Content (An absolute must-read!)
7 Online Copyright Myths
The Five Worst Ideas In Content Theft
The 20 Best Free Anti-Plagiarism Tools

This post was inspired by a BlogCoach reader who's dealing with a troublesome copycat blog currently. Has your blog been copied yet? How did you deal with it? What was the result?