Hey, That’s My Blog Post!
March 1, 2012 195 Comments
Twice in the last few weeks, I’ve encountered an exact copy of my blog post on another website. “We were not amused”, I can tell you!
In one case, a book review had been copied over to the website of the author of the book, with no reference to my blog. In the other case, I found one of my blog posts on a forum that dealt with a relevant issue.
But I like your post! I didn’t mean to steal it!
I’m flattered that people like my posts and want to show it to others. But copying the whole post is not the way to go. What could they have done instead:
Copy a few paragraphs with a link to my blog
There are blogs that seem to consist only out of the first few lines of other people’s blog posts with a link to read the rest of the post on the original blog. Examples are Pulplit Magazine and Review Gallery. While I don’t know if anyone ever looks at these sites (they don’t interest me), I have no problem with an extra link to my blog.
I have no objection against people taking a few paragraphs of my post, as long as there is a link to my blog.
Ask me whether you can use (some of) my post. I don’t bite! The author who copied my post to his website wasn’t a great communicator. When I emailed him to ask him to use only a small portion of my blog post with a link to my blog, I got back an email saying “Okay”. Seriously, that email was one word long! When I checked later whether he had changed his website, I found that he had taken off the whole post. Which was fine. I don’t benefit at all if my text is reproduced without a link to my website, so I had no interest in having my review on his website.
If he had emailed me before putting the (whole) post on his website, I may have even agreed to him doing so.
Think about what you’re doing. Think about copyright
Most people probably have nothing bad in mind. They see a blog post and find it interesting or useful for their own audience, they copy it, and that’s it. The person that copied my post to a forum did so because the forum dealt with a similar issue as my post. I wasn’t able to track the person down but as it was, a nice discussion resulted, including someone asking for the link to my blog (“Where did you get this from?”), so in the end, all was (reasonably) well.
Copyright is a difficult issue that I’m not going to go into here. My blogs have a copyright notice at the bottom, but they are not registered with a copyright agency. As I understood it (but have no link to prove it), blog posts are automatically copyrighted, whether you register or not. Anyway, a blog post copier should realise that a blog owner may take action when they encounter their post on a different website.
Have you found your posts on other people’s websites? What did you do? Any tips?
This blogpost was written as part of a Blogelina event
in which bloggers from all kinds of blogging backgrounds read
and comment on other participants’ blogs.