Content writers: protect your texts from being stolen in 4 steps


The internet is a wide, open space. This can be great – the amount of information and entertainment you can find online is limitless. But sometimes, that content was created by people who do that for a living and get no credit. Texts, infographics and virtually anything else gets stolen and copied online on a regular basis. If you are concerned that content theft might personally impact you, here’s how to avoid it in four steps:


1. Clearly identify yourself as the author

The first step is all about prevention. Make sure you have a copyright section on your content or on the site where it is posted. This is the first solid basis of proof that you have – you own the content and it isn’t for anyone else to use it as they see fit.

There are ways to go even further when establishing your authorship. If you made an infographic – watermark it. If you wrote an article – put your name or the name of your client in it. This will solve a part of the problem. People who genuinely think it is okay to copy your content might be deterred. Sometimes, they just assume it falls under the creative commons license or don’t know any better – that’s when a simple stating of the rules helps. Unfortunately, there are more malicious cases.

2. Check the web for potential theft

To find out if your content is getting used without permission, you can use a number of tools. I can personally recommend Copyscape. It’s a great solution for people who post a lot of content in one place, like my freelancer tips, for example. It works by letting you check an entire webpage, like and giving you a list of all websites that use the content on it.

If you want to keep tabs on a particular text, you can copy and paste it in Plagium. This will look for that specific string of words. And while there is a pretty low sign limit at 5,000 signs, even pasting half or less of your text should do the trick. Finally, a lot of people recommend using Google Alerts. This lets you set up an automatic search of certain keywords or phrase and sends you the results via email. However, the phrases have to be very unique in order for this to work. Google Alerts can be a viable solution for very niche topics or phrases you invented yourself.

3. Contact the people responsible

If you completed the first two steps you are now clearly listed as the author and have specified your rights. But you might have still found a stolen piece of content using the methods listed above. Now you go on the offensive and get in touch with the people responsible.

Go to the site owner first. It might be an honest mistake or not their fault – let’s say a guest author stole your content and the owner didn’t know about it. Going to them first often leads to the easiest solution – the site takes down the content or gives you credit. If they made money off of the stolen product, contact a lawyer.

4. Reach the host or ask Google to take it down

If you just want to remove the content and aren’t getting a response from the site owners, there are two sides you can contact. First of all, the people or company who host the site. They are probably unaware of what’s happening. Put your claim in writing, attaching dates of the original content that shows you own it. Sometimes this will lead to the hosting party taking down the content or even the entire web page. You can find the hosts using WhoIsHostingThis.

A second way, which will take some time to actually do and process because of its complexity, is contacting Google directly. If the claim goes through, Google will remove the search result from its queries.


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Pic: ©unsplash

Viktor Marinov

Viktor is the voice behind the freelancermap blog. Every week he comes up with helpful hints, checklists, and guides for freelancers and independent workers. If you would like to know how to find remote jobs online or how to niche yourself as a freelancer, don't miss his freelancer tips!

By Viktor Marinov

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