If someone you cared about told you their home was broken into, rooms were ransacked, and many of their prized possessions were stolen or destroyed, the depth of their loss would be impossible to ignore. The same sense of violation occurs when someone (or group) breaches or hacks into the digital places you feel at home at online.

Content theft is a type of cybercrime that has become the answer for cybercriminals who prefer to steal digital content rather than create content for themselves. Content theft involves scraping content from the Web using cut and paste, by mining data from RSS feeds or using data mining software to gain fast access to content which is then transferred to a different location online.

Cybercrimes are real crimes that happen digitally yet the affects can be debilitating and long lasting. Just as a burglar can creep into your home, someone on the hunt for content online (cybercriminal) can creep into your digital life, steal your sense of security and force you to deal with the realities of digital intrusions. Sharp professionals and organizations must remain aware of how cyber forensics  and cyber security issues show up in busy lives.

Thou shall not steal content or credit

As simple as this rule is, some people will simply ignore it. Some people will steal whatever content they want, fail to mention where it came from, re-publish it under their name…with little thought or concern for what they’ve done. Stealing content is big problem and it’s much more than a nuisance for website owners and site administrators. Stolen and republished content alters SEO rankings and lowers SERPs.

There are several things that can be done to prevent content theft online:

  1. Add a copyright notice on your blog and make sure it is always visible.
  2. Use Trackur to scan for your name, blog name and post title
  3. Know how to contact each search engine, e.g., Google,  to have them research and remove copyright protected content
  4. Select and show a Creative Commons License
  5. Set up your blog’s RSS feed to display post summaries via the reading settings
  6. Use Trackur to scour the web for parts of blog content
  7. Use Google and other search engines to see what you find on SERPs
  8. File DMCA notices with the social networks you find your work appearing on, e.g., Twitter, WordPress
  9. Become familiar with ChillingEffects.org
  10. Place watermarks on documents and pictures

Give Credit

Mistakes happen and most people will give the benefit of the doubt as a result. First time offenders might have a semi-sturdy leg to stand on when someone fails to cite resources properly or when a true omission occurs. On the other hand, there are other situations that are no way near mistake territory. The last thing you want to do online is give someone the impression that you don’t respect the works of others or that you’re blatantly involved in stealing content. Give credit when credit is due and you won’t have to worry about being singled out, blasted online or penalized by search engines. Content theft will undo all of the hard work you’ve done to build your online reputation. Remember to give credit when credit is due and save yourself from a huge digital headache.

What else can be done to prevent content theft?

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