In the most recent WordPress Wednesday News on the Blog Herald, I reported on the mass copyright violations and scrapings of WordPress.com blogs, as reported by Letters Home to You in “Has Anyone Stolen Your Writing Lately?” and “Please Help Me Get Google to Pull Their Ads from a Blogging Thief”.
There is also a WordPress Support Forums discussion on the subject, though it is now closed.
This is not the first time that WordPress.com blogs have been the target of scrapers. Last year, many of us fought against the giant blog scraper and splog, Bitacle, which continues to scrap WordPress and WordPress.com blogs, unfortunately. Still, a united voice can carry a lot of weight. And almost two million bloggers on WordPress.com makes for a tonnage of voices.
VanFossen isn’t referring to the kind of plagiarism in which a lazy college student copies sections of a book or another paper. This is automated digital plagiarism in which software bots can copy thousands of blog posts per hour and publish them verbatim onto Web sites on which contextual ads next to them can generate money for the site owner.
Such Web sites are known among Web publishers as “scraper sites” because they effectively scrape the content off blogs, usually through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and other feeds on which those blogs are sent.
WordPress.com bloggers cannot put ads on their blogs. But scrapers are taking your WordPress.com blog content and making money with your words.
I’ve written about what to do when someone steals your blog content, but here is the reader’s digest version on how to respond if your WordPress.com blog content is being used in violation of your copyright policy.
Report to WordPress.com: To report copyright violations on this massive scale to WordPress.com, you can use their Feedback link from within your Administration Panels, or the WordPress.com Support. Do not report isolated cases to them as there is nothing they can do about it unless the offending blog is on WordPress.com.
Report to Google: To report copyright violations, splogs (spam blogs), and scrapers to Google, you can submit the information through their Google Report Spam form or the Webmaster Tools Report Spam Form.
At WordCamp, Google blogger, Matt Cutts, explained that if enough reports on a specific site came in through the Google Webmaster Tools Report Spam online form, it would rise to the top of the list and Google would take action.
It’s time to make these scrapers’ names rise to the top of the list.
- What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content
- Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringements
- The Growing Trends in Content Theft
- Stop Content Theft Buttons and Badges
- Battling Comment Spam: Human Versus Human
- Understanding GPL and Copyright in WordPress Community Podcast
- Copyright Law Tips from Daily Blog Tips
- Brag On: Jonathan Bailey Now Offers Plagiarism Advice on the Blog Herald
- Podcast Release WordPress Plugin Helps You Get Permission
- Modern Crusader: Plagiarism Today with Jonathan Bailey
- Can The DMCA Be Used Against You If Someone Doesn’t Like What You Blog?
- WordPress Plugins Battling Evil
- Applaud Those Who Warn You: Your Blog’s Content Is Being Stolen
- I Love Your List! I’m Going To Copy It!
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.