This is part one of a multi-part blog series about using the law to protect your blog content against scrapers and thieves.

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To fight scrappers legally, you need to get your blog in shape - legally.

I am amazed as I browse about the world of weblogs each day at the amount of blogs who do not post any form of copyright notice on their pages. Copyright attaches automatically when a work is produced and becomes tangible, like a post on your blog. Legally speaking, there is no requirement to display the copyright © symbol on your blog to have rights to the work.

As an attorney, the question I have is “Why wouldn’t you put a copyright notice on your blog?” There are only a couple of possible answers:

  • You’re lazy.
  • You’re a wannabe lawyer and say stuff like “I don’t need it I’m protected anyway.”
  • You think a copyright notice or the © would detract from your blog or seem pretentious and legal.
  • You don’t know how to add a copyright notice to your blog.

First a note about “Registering” a copyright. Registering a copyright is a formal process where you file a record of your copyright. Registering your copyright is beyond the scope of this series because, as I said earlier, I hope to show you how to fight the scrapers without setting foot in court or incurring any legal fees. You should know, however, that registering your copyright can only help you in your copyright fight and is very important should you need to litigate your fight. (Learn more about the importance of registering your copyright.)

Adding an official copyright notice and the © symbol to the footer in your blog is the first step to preparing your blog to fight scrapers and content thieves. Of course this notice means nothing to the scraper sites and thieves, but who cares? Later in this series you will see that we are going to move far beyond the scrapers and content thieves themselves and you will begin to appreciate the simple little notice in your footer.

Wordpress is an amazing blogging platform, but one of my biggest complaints is that a copyright notice is not shipped standard in the download. It’s one line of code that can be added, it’s not a big deal. I would also like to see Wordpress theme developers start producing copyright notices in their themes for legitimate blog owners.

The keywords there were “legitimate blog owners”. Not shipping Wordpress with a default copyright notice in the footer and not creating templates with a default copyright notice in the footer only helps scraper sites and content thieves who can create mass installations of Wordpress and mindlessly slap any theme they want on their new splog.

Don’t get me wrong, even if a copyright notice was in the Wordpress code or even in the footer of Kubrick, scrapers and thieves would not stop using Wordpress or Kubrick for splogs. Making a copyright notice standard would help your ordinary average blogger who knows little or nothing about how to modify their blog theme.

The best way to add a copyright notice to your blog footer is to use a great plugin called Blog-Copyright. Blog-Copyright displays a dated copyright mark that is automatically updated from year to year and is post/page (post date or custom field) and archive aware. Blog-Copyright also has several parameters available to suit your particular copyright notice, although the standard notice is just fine. We use this plugin at the bottom of our pages and never have to worry about updating the date or anything like that.

That’s step one to attacking scrapers and content thieves legally; prepare your blog with a simple copyright notice.

In the next post in this series, I will show how to prepare your feed and then we’ll start having real fun with the bad guys!

"Blog Series: Attacking Scrapers And Content Thieves Legally - Step 1" by Tommy was published on April 25th, 2007 and is listed in Wordpress.

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Comments on "Blog Series: Attacking Scrapers And Content Thieves Legally - Step 1": 1 Comment

  1. MAD KANE’S HUMOR BLOG » Blog Archive » Victory In My Battle Against Feed Scraping Content Thief wrote,

    […] 5. This article about Attacking scrapers and content thieves legally. […]

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