Protect Your Words, Your Work, And Yourself

RubyThis post is a bit of a deviation from the theme of mental health, but it’s something I like to write about annually, as I feel too few people are aware of how widespread this issue is, what their rights are, and how they can help to keep their work safeguarded.

As you may or may not be know, content theft is one of my hot button issues when it comes to blogging.  Copyrights and licenses are displayed everywhere on this blog, as well as a Copyscape banner (and yes, I actually do use this service). Additionally, each author has a unique copyright for their work on Canvas.  I have personally been to the mat many times with sites that insisted on violating intellectual property rights, and I have won every fight.

Last year on this date I saw a friend of mine victimized in a way more shocking than I ever had previously.  Another blogger had taken an entire page of this friend’s work and posted it as their own.  No credit to the original author, no links, nothing.  Fortunately, this issue was eventually settled between the two parties involved as a “misunderstanding” — but I’m very glad it inspired me to get writing about this topic.

Because many say “Such are the hazards of writing on the internet”; to which I respond (emphatically), “WRONG!!!”  Your writing is absolutely protected.  But taking additional steps will make you less likely to be targeted.  WordPress has set up a wonderful page to help you Prevent Content Theft, and it is absolutely worth reading, even if your blog or site is not hosted on their platform.

If you suspect your work has been used illegally, there is also a page on Content Theft – What to Do.

Spam sites and large outfits for advertising (to name two major violators) often think we are easy marks.  We’re just individual people, writing our blogs, telling our stories.  What can we do about it if they take something from us?  Let me tell you, we can do a lot.  And the more of us that do it, the stronger a force we become, the more hesitant these thieves are to take us on as “easy pickins”.  Help you brother and sister bloggers out.  Take action on any content theft you are victim to, no matter how small, and notify other bloggers if you think you see their work being abused.  (Just make sure you know what is and isn’t legal — someone linking to your site, quoting you in small portions with credit, or “reblogging” your posts is not content theft.)

Most importantly, be nice and don’t steal.  Those aren’t just someone’s words, they are pieces of someone’s soul.

© Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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26 thoughts on “Protect Your Words, Your Work, And Yourself

    • Anita, I am so glad it could benefit you! I like to be in a community where we can all share and promote each other, but unfortunately, we also have to be on guard against the unscrupulous.

      One of the best tips mentioned by WordPress is to set up Google alerts. I’ve had them for all my blogs since the inception of Canvas, and while they can bring back a lot of extraneous results, it’s a great way to keep an eye out for your content on the web!

  1. Excellent post. Good information. I had my blog hijacked once time several years ago. I couldn’t believe that my entire blog was on someone else’s website. I was in the midst of shutting down my site so I didn’t do anything about it. Now I realize that was a bad decision.

    • Holy cow, that far outdistances the example cited above! I’m so sorry, your whole blog. Maybe it wasn’t so much a bad decision as more than you could take on at the time, but I hurt for you, knowing all of that was stolen.

  2. Wow. I keep putting off copyrighting my stuff, but your post has turned on the lights to me. Thanks for doing that. I am marching right over to the WordPress link you posted, to learn how to protect my intellectual property.

    • Laura, I strongly urge it. There will always be those who want to try to get around it, but putting this stuff in place discourages some and informs others. It doesn’t really take much time, and your words are most definitely worth it!

      • True, but it’s really hard to catch up with people who steal your intellectual property, and having a copyright notice is a deterrent, according to WP. Doesn’t hurt.

  3. Thank you for writing about this Ruby. I never gave much thought to this until one day someone in my own circles posted a portion of one of my poems as their own. In one way it’s a compliment, but those were my words. It has since been changed slightly but it still reads very close to mine. Maybe I should read up on this? Thanks for the info. 🙂

    • Dani, again your heart just amazes me. I honestly think if someone I knew did that to me. . . Well, I obviously would try communicating with them about it first, but that’s a betrayal on a whole different level in my eyes. Yes, it is in one way a compliment, but as you say, those were your words. Still on another level it’s terribly sad that someone could be so utterly unscrupulous and desperate. . . I never thought about someone I knew doing something like this until you relayed your story, I guess, and it’s disturbing to me even to contemplate. I hope the information helps you out in the future, as it seems like you have made your peace with what is past — which is a lot more than I think I would be capable of! You’re a good lady. ♥

    • And I must enter my apologies, as I let my thoughts run away with me in that comment and be so incredibly judgmental of a situation I really know nothing of. It’s given me something to contemplate, in any case — why I became so violent in my thinking and reaction.

      • Ruby to be honest I was kind of in shock. I let another administrator know and they said they would speak to the person if I wanted them too… the person is someone I know and like.. I sort of called them out in the comment section of what they posted and said it sounded almost exactly like the beginning of mine, and I think that’s when they changed a couple words. I think it is sad really… cause it’s not like no one would notice, we are part of a collective. I don’t think it will happen again. 🙂

        • It is very sad, and also not very bright if you are all part of a collective. It’s stories like yours that give me reassurance whenever I feel a little paranoid and OCD about all the steps I take to make sure I can always prove words are mine, the meticulous records I keep. And okay, yes, I am both OCD and paranoid (at times), but still. 😉 I’m glad to know you feel confident it won’t happen again.

  4. I have pretty strong anti-copyright sentiments, but that’s because I have a legal understanding of intellectual property and its implications. We all benefit substantially from the public domain, fair use, and all the things that copyright makes us pay and pay and pay for, even after the person who generated them has been dead for 70 years. I’m sorry, copyright is not necessary to stimulate creative work, nor to “protect” artists; what copyright law actually does is promote corporate greed, line the pockets of attorneys employed by big businesses, and limit the usefulness of everything it’s applied to. Copyright is all about restricting what others can do and ultimately does more damage than good.

    /rant

    On the other hand, I definitely believe in giving credit where it’s due. I think that’s the sort of copyright you’re talking about here? Creative Commons licensing is more copyleft than copyright – instead of a blanket restriction on uses, it grants permissions.

    Since we’re on the topic, I’d like to choose a different license for my posts, if I may. I don’t want to be a jerk about it or complicate things, but I fully support derivative work.

    • DeeDee, I’ll email you tonight or tomorrow as far as specific things relating to Canvas and your license. As far as your opinion/”rant”, I agree it is valid on many points (actually, as opinions go yours are always completely meritorious to me, even when I don’t share them 😉 ). This post, however, was the product of seeing too many bloggers victimized and having to help them navigate the aftermath.

      I guess the way I can best put it is this: Your house and property are also already protected by law, but someone looking to burglarize a home is (almost always) going to choose the one with open windows, unlocked doors, and newspapers piled up in the drive over a house that’s locked up tight with someone obviously present and alert to unusual activity. I speak from much too much practical and exhausting experience when I say the simple act of making potential threats aware that you are not an “easy mark” deters a great many of them from using your blog posts in all sorts of unpleasant ways.

      • Yeah, I realized not long after posting the comment that I’m clearly a little irritable today. And that’s after trying really hard to soften it. Ugh.

        Anyway, I agree that your points are valid as well. I haven’t seen any such examples of abuse, really, but forewarned is absolutely forearmed.

        • Your arguments are still always given great weight in my mind, irritable or not. I know you, lady. You’re intelligent as well as knowledgeable, you’re passionate about things that matter to you, and you are also often at the mercy of chemical factors in your body that can make you more or less passionate at varying times. All things which we share, and some of the reasons I love you so well.

          Take me at the moment. I confess the major reason I said I’d email you “tonight or tomorrow” is because I am not at my best in many ways, and I wanted to give myself a little time so that I could get my head clear enough to think about your position and be able to express my own. Right now, for me, PMDD has overstayed (i.e. late period), so not only am I emotionally overwrought, my brain is fuzzy from upped doses of medication taken for longer than usual, as well as pain medication for my sciatica and migraines still exiting my system (and then there are also a few major personal life issues factoring in). To sum up, I’m just a big old mess when it comes to thinking and writing coherently (which I imagine you can see from this comment).

          In any case, we’ll get the behind-the-scenes stuff ironed out between us before your next post here goes live, I’m sure. I gave no specifics in my post about what I’ve had to deal with, and for a reason. Those I will of course share with you privately when my head has settled enough for me to wrap them in words. 🙂

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