An excellent thread (rant) has been started by Karon Thackston over at High Rankings Forum dealing with the issue of content thievery. There is an ever-increasing amount of “services” popping up all over the place that will take 300 or so characters from a web page and then create what they call “original content.” Even though what they are really doing is stealing content they justify their actions by stating that they are only using a portion of the content. Yeah right! That is like someone who steals one apple out of a whole bag is not really stealing.
“Free reprint articles, right? That means anyone can use them free for anything they want? Absolutely not! The author still holds the copyright and still has a set of reprint regulations that must be followed. The U.S. Copyright office also specifically states that. These people are not publishing the articles in full with proper credits and a link back to your site. They are cutting them into bits and pieces and making new “original” articles from them then barfing them out to the Internet all over again,” Karon rants and rightfully so.
She goes on with the following warning, “If you are an SEO who has been using this type of unethical method of generating content for your clients, let it be known now that you are absolutely in violation of U. S. Copyright Law whether or not you choose to accept and acknowledge that fact.”
I couldn’t agree with her more. In fact, I have had content stolen from me on several occasions. I have had articles I authored stolen and even sales copy. One time a content thief stole one of my web forms and was so stupid that they forgot remove references to “SearchRank” from the title and meta tags. On another occasion I caught a SEO in my own town stealing content from me. What was humorous about this situation is that I found a forum thread he had started where he was whining about someone stealing content from his site. I jumped in there and exposed him for not only being a content thief himself but a hypocrite as well. There was even one occasion where a key figure in one of the largest SEM firms in the world stole one of my articles and accredited to himself.
So if you have good content on your site, write articles and/or white papers or publish content in some other format, you better keep an eye out for content thieves. We monitor for content thievery quite regularly. What do we do if we catch someone stealing content? First of all a cease and desist letter is sent. Then we report the violation to their ISP and/or web host, asking them to shut their site down. We then report them to the major search engines asking the engines to remove their pages from their indices. I will of course blog about it or even post in public forums, exposing the crooks. After all that if they refuse to remove stolen content, we sic the lawyer on them.
So content thieves, beware. We are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore. Want to discuss? Head on over the High Rankings Forum and tell us of your experiences and or add your comments.