Protecting Commercial Blog Material

I’ve come across countless situations where my commercial blogs are re-posted without authorization. As a commercial blogger, when I send the material to the respective site or publication – it is theirs. But, there is a courtesy that can be extended to ensure that the material is distributed in the correct channels. I watch out for this for all of my commercial blogs for 1105 Media, CBS Interactive, TechTarget, QuinStreet and United Business Media.

The various media companies re-sell and re-publish material all the time, and that is fine as it is specifically outlined in the terms of most contributor agreements. But, there are many ways that the material can be re-posted in ways that are not legitimate. Most frequently, they are simple copy and paste actions from a source. Occasionally there is a link back to the source, but simply linking back to it with a full reproduction without permission is not allowed. Lastly, there is the most egregious violation of copyrighted material by reproducing it without links or credit  back to the original material. There are fair use practices, yet it only takes common sense to tell if the material is being reproduced improperly.


I’ve stumbled across this a number of times, and here are the steps I’ve done to look out for my blogs being reproduced without permission:

  • Google Alerts: Set an alert for your name.
  • Unique Searches: For the technical aspects of my blogging, I use my private lab. There is a unique DNS namespace (RWVDEV.INTRA) and IP address range that I use. The occasional Google search for these strings pulls hits of unauthorized reproductions of copyrighted material.
  • String Searches: Take text strings, like an explanation of a topic, and search for that. In a perfect world, the only result with a high amount of matches is your own material. However, copied material can be revealed in this way as well.
  • Updated tip: You can also repeat the above strategies in different languages. This is critical as if someone is going to copy your material, they will likely take the source name and original link out. In different languages, you’ll be lucky with the unique things like DNS name, IP address or command line outputs that are part of your material.

While these steps are not incredibly sophisticated, they are effective to protect the blogging material. These same steps can be applied to independent bloggers as well.

How do you protect your blogs from unauthorized reproduction? Share your comments below.


One response to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rick Vanover, Silicon Valley PR and John Obeto, Colin Steele. Colin Steele said: How to make sure nobody's ripping off your blog: by @rickvanover […]


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