Sunday, August 28, 2011

Protecting Your Online Content: Five (5) More Things You Still Need To Do

60,000 new websites are added to the web everyday. Google's total indexed pages reached 14.41 billion pages on 2011. In addition to that, there are an estimated of 1.6 million blog posts published daily. That is half a billion new blog posts every year. This is how active online publishers are. The web has been a great medium to voice out ideas, to spread the latest news, and to reach out to the world. However, it has become a haven for an uncontrollable, more often untraced, content distribution. 

This is the downside of publishing something that the whole world can easily have the access to. Creating a blog has been (and still is) the most common way to publish contents online to targeted audiences. Most blog posts are channels of distributed information - a great percentage posts about the news, events, and happenings. If the distributor claims to be the creator of the content, this is where the problem starts.

Putting up a copyright notice (©) on your website's footer isn't enough. As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure." This applies to copyright as well. It would be better to prevent plagiarism by making your website immune from it. How? Here I listed 5 things you need to do to hold the immunity to your blog/website:

1. Speak in a serious tone regarding copyright.

It has been a part of the web developing process that a copyright notice be included on the site's footer. It serves as the credit and a notice that the website is yours. However, common things are often neglected. Better bring the attention back by stating some serious ambiance on your copyright section. The likes of "Copying is stealing." or "This site is protected by a copyright law. Any reproduction is subjected to criminal something and is punishable by a federal blah blah..." would do.

2. Be more specific about the licensing.

A full copyright signifies that the owner has the right to decide whatever type of licensing he/she wants to implement to his/her works, in this case - the online content.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page you will see the type of license I am implementing on Loading-Info. It is under a Creative Commons license. Now there are several types of CC licenses. L-I's is an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license (or CC BY-NC ND 3.0 for short). When you visited the link, it will clearly state the things the author/creator wishes the users of the work to do.

The CC BY-NC ND 3.0 license.

3. Disable copy-pasting on your blog/website.

There are two common ways to do this. First is preventing the users to do anything when any part of the website has been right-clicked. It will either show a popup, or a warning message that the webmaster has disabled any actions after the right-clicking to prevent any copyright violations. Now, what's odd here? You see, 'copy' isn't the only option available when you right-clicked, right? Sometimes we get snoopy about a photo on the site and wants to know its file type, or its original size. You can do that by either right-clicking and opening the image in a new tab or window, or dragging the image to another tab. Or, you want to open a link in a new tab. However, there's also an alternative - Ctrl+clicking the link will open the link in a new tab. Preventing the right-click options can be too intrusive to your visitor's browsing experience so I'm not recommending this.

The second way is to disable the highlighting of any texts on your website. This is the option I have implemented on Loading-Info. You see, you cannot highlight any texts from here. This is made possible by a script which you can download from DynamicDrive - Disable Text Selection script. Now you might ask - if I enabled the distribution of my work (via the license I have chosen), wouldn't it be contradictory if I disabled the copy-pasting on my site? Nope, I included on L-I's About page the terms when distributing the content from L-I. Since I require an attribution by linking back to the post (online) or referencing me and my blog (printed), it would make sense to contact me first so I can distribute to you any content from my site you wish to redistribute. This is so I could check who copied and where my work has been distributed to.

4. Install the TYNT sript.

The TYNT script can either work as another protective layer for your site or if you do not wish to disable copy-pasting on your blog, this would be the secondary option to protect your content from being stolen from you completely.

To install the script to your site, just go to and follow their instructions. How does this works? When you copied a content from a website with TYNT installed, it will be recorded and the webmaster will be informed. When you pasted the content you copied, it will automatically leave the attribute which the webmaster has set for his contents. The webmaster can also track the photos/images from their website that were copied.

Sample website with TYNT installed:

5. Track similar content using FairShare.

FairShare is doing its job well to detect similar contents from L-I that were newly posted on the web. You just need to enter your Feed URL and your license type. After that you can check any contents similar to your posts.

The above screenshot shows similar content to my post "Looking Back: 'The Conscience of A Hacker' by The Mentor". However, I forgot to include a blockquote on the essay (the post is about an essay) and so every new posts that have included the essay within their post has been published on this Feed. Notice that it states the percentage of the post copied from you, also notice that they are similar in the number of words - well it is an essay.

The above photo is how the blog looks like when the post was published, that was way February. Been a little bit nostalgic about L-I's previous look. Visit FairShare to know more about it.

That's it. If you have any additional ways to prevent your online content be misused, copied, and stolen, feel free to share it with L-I and our readers.

A related post: Plagiarism Over The Internet: Awareness and Prevention

Statistics posted on the first paragraph to be credited to Contently.


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