Content Poaching and Tools to Help Protect You

Nowadays, people all over the Internet are looking for ways to vamp up their sites. Unfortunately, that sometimes entails stealing others' content and posting as their own.

Late last year I wrote of a website poaching content from a Vietnam Veterans' Memorial site and posting it not only to their own site with almost invisible attribution, but they also posted the info on Fold3 memorial pages as their own. I wrote to Fold3, to the vets' site, and to the offending website that had stolen content for one of my guys. The offending site took down some of the content, did a better (but not very obvious) attribution for the rest of the content, and Fold3 responded that they would look into the matter.

Well, apparently yet another site has been poaching content. Cheryl at my Heritage Happens posted about how some of her pictures were found on another website. She had learned of this from fellow blogger Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts, who also seems to have had her content stolen from this offending site.

As Lori had posted, she learned of the theft because she uses Google Alerts with keywords regarding her blog. But what if the content stolen from your site is not tagged with keywords you use in those Google Alerts? A tool you can use to help you find "hiding" pictures is a tool I learned of many years ago called Tin Eye. This is a reverse image search. You upload a photo, or a link to a photo, that you want to search for and TinEye will scan the Internet to see if and where that picture may be located. I haven't used it recently, but with this new offending website stealing pictures, and so many others who might be doing so, I will be sure to check in on some of my "stuff" in the near future.

In addition to Google Alerts and Tin Eye, you can help protect yourself by adding as much metadata to your content as possible so that it can be more easily traced. This would be the labels you add to the description part of your pictures, as well as the labels you add to your blog posts and such. Need to learn about how to add metadata to your pics? Thomas MacEntee can teach you!

You might also want to consider watermarking your pictures that you post, but do it right over the important parts of the picture so that it will not be easily altered in a photo editing program. The picture won't be as nice, but it will make it less appealing for someone to steal.

If we band together we can fight to minimize content theft. I've got your back, do you have mine??

Happy tree climbing!