No photos today folks – just plain old words. Quite apt when you consider the topic of our discussion – content. I hope you can live without my mug, just for today!
Now, if you know me but at all, you’ll know I’m really rather passionate about content. I love to write and put a lot of effort into creating strong, interesting and, most of all, original posts for A Little Bird. It takes time, yes. But it’s worth it. And when you read my blog, you’ll be able to tell the posts I’ve carefully crafted and the ones I rushed just a little because we were going to the supermarket and I didn’t want to miss my prime Sunday posting time. Ahem.
So, with all that time and effort spent in mind, it makes me exceptionally angry to see content being copied, recreated or downright ripped off with no reference to the original source. It doesn’t matter if the offender has taken an idea you developed and passed it off as their own, whipped photos from your blog and posted them on theirs or simply copied and pasted huge chunks of your writing – content stealing is rife on the web.
Lots of blogs have scary copyright infringement notices to try stop people nicking off with their creativity. I think it’s a damn shame it has to come to that, but having something that expressly states all content is your property and cannot be reproduced without permission will protect you legally. Adding watermarks to your images means they can’t be used elsewhere without a reference to you, although I have seen some nasty cases of cropping to get round this. And developing your own style, whether through words or images, will make your content instantly recognisable if it ever pops up away from home.
Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at once. Content theft often goes unnoticed because, well – the internet is bloody massive. It’s impossible to keep tracks on everywhere your blog has been featured or mentioned (I just Googled A Little Bird and found this lovely feature on the Clothing at Tesco blog, posted back in May and gone unnoticed by me until today!). Lovely Lily from LLYMLRS found out her content was being reproduced when a loyal reader let her know, while the adorable notebook doodles has had a fair few problems (like this and this). I’ve been alerted of a few instances of copycatting by fabulous friends and followers of A Little Bird, but even with an army of followers behind you the internet is still pretty bloody massive, and you can’t monitor it all. Sadly, this is one battle we’ll have to keep fighting.
As a blogger, have you ever experienced copyright issues? Have you recognised your style/tone/aesthetic elsewhere, but felt silly making a fuss? If you saw a favourite blogger’s content being used without their permission, would you speak up or is it all a little too Judge Judy for you? Let me know.
EDIT – There seems to be a little confusion with the reason I included the fab Clothing at Tesco feature. It was merely to point out how hard it is to keep track of all the places your blog could crop up. The folk at Tesco did actually tweet me to make me aware of the feature, so there are no problems there. Hope that makes it a bit clearer! 🙂