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How to Protect Your Website’s Content From Theft

The internet is filled with stolen content. When you publish content on your website, it will be available for the world to see. Unfortunately, some users may seek to capitalize on your hard work. Rather than simply viewing your website’s content, they’ll copy and paste it on their own sites.

Discovering unauthorized uses of your website’s content is frustrating. You may spend several days writing, editing and optimizing a blog post, only for another blogger to steal it. Content theft such as this can harm your website’s reputation and its search rankings. Other users may think that your website stole the content, and search engines may have a similar perception that prompts them to lower your site’s rankings.

Display a Copyright Message

The presence of a copyright message may deter would-be thieves from stealing your website’s content. It sends the signal that you are serious and knowledgeable about protecting your website’s content. You can add a copyright message to your website’s footer so that it’s displayed on all pages. In this message, state that all photos, videos and text are your website’s intellectual property and that all unauthorized uses are prohibited.

For maximum deterrence, add the copyright symbol either before or after the copyright message. Consisting of a circle-enclosed C, it’s the universal symbol for denoting copyright-protected content. You can type a copyright symbol in Windows by holding the Alt key while pressing 0169 on your keyboard’s numerical pad. In macOS, you can type a copyright symbol by holding the Option key and pressing G.

Disable Right-Clicking

Disabling right-clicking on your website can protect it from content theft. When copying an article, blog post or other pieces of original text, most thieves perform a right-click. They highlight the text with their cursor, followed by right-clicking with their mouse and saving the text to their clipboard. Once copied to their clipboard, they can then paste it into their sites.

Images are also stolen by right-clicking. Thieves perform a right-click and choose either the “Save image as” or “Copy image” option to pull images from targeted websites. By disabling right-clicking on your website, thieves won’t be able to copy its text or media content using this mouse command.

You can disable right-clicking on your website with JavaScript or by editing your site’s .htaccess file. Alternatively, if you use WordPress, you can install a plugin to disable right-clicking. Available at wordpress.org/plugins/wp-content-copy-protector, WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click allows you to toggle on and off right-clicking while providing other content protection features as well.

Keep in mind, disabling right-clicking won’t make your website’s content immune to theft. A determined thief can still copy your website’s content using other methods. With right-clicking disabled, though, it won’t be easy. In turn, thieves may simply abandon your website rather than trying to steal its content.

Watermark Images and Videos

You can protect your website’s images and videos from theft by watermarking them. A watermark is a small, semitransparent logo or icon that indicates ownership of original content. It’s typically placed in the corner of an image or video, where it discourages theft.

Thieves are less likely to steal watermarked images and videos. A watermark, for example, may show your website’s name. If a thief uses an image or video featuring your website’s name, everyone will know that he or she stole your site’s content. By watermarking your website’s images and videos, you’ll discourage thieves from stealing them.

Several websites offer watermarking tools, one of which is watermark.ws. You can also watermark images and videos using traditional editing programs. For images, you can use Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. For videos, you can use Windows Movie Maker.

Embed a DMCA Protection Badge

Another way to protect against content theft is to embed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Protection Badge. DMCA is a copyright law that’s designed to protect digital content from theft. It criminalizes the unauthorized duplication, use and distribution of digital content. At the same time, DMCA allows content creators to send takedown notices to websites and other platforms that host their stolen content.

A DMCA Protection Badge is a certificate indicating that your website’s content is DMCA protected. Most thieves will think twice before stealing a piece of content if they see this certificate because they don’t want to receive a takedown notice. To register for a DMCA Protection Badge, visit dmca.com/Badges.aspx.

The DMCA Protection Badge comes with one takedown notice per year. In other words, you can send any website that steals your site’s content a notice demanding them to remove the infringing content. If you need to send additional takedown notices, you can either upgrade from a free to a paid DMCA Protection Badge plan, or you create the notices externally. You don’t have to create DMCA takedown notices within the DMCA’s official website. You can create them elsewhere, such as a content platform’s online DMCA submission interface or even a word processor.

Limit Content in RSS Feed

If you have a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed set up, you should limit the amount of content it pulls from your website. All RSS feeds pull content from a source. While they typically don’t pull images, they may pull all of the source’s text content.

With their simple, text-based format, thieves can use RSS feeds to steal content. Some of them even have scripts that automatically copies the text within RSS feeds. You can discourage thieves from stealing your website’s content by showing less content in its RSS feed.

WordPress offers two formats for RSS feeds: full text and summary. With full text, your website’s RSS feed will contain entire posts. With summary, on the other hand, it will only contain the first paragraph or so of the posts’ text.

There’s always a risk of theft when publishing content on your website. Some users don’t want to invest the necessary time and labor into creating original content, so they steal it. Fortunately, content theft is often preventable. Displaying a copyright message, adding watermarks to images and videos, embedding a DMCA Protection Badge and optimizing your RSS feed will discourage thieves from stealing your website’s content.

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