Am I the first blogger to tackle FAQs about blogging? Probably not. Am I swiping someone else's idea? Definitely not. Could someone look at this series and think, “I can do this better”? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the slightest. Should I? Nope.

Once your work joins the public domain, it's fair game for others to riff off, add their spin, or adapt it to their niche. It's courteous to tip your hat to your inspiration sources (plus, Google loves a good citation), and let’s face it, karma has a way of nipping at your heels if you don’t. Many bloggers think their audience only reads their content, but readers are savvy – they notice when content is copied, and they're not shy about letting you know.

If you're reading this and have your own blogging FAQs, I promise I haven't peeked. I deliberately avoided searching to prevent ‘Unconscious Absorption' – that phenomenon where you read something, forget it, then think it’s your own original idea. It's a common pitfall, and I wanted to avoid it for this post.

“But people are stealing my work!” you might lament.

There are those who will copy your work word for word, known as scrapers. It's like playing whack-a-mole across the internet to shut them down, but it's an uphill battle. Then there are the ‘legal' scrapers who repost your content under article marketing site terms and conditions, but sometimes forget the courtesy of attribution. I remember Bruce from Mississippi, who copied my article, delete out all UK references, and then claimed ignorance about my site's nature. Charming, right?

And then there are those sneaky souls who mix half your article with their intro, hoping you won’t notice – until CopyScape or CopySentry says otherwise.

You can try to safeguard your work with a Creative Commons license. There are six options to choose from, and it lets your readers know how they can use your content.

Deep-linking in your posts is another tactic. If someone's going to scrape your content and strip out the links, at least make them work for it!

Then there’s the outright theft of images or verbatim content. I had a blogger join Birds on the Blog who tried to pass off a Daily Mail article as her own. Needless to say, she was swiftly shown the door. Another blogger borrowed images from newspapers, even with attribution – still a no-no, leading to a purge of all those images.

Then you've got the drama of false accusations of content theft. A client of mine published a guest post that appeared elsewhere. The original site slapped us with a DMCA notice, despite the author’s claims to her copyright. It took ages and a battle with Google to clear that up.

Remember, copyright is retained by the creator unless they explicitly sign it away, like to a publishing house.

Lastly, PLR (Private Label Rights) users are in the clear if they rewrite the content enough to make it new. Buying PLR and reusing it isn’t theft – they've paid for the right to do so.

When blogging on multiple sites, staying original can be tough. I know from experience. But you can do it!

In these scenarios, it's not really content theft, though some might call it plagiarism which is different.

So, how do you discern what's theft and what's not?

As a reader, you might not always know, but content creators develop a sixth sense for this. With experience, you learn to pick your battles. Focus on promoting your content and branding it visibly, rather than fretting over potential theft. If someone does swipe your content, remember, that's on them and their karma, not you.

Ultimately, blogging requires a thick skin and a discerning eye. Your energy is best spent on creating and sharing great content, rather than sweating over the ‘what ifs'. Remember, in the world of content creation, your unique voice and authentic contribution are your strongest assets.

Sarah x


Sarah Arrow

With over 20 years of experience, Sarah Arrow (me!) knows the ins and outs of effective blog writing, which is why she makes her excellent at website copywriting, or, as a blog copywriter. My expertise ensures your blog will captivate readers and deliver your message effectively. Experience? This spans various industries, giving me a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to draw upon. This extensive background means she can adapt her writing to fit your specific needs and audience.

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  • Grammarly will find any plagiarism in an article. It will even find a single sentence in an obscure newspaper or book where the text is online.

    It also does a fair job with grammar and punctuation. It is an excellent way to improve verb and noun precision.

    It is quick up to about 1,000 words. If using it for a book, it’s easier to check one chapter at a time and combine the files at the end.

    As for someone stealing my content, I don’t worry about it. One of my books is available in a free PDF. Anyone dumb enough to download it from this site will probably have to reformat their hard drive due to some virus.

  • Very informative article. That’s a lot to know for someone posting a blog—particularly because there is no vetting process to become a blogger. There are likely a lot of ignorant bloggers out there. Thanks for the article.

    It was so informative, that I may copy and paste it into my blog. 😉

  • Thanks for the heads up Sarah!

    It seems that just like there are lots of creative ways to spin articles, they are an equal number of ways to unethically gain content that isn’t yours as well!

    Thanks for giant head up, because honestly, I didn’t realize that this type o activity was so widespread!

    Because like you said, once your content is published, you can’t prevent it from sparking ideas for others!

    But just plain stealing others content straight out! That’s something different altogether!

  • I’ve actually been through those horrible moments of content theft, suffice to say I had the other site shut down, not just because it was using my work, which included my own photos, but they were also copy and pasting other peoples work as well.

    It’s just pure laziness, some people seem to hear those words, “Get paid and get rich being a blogger”, so they just do what they can to blog as much as possible, but let’s all remember that Google frowns upon duplicated/copied content, so be warned!!! There is more to blogging that copying!!!

  • Having someone steal my work was my biggest fear, and what almost kept me from starting my first blog in 2003. I’m not so worried about that now… I just don’t post anything I don’t want taken. That would be rather difficult for an article marketer or someone who is blogging for business, but for me, I can keep my fiction offline as long as I want to.

    I have to admit, the whole thing is still rather confusing to me. I can understand that it’s wrong to copy and paste an article and claim it as my own. But why is it wrong to use someone else’s article or graphics if I DO attribute it to the author?

    Your blog post does help… it’s just a little fuzzy in places for me. So I steer clear of those areas.

  • It have happened with me… Everytime i posted something new.. A new blogger just copied that and published on his blog. I don’t know why but he ranked higher than me… How that can be.. Can you suggest somthing

  • I made a portrait of a chicken once, and placed it in an exhibition. Lots of people rephotographed my image and shared it with their friends, which was great because for an artist the value of the genuine article is enhanced with every illegal copy shared.

    Imagine my surprise, however, some months later, when on visiting another gallery I found a painting of the same chicken’s head, taken from a copy of my image displayed to public view. Whilst this was bad enough, the ‘artist’ had also added some dystopian comments to their canvass, which were of course slanted the neutrality of the work.

    These things happen, and, as you suggest, the more popular you are the more likely it is that you’ll be ripped off. It;s irritating, but unless the culprit is doing me harm then I tend to let the Law of Karma sort it all out 🙂

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