Since plagiarism the shit-storm yesterday, I’ve been trying to knock the three brain cells in my head around the idea of stealing someone else’s stuff and passing it off as my own.
This had actually happened to me before, right after I delivered Amelia and came home from the hospital with my sick baby, and it was only a couple of paragraphs that had been snatched. Frankly, I had bigger fish to fry and didn’t give a shit about my stuff being stolen then.
So I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened again. Not because I am some awesome fucking blogger–I’m not–but because that’s what happens on The Internet. The comments prove that it’s only a matter of time before someone steals your stuff.
That’s a shame, because I think the best part of blogging, besides being able to say things like, “ball bag” and “meat curtains” is the ability to riff off each other. You know, like be inspired by one another? You read this from X blogger and go and write about it on your blog, and then inspire Y blogger to write about it, and pretty soon you have a hundred takes on the same topic. That pretty much rules.
And that’s not going to stop because some plagiarizer stole some stuff from me. This won’t be the last time someone steals something from me, and frankly, I don’t care anymore. I got my hackles up, I’m a little annoyed by it, but in the end, we all know who wrote that piece. It wasn’t some talentless hack who steals other people’s stuff; it was me. YOUR talentless hack, Aunt motherfucking Becky.
And I was reminded of how My Pranksters are seriously, bar-none, the best people on the planet. You all better know that I’ve got your back, too. You don’t fuck with Aunt Becky, but you ALSO don’t fuck with Aunt Becky’s Band of Merry Pranksters unless you want the wrath of a thousand steaming loads of dog shit on your doorstep.
You’ve been warned.
So, this is what I’ve learned, and what you’ve taught me about protecting your stuff online:
1) Put a copyright notice in your footer. See, I have one that says,
“Stealing gives you herpes. – © 2010 Mommy Wants Vodka.”
Hehe. See, hopefully now, she’s got a scorching case of FACIAL herpes that you just can’t hide. Not those cute little cold sores, NO, the LESIONS of DOOM.
2) Ask that the offending party remove the post or picture. Sometimes, people post things without realizing that it’s not in good taste to republish your work without asking. I don’t actually care if you use my stuff, so long as you ask me and credit it back. It’s my work, yo, not yours.
3) Contact the hosting company. Domains have to be registered to a person, so the host of the website will have the person’s name and information. A directory like WHOIS will look up any domain and tell you who it’s registered to and you can file a claim with the hosting company.
In the event that your thief is hosting a Blogger/Blogspot blog, they are being hosted by Google. Google has a very strict anti-theft policy.
4) Watermark your pictures. I use Picnik, which is a free photo-editing software site (also run by Google, damn you Google and your reach into EVERYTHING!) that should allow you to watermark your pictures. I don’t tend to do it, because I am lazy and do not care, but if you are a photographer, I get why you would.
5) Now, this is one that is recommended, but I don’t do, because I don’t agree with, but you can take or leave: Publish a partial RSS Feed.
The RSS feed is that fancy thing you put into your feed reader that makes it pop up and allow you to read this in Bloglines, or your Google (SEE!!!) Reader, or however you’re reading this that is not actually on http://mommywantsvodka.com.
So, if you publish a partial feed, it prevents people from stealing your full feed, or, your full post, which sounds like a good idea, until you realize that it also means that none of the people who read your blog in their reader can read you there.
Those people have to click through to your site to read your blog which may or may not be possible for them.
People like reading blogs in blog readers. That’s the end of it. When you publish a partial RSS feed, for whatever reason (plagiarizers, feed scrapers, increased ad revenue, because you like to dance the funky chicken), you will lose readers. I’m not judging you, I’m just reporting the facts.
I’m not going to publish a partial feed because my stuff got stolen. One person isn’t going to change things for everyone else.
6) Watch out for everyone else. The only way I found out about this crazy person stealing my posts was because I woke up to a bunch of tweets and an inbox stuffed full of emails telling me my stuff had been ripped off. If I’d seen her first, I’d have totally done the same for you.
That’s the ONLY reason I gave that site any traffic yesterday (trust me, it killed me to do that), was so you could make sure you didn’t have anything up there.
7) Set Up A Google Alert. I don’t have a Google (GOOD LORD, GOOGLE!) Alert set up for myself or this blog, I’m going to admit. Why? After that whole “lady-who-got-wasted-and-crashed-her-car-killing-those-kids” I got pulled into the Mom’s Who Drink Club, and got a lot of shit. Which got pretty old.
I don’t need to hear what The Internet says about me–if it’s mean–and so I prefer to keep my head in the sand. BUT, that’s me.
So that’s what I’ve learned so far, Pranksters, what else is there?