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.

ANYWAY.

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.

ANYWAY.

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.

You should flag it with the link in the NavBar (if they have not removed the NavBar.) http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=12468
A DMCA claim should be filed by those whose content has been copied.

http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=157218

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?

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

96 Responses to Everything I Needed To Know About Blogging I Learned From The Internet

  • Bell says:

    I keep forgetting to put the copyright on my new blog; thanks very much for the reminder. :)

  • Didn’t the Superfriends fight the Lesions of Doom?

  • If Google and Apple ever team up, we are in for world domination where we must bow down at the altars of search and Mac. Lord help us all.

  • Don’t be so awesome and you won’t be copied.

    See: My blog.

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    I already wrote my scathing two cents in the comments of your last post addressing that plagiarizing bitch. But I did want to highlight one thing you just mentioned, “and pretty soon you have a hundred takes on the same topic.” I agree, and like this aspect of Blogging. The key word here is TAKES on the same topic. Not THE EXACT SAME WORDING on the same topic.

  • Brenna says:

    I had this happen in a more benign – but still annoying – way. I had one post that went viral, here, and I guess it was copied and pasted as an email forward with no credit. A blogger then (I guess thinking she was the only one who’d seen it?) basically paraphrased it, posted it as her own, and pissed off a bunch of my friends who alerted me. All your tips are right, though I still have to get around to that copyright business. It’s a risk we take, but ultimately no thieving dipshit will fool anyone.

  • Amy says:

    This still absolutely blows me away. I just can’t believe that someone’s life is so meaningless and devoid of… well, anything, that they have to plagiarize others’ personal stories and lives and photos. It’s just… it’s mind-blowing to me, because it also must require a shit-ton of effort, and if you have THAT much time to read blogs and be so envious of the writers’ lives as to pretend their life is yours, you have enough time to write your own shit.

    Whatever. She messed with the wrong Aunt Becky.

  • Becky says:

    I also have a plugin on my WP blog that disables right click copying of text and pictures. (go try it) You even get to put your own special message to appear when someone tries.
    Now, if they are bound and determined to copy your stuff they can re-type it, but I wouldn’t retype someone else’s words. If I have to type it I might as well write my own stuff. But that’s just me.

    • steph gas says:

      that’s a sweet idea. do you/does anyone know if blogger has something similar? i don’t know that my shit is awesome enough for someone to want to steal, but i want to set it up to say horrifying things that my friends will think are funny.

    • Kristin
      Twitter: dragondream
      says:

      Sadly, the stoppage of right clickitude does NOT prevent them from saving the whole page to their hard drive which then allows them to copy anything they want.

    • Emthe says:

      There’s also hot key options that bypass the right-click block, which is easier than saving it to your hard drive. For the ultra hard core text grabber, print screen will capture your text and photos as a jpg. In the same way the lock on your door will only keep out honest (or lazy) people, there’s no real way to keep your original work away from anyone who really wants it.

    • Brooke says:

      But it does make it harder for some… or at least more work. If you google “disable right click” you can get code that you can put into your HTML code on Blogger.

  • Maria says:

    *snicker snort* Hope she enjoys her herpes!! I need to figger out this watermark stuffz. I was putting poorly done words on pics of my kids using paint, but I slacked. It seems like a lot of work to do it to every photo. Someone should come up with some dealie that would automatically slap it on top of every photo you use on your blog, LOL.

  • SamiJoe says:

    It just saddens me all around.
    You write fantastically and if i wanted people to read your lovely words….

    i would certainly only link to you, as well as tell everyone how awesome i think you are!!!

    Shitty things happen to totally good people–the Pranksters got yer back!

  • You can also stick a copyright notice on your feed as an alternative to partial feed. BTW, you rock!

  • Melinda says:

    It’s true Aunt Becky, you inspired me to drink more vodka….but I sometimes switch back to gin because I wouldn’t want to plaguerize you, ‘cuz fuck then we would look like the sex in the city girls with the stupid cosmopolitans. I know, this makes no sense I’ve been drinking vodka in your honour.

  • Elena says:

    It sucks, but you’re right: it’s just the reality of the internet. My stuff gets ripped off all the time – not because the writing’s any good, but “article marketers” need cheap word-count on product-related topics that they can stuff with links and post all over the joint.
    The worst one was an e-zine article I wrote on my major earring variety. The article got ripped off, subtly reworded and reposted all over, and where I once held the #1 Google spot for it, one of these reposts now pushes me out.
    I used to keep Google alerts going to see where my competitors were posting, but the runaway articles have been so frustrating I have to switch them off.
    For the sake of my blood pressure I have to learn to let it go, but it sure doesn’t give me any hope in humanity.

  • cyndi says:

    Pleeeeeez don’t ever go to partial feeds on the RSS! I have blogs that are wonderful on my ereader that I NEVER read because it’s just too hard to click through and wait for it to load. I will personally donkey kong any person who tries to steal your stuff so that I don’t have to see you in a partial feed. For real.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Oh fuck no, I wouldn’t. That’s not my thing. I don’t care who steals it, I think partial feeds are crappy. I just do.

      • Elissa says:

        As someone who’s stuck on an old and painfully slow computer at work, I salute you. When it takes two minutes for a new window to open (no tabs on this ancient machine), I’m afraid that not even Aunt Becky is worth the pain of clicking though… :)

  • Jennifer says:

    “Love” is just empty and meaningless word until you put me on your blogroll. (smiley emoticon)

  • Great advice. Can’t believe someone would outright steal your stuff. Be original or don’t blog.

    BTW, that’s a great copyright notice. Might need to borrow it. ;)

  • Thank you for this post and the great info. Sorry you were copied/robbed. :( Want her ass kicked, just say so.

  • Crafty Masshole Driver says:

    You’re coolio with a capital C for sharing all this! Sorry you had to endure a shitty day yesterday because of it, but thanks for teaching all us pranksters something in your process.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      If I can pass something on through all of the crap, it’s worth something. Like I said, it’s a matter of time before it happens to you, too. Not to be all GLOOM AND DOOM, because really, what can you do?

  • M says:

    Although in one of the first comments I left when I started reading your blog I mentioned your copywrite warning, I never thought to do it myself until now. Thanks. Also, this entire experience has totally reinforced my desire to blog. The blogosphere is so full of angry trolls and haters but it’s also got it’s fair share of amazing, encouraging people who will kick ass for you and ask questions later.

  • andrea says:

    i can’t read all the run on comments because of the add and all, but i’m sure i totally agree. and please define “meat curtains” for me. thanks.

  • The Sweetest says:

    Aunt Becky- this is so disheartening, but the advice you have given here is much appreciated. Question regarding the feed: I recently switched to a partial feed because I was under the impression it would force people to click on it and go to the actually site, thus improving my stats. Was I wrong, and they are just not reading at all? Poo.

  • Betty M says:

    I still don’t get that person. Reallly I don’t.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      She’s a fuckbag. She’s got three blogs out there, all copied material from other bloggers. I didn’t search to see if she’d taken other stuff from me, but I’m not putting it past her. Frankly, I couldn’t stand giving her any more clicks.

  • beta dad says:

    Thanks for this very helpful post! I went ahead and copied and pasted it into my own blog! Psyche (sike).

    For realz, though–this is good stuff to know. And for the record, you are an awesome fucking blogger.

  • statia says:

    Sadly, as long as blogging is around, or the internet is around, anonymous asshats will steal shit.

  • onceamother says:

    plagiarism makes me sick to my stomach, literally, just the thought of someone coming here and taking your work and passing it off as their own makes me want to vomit. thank you for the info above, i never knew how to watermark and now i do! Once again, Aunt Becky saves the day.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Watermarking is Easy Peasy. I’m going to draw up a quick how-to for everyone in Picnik this week, just because. If this asswad teaches us anything, it’s that we’re better in droves. Which, obviously.

  • Kelly says:

    I take one day off from reading, to take my daughter to her first day of preschool, and I come back to you having all this craziness! Jeez, Aunt Becky…

    This woman obviously needs a hobby. Thanks for the tips.

  • Libby says:

    No one has ever stolen my stuff. Maybe it just sucks.

    And I would NOT want to meet you in a dark alley…

  • Molly Malone says:

    Thanks for the reminder to copyright Aunt Motherfucking Becky! I don’t know how I am going to come up with something better than, “Stealing gives you herpes” – I love it!

  • Alaina says:

    I need to put the copyright on my footer…and I don’t have a clue about watermarking my photos. I still think it’s absolutely horrible that she did that. Who even thinks that this is a good idea? Ridiculous…

  • Cheryl says:

    Here’s what I don’t get – why she isn’t deleting all the hate comments ripping her a new one that the post is not hers. Maybe she’s got a touch of the “not all there upstairs.”

  • steph gas says:

    hmm…. i want my copyright tag to say ‘aunt motherfucking becky says “stealing gives your herpes”‘. can i have a yes/no on that? you are also on my blogroll. because you’re my favorite aunt motherfucking becky.

  • badbadwebbis says:

    I am glad – GLAD, do you hear me? – that you got pulled into the drunk-driving mother issue. Because that is how I found you in the first place.

    …..I mean, it sure sucked to be you at that time, but what is a little inconvenience for you when it benefits me in such an awesome way?

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    Here she come to save the day!
    That means that Aunt Becky’s on the way!

    Yes ma’am, when there is a wrong to right,
    Aunt Becky will join the fight!

    Bonus points if you know what this is a riff on.

  • andygirl says:

    plagiarizing is SO not cool yo! didn’t she pay attention in English class? tsk tsk.

    btw, I went to the link and it looks like google took it down

    also: thanks for the tips!

  • Wupppy says:

    dude, that sucks (yeah, I’m very articulate like that)!

    my blogging isn’t good enough to steal, yet. I will take your advice, can I steal your “you’ll die of herpes if you steal my stuff” copyright line?

  • Issa says:

    Ohhh I like the copyright idea. I need to do that. I really hope everyone’s posts get taken off that site. That woman is just nuts. I just don’t understand.

  • Leo Thompson says:

    Holy Cow,not only is she a thief, but a bad one at that. You are awesome, she sucks donkey balls. Keep on keepin’ on and know that you have touched so many lives in a positive manner, and she will never even be able to hope to accomplish that, cause she’s a skeevy rotten thief. And again, you are awesome.

  • Give them hell hun!

  • Yuliya says:

    Aunt Becky you rock hard, thank you for these tips…don’t be surprised to see “My Aunt Becky says stealing gives you herpes” as my copyright notice as soon as tech support (hubby) comes home from his day job.

  • Wombat Central
    Twitter: wombatcentral
    says:

    Aunt Becky, one reason you’re so full of the awesome is that you’re always looking out for your pranksters with good, usable information.

    Sadly, some people have none of the awesome and look to people like you to provide it for them. That sucks.

    Online life does seem quite Googlecentric, doesn’t it?

  • Karen says:

    Karma. I rely on it ALL the time. AND it keeps me from doing shorty things when I am super pissed off. But this is awesome info. I can’t imagine what motivates a person to claim someone else’s voice as their own. It is just strange and icky.

  • Karen says:

    Karma. I rely on it ALL the time. AND it keeps me from doing shorty things when I am super pissed off. But this is awesome info. I can’t imagine what motivates a person to claim someone else’s voice as their own. It is just strange and icky.

  • KYouell says:

    Missed this yesterday. Damn. I’m off to put a footer on my blog. BTW, I used a Google Chrome Incognito window to go to her site & it looks like only your post is down. The rest is there, being all plagerizey. WTH?

  • Sarah P says:

    OK, but if I Xerox my as and other people use it for their office Christmas party invitations, I’m not going to judge.

    Y’all can use that material. Fo’ free.

  • mepsipax says:

    You had me at ballbag and meatcurtain. Ah, but most of this is good advice. Sorry about your shit getting stolen. I miss reading your blog a couple times and someone breaks in and steals shit. Great.

  • Becca says:

    I am so thankful for this post!! Now, somebody needs to tell me how (see really not techno-internets-friendly) to copyright my stuff. I know my 7 loyal followers won’t steal my crap, but sometimes, some of the stuff I say is kind of deep. And, it’s mine. :)

  • Lauren says:

    It occurs to me that, like M, I totally took notice of your copyright warning and laughed my tits square off my body. Then promtly DIDN’T put one on my own blog. Why anyone would want to rip off my stumbling sentences of bullshit, I don’t know, but in the event that they do, they will now be punched in the snatch by a velociraptor.

    HA!

    • KYouell says:

      Uh, Lauren, could you include a link to your blog? I’d like to see that. I mean the copyright notice, not that I think there’s video of someone being punched… heehee.

  • You rock with unholy fury, Aunt Becky. I will heed the advice you’ve provided here, to the letter.

    Or… maybe if someone plagiarizes me, I’ll just tell my Aunt Becky, and watch as she PUNCHES THEM IN THE JUNK UNTIL THEY CRY AND APOLOGIZE. That sounds way simpler, actually. Plus more fun.

  • pattypunker says:

    i love riffing off each other. just reminds me of musicians and i love music!

    you’re always on the cutting edge of technology and giving techie advice. i love that all you’re all geeky like that.

    you’re badass and geeky all in one. this equals superhero!

  • This is beyond lame, what a pathetic excuse of a human being.
    Gee, authenticity is what it’s all about in blogdom…
    Sorry you had to waste brain cells on this drivel.
    I have no sage advice about protecting blog turf, I don’t really care at this point, kind of put stuff out there knowing it’s Not Good Enough to Steal.
    I can bring you good vodka…

  • Thanks a bunch for all the helpful hints. Some I knew, some I didn’t; but you can never be too careful. If someone doesn’t have their own voice why the fuck do they even start a blog? Don’t they know that plagiarism= extreme bad karma?

  • Kate says:

    how do I add a copyright to my tumblr? I still have a baby blog :(

  • You, my friend, are awesome! And so smart. No wonder people want to steal from you. If I see anyone with a raging case of mouth herpes, I’ll know why. (Maybe it was that girl on the beach on this week’s episode of Jersey Shore)!

  • April K. says:

    I am sooooo gonna put “Aunt Becky says stealing gives you herpes so don’t copy my sh*t!” in my footer!

  • Hannah says:

    I just have to say I am so happy to have found your blog! You are too freakin funny. I can’t believe that someone would plagiarize like that! Most blogs are so personal, you would think people could come up with their on stuff. I love how you handled the situation, and it is so great you have so many awesome blogging buddies who have your back! I am going to look into the watermarking thing, good idea!

  • Angie says:

    Holy shit, you really ARE our Aunt Becky. I worship at the altar. As soon as the incense gets out of my eyes I’m a get on that copyright thing. I always loved yours but I was too focused on the “herpes” part to think about the “legal” part.
    Love,
    Angie at Eat Here

  • Jaci says:

    I get that partial feeds are annoying. And yes, I have kicked out a few blogs that went to partial feeds because too many times the first few lines of their feed didn’t interest me enough to care to click over. BUT…I think that’s more of a content issue than a feed issue.

    One of my absolute fav blogs (Maybe if You Just Relax) is a partial feed. And I never miss a post because Jen is awesome and funny and I love her.

    I have my blog set up on a partial feed. I invested hundreds of hours on that thing! My blood, sweat, and tears are practically embedded in the font. I think I deserve the extra click–the results on my stats–and the 1/2 of 1 cent BlogHer gives me. And if someone doesn’t want to read me anymore because I’m that one blog that makes her move her finger two extra clicks…

    Than I guess my writing wasn’t good enough to keep her around. *shrug* Just my opinion.

  • People steal my shit all the time. I think it is hilarious. Because anyone can write a post full of expletives, surely they could come up with some of their own? It does kinda piss me off when someone steals one of my sad posts though. But I am hoping that some of that bad luck rubs off on them.

    It is the mofo hackers that get my blood boiling. FOUR DAYS to get rid of the last fucker.

    And Becky, just say no to the partial feeds. SAY NO!

  • Niya says:

    Ha! This post is so great. I love the stealing gives you herpes too. But i really need that shut your whore mouth shirt in my life. I have got to order one right now!.

  • Laura says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but a couple of tips if you think someone’s stealing your pics:

    - Use Tineye (http://www.tineye.com/) to find where your pictures are being used (only useful if you know which pic is being used I suppose)

    - If you are hosting the picture yourself (e.g. its address is http://yourblog.com/images/becky.jpg) and they are ‘hotlinking’ to it (which is pretty damn amateur, but these kind of people are hardly professionals) then just change the image at that address to something suitably offensive, hey presto – instant revenge :)

  • liz says:

    that’s the most awesome footer/copyright e.v.e.r.

  • Casey says:

    I’ve been sort of quietly following your blog in google reader for like a year and a half now (I’m maybe a few days behind…) but just wanted to click over and say I’m really glad you leave it accessible. I’d be sad if I couldn’t read it cause it’s just pretty much freaking awesome.

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