Maybe the most popular sibling phrase aside from “Stop touching me” and “I’m not touching you.” Annoying – yes. Illegal – no. Immoral – maybe. But what if you’re not a kid anymore? And what if the copying isn’t your actions or expressions, but your hard work? Your blood, sweat, and tears, just stolen right out from under you…
So in case everyone hasn’t noticed, I can sometimes obsess. I am a worry wart and once I get an idea, it can sometimes take over my entire life for a span of time. This is why I’m lightweight freaking out right now about the safety of my blog. That’s right, folks: I’m talking about plagiarism.
*cue insidious music*
In all seriousness now, I really am having a moment of panic. I was looking through some other blogs today and saw that one blogger had a Copyright statement in their sidebar. Before seeing this, I though my simple “Copyright © 2012/13″ at the bottom of my original pieces was just fine. But after seeing this I thought, “Hmm. Maybe I should make one of those statements, too.” I decided it couldn’t hurt to add on to my footers. By this point, however, I couldn’t remember the blog that I’d seen it on. I decided to Google it and try to find a general copyright statement to put on my blog. That’s when all hell broke loose…
Upon hitting the enter button on Google, not only was I presented with a general copyright statement for a blog, but I was also provided countless websites and blogs about the danger of plagiarism. One drew my attention because it was a part of WordPress. You can view it here. This is where I got the general copyright statement that is now displayed on the middle footer of my blog. But then I kept scrolling and found links to other services and other suggestions and I don’t know what a Creative Commons License is or how to get one for my blog and I don’t even know what an RSS feed is exactly, so how am I supposed to configure it? (See, this was where panic began to set in.) I was too far in now. I didn’t feel that the generic copyright statement was enough, and while I had further measly copyrights on my poetry or original stories, I started to panic for the general posts I had made that didn’t have the measly copyright at the bottom. True, they are only my random thoughts and bits and pieces, but that’s exactly what they are: mine. I had to keep reading, even though my brain was hurting from all these terms I didn’t recognize.
Google Alerts. That doesn’t sound so hard. I click it. I don’t know what static text I have! All my posts are different! Close tab with a frustrated click.
Copyscape. Free banner. Can’t pass that offer up. So I go to this website and realize that this one isn’t extremely hard. I simply put in my website address and it skim the interwebs for matching text. It also offers suggestions of related webpages to the one entered. For example, I just put in my general blog web address (which had no hits) and it offered specific post web addresses for some of my posts. Those had some hits, but it was on things such as “comment” that is one every single blog page. But you do get to pick the color and shape of the banner you want to add to your website. I went simple with black and posted this directly under my copyright statement.
I also found a site called Plagium that let’s you paste in chunks of text from your own writings to search across social networks, news, the web in general, etc. I didn’t try it, but I bookmarked it for later use. The WordPress page also mentioned adding a watermark to all original images, which caused another wave of panic to hit me because I have so many pictures on here that it is literally impossible for me to remove them all, add a watermark to the original image, and then re-upload them into the posts.
Long story short, I’m still panicking because I still feel like my copyright statement, Copyscape banner, and individual copyrights on original writings aren’t enough and that one day I will try to publish a poem just to be told, “Uh, sorry ma’am, but that poem already exists by this person on the other side of the world. Nice try, though.” Obviously, I know that the internet is not always a respectable place and this was a danger in posting up my stuff from the beginning, but I didn’t have the major doubts about all the specifics until I started reading up on it. What does everyone else think about this? For you other writers, do you feel that there are no safe measures or that you just can’t do enough to protect it? Is this just my anxiety having its way with me yet again and forcing me to freak over nothing?
- It’s 2013, Time To Update Your Blog’s Copyright Notice (johnchow.com)
- Site plagiarizes blog posts, then files DMCA takedown on originals (arstechnica.com)
- How to Protect Your Images from Misuse on Social Media Platforms and Websites (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- Five Reasons it’s Wrong to Steal Other People’s Content (pegfitzpatrick.com)
- Copy Cat Copy Cat Copy Cat (thedenveregotist.com)