Protected by Copyscape – So What?

I saw someone on a forum giving a blogger really bad advice today - essentially that sticking a stupid Copyscape banner (like the one below) will actually somehow protect their content for them. That's such a load of BS.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Here's what sticking a Copyscape banner on your site really says:

  • Go ahead and steal my site content, b/c I'm quite obviously not aware of how copyright protection really works.
  • I'm slapping this thing on my site to show you how cheap I am, so you'll be absolutely certain that I can't or won't spend a dime actually defending my copyright.
  • I'm enough of a dunce to believe that Copyscape has anything at all to do with whether or not something published is legal or not (passing Copyscape does  not mean a rewrite of an article is legal - in the US changing no set percentage makes it legal without the original copyright holder's permission). It's like you're advertising "Don't steal my content.... UNLESS you violate intellectual property law just enough to pass Copyscape."

Seriously people... stop cheapening your sites. A simple, good, old-fashioned copyright notice is more than enough (you don't even need that much to be protected), it's more professional, and it doesn't go out of its way to make you look like you have no business in Web publishing anyway.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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5 thoughts on “Protected by Copyscape – So What?”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    Good points – having visibility of who is copying your work is just the first step, albeit an important one.

    To protect, and I would argue, get full value for your work, you need accountability. For some articles, this may mean adding a link back to your original so you get the all-important search rank . . . or you may find that the site copying your content is a future customer. And for some of your work, you need a way to get the content removed not only from the site but also from search engines and ad networks.

    Disclaimer in that I work for Attributor – a company that is providing the above for media companies like AP, Reuters and others. We’re testing a service for individuals that would seem to make sense for your audience.


  2. Thanks for the disclaimer Rich. Being in PR, I do appreciate the transparency.

    I’ve actually found that having stolen content removed from search engines is often easier than having a Web host pull it offline. I’ve also caused several content thieves to lose advertising accounts (usually Google Adsense). I find that the ad networks are the most responsive about dealing with a problem site (or page). I’ve actually now started making it a point to contact those two groups first, before dealing with a host if a c&d was ignored. It’s generally a good idea anyway, b/c they can’t act if they can’t see the live content if the host happened to move quickly.

  3. That makes a ton of sense – a common reaction we get is ‘what do I do about the site that is hosted in China’. The answer may indeed be that you can’t get them to respond but you can certainly remove them from the search engine index and stop them from making money off your work.

    btw, a great resource, if you haven’t already found it is plagiarismtoday. I have had several conversations with Jonathan who runs the blog and he is extremely knowledgeable about the practical steps to protect your content.

  4. Thanks Jenn! I’ve always always wondered about that “Protected by Copyscape” line on some sites, and what good it could possible be! I was actually wondering if I needed something similar on my blog, just to sound more official!

    Thanks for saving me time!

  5. All I can say is that the simple Copy Scape protection is way to expensive !!SEriously, why would you pay 5 dollars a month ! (more than hosting) for a simple php website to look out in the web if someone copied it. I would only pay this service if the 5 dollars included them trying to solve the problem..

    Anyhow, to control the entire internet is impossible because the world is not ruled by the laws of a single country.

    my .02 cents


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