Someone stole a blog post. Here’s what happened next…

April 30, 2011

This is my blog. Every word on it belongs to me.

I make it clear that the copyright belongs to me, both on the home page and the ‘About Me’ section.

Imagine my surprise then when I received a pingback yesterday telling me that someone had linked to one of my posts… and I clicked on the url to find that they hadn’t just linked to it (which they did at the bottom).

They’d stolen the post in its entirety, put it up with their own byline on it. Changed the headline slightly so that they could drive traffic to their blog. And to add insult to injury, they’d even copied my image, with my face on it.

Of course we’ve all had incidences of our blog posts being lifted by random websites overseas, and unfortunately there’s usually little way of contacting the offenders. (I’ve never seen an image lifted too though.)

But in this instance there was a way of contacting the offender, so that’s what I did. I emailed her and in no uncertain terms told her what would happen if she didn’t remove the post.

What happened next is truly astonishing to me.

She said she was taking the post down, which she did, but she then emailed me to say her ‘computer guy’ said she’d done nothing wrong.  She said she thought I’d appreciate the traffic (from her website? Not so much.)

If she’d really thought I’d appreciate a link from her site (!) she could have emailed me to ask me if it would be OK; she could have lifted a few paragraphs and put my name on it, and made it clear she didn’t write it. But she didn’t do any of those things.

I explained copyright law and how it works, and she insisted she normally followed the rules but as my post was ‘so short’ she didn’t think it would matter. It’s fair to say at this point I was very cross indeed.

When I asked her why she had put my image up – why would you even want my face on your blog unless you know me?! – she replied ‘Geez, you are very mistrusting.’

Very mistrusting? When someone steals your words, and your image, and puts their name (not yours) on it, and you complain about it, that’s not an issue of trust. That’s an issue of copyright infringement.

It was a wake up call though – a reminder that some people will steal your pictures from your blog in a heartbeat. And if you have pictures of your children on your blog, that’s pretty bloody frightening.

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  • Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum) May 17, 2011 at 12:51 am

    The WP plugin blog protector is great AND it allows you to put a nice little pop up which lets thieves know what you think of them 😉 I prefer though to say something like – “It’s great that you like my content – just contact me and let me know what you want to use it for and I’ll email you a copy.” That way, if Vogue or the Sunday Times want to publish me, they know what to do 😉

  • Sam May 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Liz, that’s absolutely shocking. As you know am considering starting up blogging and this particular blog – be it through unfortunate circumstances – will be incredibly useful. Well done you for tracking her down and fronting her up!

  • MOIxx May 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I have had to bookmark this post as I have to re-read not just the post but the excellent comments a few times to fully understand some of the more technical bits. After being a very part time blogger I have just started taking it up as an interest and this is almost enough to put me off! I have immediately deleted a few pics. I am just hoping that my efforts are too obscure / unread for anyone to bother lifting.
    Thanks for the post!

  • Liz May 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Gigi – yes I found out because she’d put a link to my site at the bottom of the post – this was actually why she thought what she’d one was OK. I got the pingback and that’s what led me to her blog x

  • Gigi May 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I am totally flabberghasted Liz. But how did you find out she had done it in the first place? If it was an inbound link then that makes her even more unfathomable surely?

  • Is someone stealing your blog content? May 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    […] 3. If you use WordPress, check your trackbacks and incoming links. When I write a blog post, I usually link one of my older posts within my newer ones. So if my content is cut and pasted onto another site, I will see it listed in my incoming links. I also have set up for my trackbacks (like the comments) to be emailed to me, so I can see who is linking to me.Liz Jarvis recently showed how having trackbacks/pingbacks active can notify you if someone is stealing your content. […]

  • Mrs M May 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Yes it happened to me – someone took pictures of my children off my blog and used them on Tumblr. No way of contacting them so I had to go direct to Tumblr who were fantastic and had it resolved within a couple of hours.

  • Melanie May 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Horrible Liz, that is plagiarism which is something taught from school never to do! Especially now that schools have some kind of program to be able to detect if you lifted someone else’s paper word for word. Can you file a complaint somewhere of this happening? I would want a lesson to be learned for doing this and not the flimsy reason she gave you without any accountability of her mistake in this.

  • not a notting hill mum May 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Yes what I can’t understand is why she used your image and face – but changed the name to her own. It makes no sense, I shall look out this blog protector – there are many reasons why I don’t put my kids faces on my blog and you have just given me another.
    Not quite the same but I’ve just had an issue with a link to a porn site from a comment on my blog – won’t go into detail here as I think Liz has been hijacked enough for one weekend but I’ve posted on BMB about it and wd be v grateful for any views for those of you with more experience of these things ! x

  • Potty Mummy May 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Well done for calling her on it – and for not naming her so that she didn’t get additional traffic as a result! (And for reminding me of yet another reason why I don’t post photos of my children…)

  • Lisa Hafey May 1, 2011 at 9:20 am

    It’s very strange that she’d use your image as well – bizarre reply from her as well.

    And yes, very frightening indeed!

  • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    OK so thanks to @englishmum I’ve now found the wp plug-in blog protector – protect your content. And I’m using it!

  • workingberlinmum April 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Wow, I am clearly completely naive, I never even thought of this happening! How awful!

  • Nicki Cawood April 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Someone (if you are reading this shout out so I can say thanks!) tweet this link earlier. It is a WordPress Plugin that works to protect your blog/site by not allowing people to right click or copy / paste on the site.

    It definitely works on self-hosted sites, but I’m not sure about ones. Most definitely worth a look though.

    *Link posted with Liz’s permission*

    • geekmummy May 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you so much for this heads-up Liz – I can’t believe anyone would do this, but the are some strange people out there.

      Also thanks for the link Nicki – I’ve installed the plugin, and hope it will give me a first line of defence at least 🙂

  • Scottish Mum April 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I also don’t put up recognisable pictures of my children on my blog, just in case. I remember a tweeter a while back had a picture taken to advertise some p**n site. I wish I could remember who it was now. That finished me as I was swithering about whether to put mine on or not.

  • ghostwritermummy April 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Liz the same thing happened to me a week or so ago. I got a pingback to say a guy called Dan Bateman had written a post… my post! It linked back to me but was MY post!! I left a comment (only way of contact) and I think it was taken down but it was a random celebs site, nothing at all to do with my post. Very strange. Glad you got it sorted though. I found today also that my facebook friay post appeard on a couple of US sites too this weekend but it was credited to me so I guess no harm there.

  • Tamsin Constable April 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Did you hear what happened in the Cooks’ Source online copyright scandal a few months ago? Just wondered whether your thief might enjoy a bit of a scare. In case you don’t know the events I’m referring to, I wrote a on my own (professional, not BMB) blog about this.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Ah yes I remember this case well – you’d think this cuckoo who stole my post would too, given she’s from the US!

  • Rosie Scribble April 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Shocking. Glad you got it sorted. There’s a word of caution in there for all of us, especially when it comes to photos. Wonderful advice from Natalie. I’ve heard Google frowns on duplicate posts across the web so I’m going to keep a note of the link Natalie gave just in case.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      me too Rosie – and if it happens again I’m going to report them straight to google x

  • Multiple Mummy April 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I cannot believe how shocking this is! I would be very upset too! I don’t know how she can claim you have issues of mistrust, she was practically taking your identity! As far as phot’s go, I worry constantly, but how can you not put phot’s up…maybe I am too open. I have seen that some people put copyright stamps on their photo’s but I have no idea how to do this! So glad you confronted her! 🙂

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      I’m glad too, but still astonished at her arrogant reaction.

  • jude April 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    this has recently happened to me too, where a site in the US lifted my blog post, pretty much in it’s entirety – photographs, text, and title. Not only was it claimed as her own, but she made the date of posting exactly 1 year and 1 day earlier than my original so that it looked as though I had copied. Apparently there are lots of ripped off posts on her blog, and it has been reported to WordPress who are investigating several cases of copyright infringement on there. Not really sure what you can do to stop it happening though. I was only alerted to it by someone else who had also been copied.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Jude… I’m wondering if it’s the same woman?!

    • Janet Chadwick May 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      That’s so hectic. I wonder why WP even allows you to backdate your entries?

  • Not Yet a Yummy Mummy April 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    you should put her blog details up so we al know who she is. If enough people grumble she may think twice about doing it again x

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      I think because she’s taken it down I have to let it go… for now.

  • Nicki Cawood April 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I keep pinging back here as I can’t get this post out of my head.
    Great reply from Natalie!

    Do you have any advice / resources you’d recommend for copywriting your blog content? I am clueless but blog daily and would hate to be in this situation and not be able to at least say content is protected.

  • Yvonne Oots April 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm
    Liz I am sorry this has happened and I for one am glad you did get brazen with her. The above link will shut down the copy/paste on your site. I hope this helps.

  • Kat April 30, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I really need to learn to be more vigilant about this. I am just a really lazy blogger sometimes.

  • Nickie April 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I missed this yesterday but a few weeks ago there was a similar incident where someone hotlinked a self-hosted photograph and got alerts to it. On the site (tumblr) there were no contact details for the blog owner but Tumblr worked with the original owner and took the photo down immediately.

    I have a blog hosted by Blogger and on my RSS feed I have a disclaimer that displays where the feed came from (if stolen) but I have no way of knowing if someone takes my photos or blog post other than keyword alerts via Google. I wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction there?

    I honestly don’t know how people think they can get away with stealing content. It’s something that really angers me, to be honest. It’s rude, it’s lazy and, like you said, it breaches all copyright laws.

  • Natalie April 30, 2011 at 9:00 am

    What you’ve had from this woman is the standard type of response that comes from people who lift content and then get caught. We had almost the same response word for word and the manipulative little cow tried to turn it around on us.

    Aside from cease & desist to both her and her host, you can also report the following to Google because this is stuff that appears in their search hence her lifting your stuff isn’t good for quality search – as well as copyright, you can report scraper sites, lifted images as they appear in image search and you can also report paid for links.

    Details here:

    I also recommend Google Webmaster as it’s a handy extra tool and ensures you’re verified with Google

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

      This is absolutely brilliant advice Natalie, thank you x

  • Jayne April 30, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Susanne and I had a similar issue with Maternity Matters recently, where a blogger had used the title and idea of one of our posts as her own, and instead of answering our call for contributors posted the story on her own blog, which is fine but she made it sound as if MM was *her* idea and asked for people to comment on her own blog instead of contributing to ours. When we asked her to change it, all she did was take out all links to MM, kept our post title and idea and left it all up! I left it in the end as I just didn’t know what to do, especially when someone is being so bloody thick skinned!

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

      It’s very difficult with titles and concepts, because there is no copyright on ideas. But you’d think that when you’ve fronted someone up about it they’d have the decency to apologise and resolve the issue!

  • Kate aka WitWitWoo April 30, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Erm, grrrrr on your behalf! That’s bang out of order! I followed this on Twitter and saw this woman actually tweet the links to your, sorry HER (WTF?!) post! What a nerve. I use a fair amount of pics of my family so will look into how I can protect them better.

    Well done u for persevering!

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Thanks – just unbelievable that she tweeted the link also. What a cheek!

  • Viv Smith April 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Glad you got this resolved. I have to say that from the start I decided to not use any images of my children that can be recognised by and this has reinforced my decision.
    I think you have a right to be “mistrusting”!

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Me too!

  • English Mum April 30, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Absolutely appalling. And yes, you’re right – it’s not only the fact that she lifted your entire post, but put her own name to it. And picture too? Disgusting.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

      I know. Vexed doesn’t even come close.

  • Katie April 30, 2011 at 8:39 am

    This is a really interesting post. I have not had similar but I have written a post which I have yet to publish about whether I should be posting photos of my daughter as have had some horrible searches from google.
    I am still undecided and would hate the thought of someone using my images of her.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and glad you got it sorted on this occasion.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

      God that’s just awful. It really does make you think twice about what you’re posting online.

  • notSupermum April 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

    This is the reason I’ve never published recognisable photos of my daughters on my blog. Once they’re on a blog they’re ‘available’ for anyone to lift. You were lucky to get a pingback on your article, but a photo doesn’t have the same traceability.

    I’m glad you’ve sorted it out.

  • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

    It’s fair to say I was less than polite to begin with. And my first few emails to her were all in capitals because I was so angry!

  • Nicki Cawood April 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Sorry, I’ve got to add – a personal picture? Why oh why?

    *shakes head*

  • Nicki Cawood April 30, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I was following this on Twitter yesterday and to be honest am utterly disgusted. The insinuation that you were being done a favour is ludicrous! I will most definitely be picking your brains on copywrite (etc) as this is something I need to be more savvy about.

    Well done you for not letting off a potty-mouthed rant at her – I would have done!

  • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:28 am

    The funniest part was when she told me her ‘computer guy’ said ‘Anything on the internet is fair game as long as you politely credit your source.’

    Ummm… no. No it isn’t. You can lift 10% if you politely credit your source. But a whole post? And image? Nah.

  • Jenny paulin April 30, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Un bloody believable! Not just what she did but her attitude aswell! Some people!! Good on you for making a stand x

  • Kizzy April 30, 2011 at 8:18 am

    omg I only put a few of my children on but it does make you wonder. Well done getting it resolved.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:28 am

      I know – it’s scary, isn’t it?

  • Nazima April 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Wow. Well done on tracking her and resolving this.

    • Liz Jarvis April 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

      I feel lucky to have been able to get hold of her. She was so brazen about it, that’s what gets me!