How to deal with plagiarists and content scrapers?

Plagiarism and content scraping have been a perennial problem for most bloggers.

Plagiarists are the “copy-and-paste” people who directly lift someone else’s content and who republish it as their own.

Actually, copying an entire article is not really wrong as long as the source is properly credited. But if a blog is a mere mashup or collection of someone else’s content — even if the source is credited — then that is already “scraping.”

In most cases, these scrapers use robots or automated systems that browse the RSS feed of one blog then repost the content on the scraper’s blog. Worse, these scrapers plaster the blog with Google Adsense ads which means they earn by stealing the content of other bloggers.

In their Inside Adsense blog, Google posted solutions to help address these issues.

First, you can report plagiarists by filing a copyright infringement report. Basically, you send Google a written communication (fax or mail, not email) containing your complaint. Refer here for details of the content of your copyright infringement report.

As for content scrapers, you can report it for a potential violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. The report form is available in your account. Under the “Talk to Google” sidebar on the right, click the Report Spam in our index link.

Google promises to “take appropriate action” if a plagiarist or content scraper is found guilty. I assume this can be any of the following:

  • removal of the plagiarist’s or scraper’s blog from the Google search results — which means search engine users cannot see the blog as a search result causing a drop in the number of visitors
  • permanent ban in Google Adsense — the account will be closed and all pending earnings won’t be paid
  • termination of Google services — repeat violators can have their Google Accounts terminated which means they can’t use Google services anymore

Fortunately, Google has now offered us ways to fight back. Hopefully, this will signal the death of these vile and ruthless plagiarists and content scrapers.

11 thoughts on “How to deal with plagiarists and content scrapers?”

  1. Thanks a lot James for the very informative post. Because of it I tried to google some of my articles, and so far I can’t find any blog with my content…haha(not sure if that’s good or bad)! Anyway, in case I do find someone plagiarizing my blogs, I know what to do, thanks. What I’m afraid of right now is when I get e-mail messages requesting for password changes for some sites I visit(youtube for example). Not sure if I’m just too paranoid but I do make sure I often change and use complex passwords.

  2. Yup, happened to me many times..they “credited” me but it will not link to my site…So I have to contact them to remove my article. Luckily, they remove it right away.

    also, due to this scraping of articles, I stopped submitting my articles in Ezines which these people always find their “victims”…

  3. @Jay Castillo, those email requesting password changes are almost always phishing emails. Make sure you don’t give out any information on their website. The YM prepaid load scammer usually use information from phishing sites he made.

    @Valerie, at least they remove your articles upon your request. Minsan may mga makakapal talaga ang mukha na nde na nga nagbibigay ng credit, kahit mag-complain ka sa kanila nde nila tatanggalin yung articles.

    @ceblogger, that’s really annoying. These plagiarists and scrapers do nothing but copy and paste articles and yet they compete with you on the SERP ranking. Sometimes, if they’re really good, they can even rank higher than your post!

  4. Na encounter ko na to ung “robots/automated systems” …nagtataka nga ako once baket nandun sa [insert website here] ung ginawa kong posts from [insert my website here].. ERR! they don’t even know what “plagiarism” means. tskness.!

  5. Hi guys, what if you found a site that slightly edits your blog post and then publishes it like it was their own, although it is quite obvious they used your content? I noticed this on which looks very similar to my post (just add the http colon slash slash on front of the links to see what I mean). I’m really bothered by this and need your opinion guys. Thanks!
    .-= Jay Castillo´s latest blog ..RCBC Savings Bank Listings Of Foreclosed Properties For Public Auction On June 27, 2009 =-.

  6. @Jay, I went to the site and the article does look like a reworded piece of your original post. I assume you already reported it to Google as I explained in the article above. If Google acts on your complaint, then Google can probably ban it from the search index or even from the Google Adsense program.

    I suggest you also contact the site admin and point out the fact that the article was a copyright infringement. Tell them that at the least, the article should credit you as the original source. If they don’t act on it, report them to their web host. Most webhosts have an Acceptable Use Policy that disallow plagiarized content from being published so if the host finds that the site is indeed guilty, probably they will take down the site.

    Good luck! Let us know the update on this.

  7. Hi James, thanks a lot for the reply. I already contacted the site admin and I await their response. They actually did this to 3 of my articles which they all posted last June 23, 2009. I will be sending a fax message of my complaint to Google later today, unless they add attribution information or remove the posts completely. Will keep you posted. Thanks again!

  8. Hi James, after I sent another message with a very strong warning which I composed with the help of my lawyer (who is also my wife), the offending site already unpublished the infringing articles. I no longer faxed the complaint to Google. According to the site admins, they already reprimanded the writer who did the copying and rewording of my articles. I’m just glad that it’s over. I’m also glad that I have comprehensive google news alerts for my niche which alerted me of the offending articles.
    .-= Jay Castillo´s latest blog ..4 Tips On How To Stop Foreclosure =-.

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