Blogging takes guts.
Posting your own ideas and thoughts, crafts and projects, opens you up to criticism from anywhere on the globe. While you think you may not need any content protection, I am here to say yes you flippin’ do. I have had so much art ripped off Tumblr, and even had my credits photoshopped out of the art. It’s upsetting and also illegal. Your content is yours. It’s your intellectual property, and you have to take some small and very easy steps to ensure what happened to me, doesn’t happen to you.
If you’re still thinking, “This is going to be complicated, I just know it,” then I’d highly suggest checking out this official WordPress page. It offers some great advice and resources for content protection. It’s such good advice that I’m taking some steps myself to beef up my security. Adding things like a copyright notice is so very incredibly easy.
The three easiest ways are with Creative Commons Licensing, copyright notices, and watermarks.
Creative Commons Licensing
If you’ve ever noticed the bottom of my sidebar sports a Creative Commons License that allows some things, but not others. In the past, confusing questions made it hard to find the right license. But now, CC has a nice, responsive site that will walk you through the selection process based on your answers to some simple questions. At the end of the walk through, you’ll get some snazzy code you can copy and paste straight into a text block in your sidebar. So, the license I chose protects my content by allowing “ShareAlike” works, but does not allow the commercial use of my content.
If a licensor decides to allow derivative works, she may also choose to require that anyone who uses the work — we call them licensees — to make that new work available under the same license terms. We call this idea “ShareAlike” and it is one of the mechanisms that (if chosen) helps the digital commons grow over time.
This license protects every page and category, but some parts of my blog I want to be mine alone. That’s where copyright notices step in. I want to start adding my short stories in order to get feedback, but I don’t want people to be able to rip off my work. Adding a sticky post to a page with a clear, no bullshit message is a must. WordPress suggests adding it to your sidebar (or your footer widget), so it travels along with whoever is viewing your blog.
© [Full Name] and [Site Name], [Current Year or Year Range]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Your Name] and [Your Site Name] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Plagiarism Today also has some great tips for writing your very own copyright notice, including decoding and deciding on the language in your rights statement.
WordPress also highlights some great discussion concerning watermarks, which are like stamps you place on your images that mark them as yours. Photographers are always encouraged to use them, but there are some bloggers that don’t necessarily need to spend the time marking their images. I’d suggest skimming through the link to see if watermarks are something you need. Personally, I watermark the photos I post with my blog name and url; if that image is shared anywhere else, people will know where it originally came from.
With all that said, there are some that argue watermarks only get in the way and don’t actually help prevent theft. The Pixlr blog team put together a very interesting article about the negative side of watermarks.
Adding a watermark may dissuade lazy bloggers who are looking for a quick image, but a talented graphic design thief can remove most watermarks without much trouble.
Have you ever had anything stolen before? Let’s commiserate together! (I’m pretty good at commiserating, just fyi). If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to help in anyway I can!
Only one more day ’til the weekend, folks!