Most of the time, people are worried about copyright infringement because they fear that their audience might mistake them with their competitors. The problem with this comes in the fact that your competitors might benefit from your marketing investments, due to the similarity of their brand to yours. Also, you might worry that their negative actions might affect you, as well as them. Still, these are far from being all the damage that you can possibly face. Other than this, there’s also a likelihood that copyright infringement can affect your SEO. Here’s how.
How to recognize a copyright infringement?
The first step in fighting this problem lies in recognizing that your content has been infringed upon, in the first place. In other words, finding a stolen content is the first step that you need to make before you are able to successfully remove or report it. Tools like Google Alerts are your first step but you can also go for Copyscape. The latter informs you of all the websites that are reposting your content by just typing in your URL. As your website grows, the usefulness of this concept grows, as well, seeing as how checking manually for every piece of content will be impossible.
One of the things that Google’s algorithm hates the most is duplicate content. So, if someone tries to pass your own piece of work as their own, it will immediately alarm Google bots which will take a much greater interest in your case. The problem, however, lies in the fact that it’s quite hard for them to tell which of the two items is the original. Sure, your post might have been uploaded before theirs, however, what happens if you’ve reuploaded it, edited it or tried to revamp it. Needless to say, this is one of the ways you’ll get penalized the quickest, which will result in a diminishing of your Google rank.
What should you do when you diagnose it
Once you’ve figured out that someone has been using your content, you need to act. First, you should take a picture or a screenshot of the offending content as a proof, in the case where they take it down, yet, repeat the offence in the nearest future. Second, you should try to contact the owner of the site. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and there’s always a chance that they haven’t done it on purpose. Moreover, having them just take it down is a preferable solution than having to start with all the legal mechanisms of your IP protection.
If there’s still no reply, what you might need to do is contact the web host or even go straight to google. Keep in mind that it’s for the best if this could go without the involvement of the lawyers. Provided that you are hiring prominent SEO services, chances are that your SEO experts will know the optimal course of action in this situation. Why not just ask them for their opinion?
Is the opposite possible as well?
The next thing you should take into consideration is the possibility that it’s also possible for you to upload someone else’s content. Sure, when it comes to blog posts and you’re the one doing all the work, chances of this are virtually non-existent. Why? Well, because you would have to write the piece yourself, which means that you would be aware of whether you’ve plagiarized or not. If you’re uploading the post, you would put it through a plagiarism checker and that would be it. However, what if you were to have a regular contributor, someone who you trust, who just decides to go, rogue, one day? This is why you need to check everything yourself.
The last issue that we want to discuss is not necessarily related to the issue of copyright infringement but it’s something with fairly similar effects. Namely, the concept of cybersquatting is a phenomenon that takes place in a scenario where someone else deliberately gets a URL that’s too similar to yours. For instance, they take out a single letter or add one, introduce a common spelling error in order to make their URL unique or use your brand name in a different combination. This is something that has happened in the past even to major companies like LEGO and it’s definitely something worth looking out for.
Finally, you need to understand that we’re living in a world that’s on the brink of a digital AI revolution. What this means is that the tools that you’re using tend to be more and more self-reliant, which means that the ground beneath those that are infringing on the copyright of others is rapidly shrinking. Even now, it doesn’t take long for a copyright infringement to be identified but in the future, this might become an even smaller issue. In fact, the whole field of brand marketing seems to be evolving.
As you can see, now, you have the means to preserve all your content, as well as create it. Just remember that when fighting for your own content, you’re not just fighting for your own business, you’re taking a righteous stand that will benefit others in the future, as well. You’re doing your part to protect your own intellectual property, thus making the internet a safer and a more balanced environment. This is, indeed, a cause that’s more than worthy of your time.