Have you ever stumbled across a website that has ripped off the copy you poured hours of sweat and tears into writing? What can you do about it?
However, there are other tactics you can employ, which allow users to retain their freedom to click and copy what they like, whilst still giving you the ability to give content thieves a cheeky kick in the crotch.
For example, use absolute urls within your links. This means putting your whole website url (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/page) instead of relative ones (e.g. /page). People that are too lazy to write their own content are usually too lazy to steal it themselves. Some use software that automatically searches for and steals keyword-rich content – if your urls are absolute then stolen content could end up providing your website with some lovely extra links.
This will not mitigate the impact that duplicate content can have on your search engine rankings though – if you do stumble across copy which is identical to your own then explore your options; see whether you can get any sympathy from the host or the major search engines and check regularly, using tools like Copyscape, so you can do something about it before duplicate content affects your rankings.
Until next time.