If you use WordPress to run your blog and have access to the plugins feature, meaning that you aren’t using a WordPress.com account, you have a deluge of ways to protect your content, especially your feed.
If you are concerned about content theft, there are several plugins that are simply not optional, they are requirements. These plugins provide critical protection to your feed and, best of all, do so without any direct action from you.
This frees you up to spend more time working on your blog and less time worrying about your content.
One of the best ways to prevent plagiarism of your work is to clearly mark it as yours. Covered previously on this site, the Feed Copyrighter Plugin is a simple plugin does exactly that.
It is a simple plugin that adds a short copyright notice to the footer of each feed entry. By default, this notice warns users that, if they are reading the content on any site other than the original, the person is guilty of copyright infringement. However, the plugin can be trivially modified, even by a non-coder like myself, to say just about anything else, including express a Creative Commons License.
This plugin is also completely combatable with Feedburner and most other feed plugins. All in all it is a simple install and simple set up that can work wonders for your feed.
Maxpower’s Digital Fingerprint Plugin (link)
Though still in beta, Maxpower’s plugin has already proved to be an invaluable tool in detecting content theft. It works by putting a unique phrase or string of characters into each entry of the feed and then performing searches for that term. Any hits are potential scrapers.
Though the plugin has some minor weaknesses, it has come a very long way since beta one and is a much-needed layer of protection for anyone running WordPress. It is completely Feedburner compatible and can be used in conjunction with other RSS feed plugins. It’s also one of the most convenient plugins available, operating everything from within the WordPress administration area
I already use it on this site and will likely continue to do so for some time to come.
Numly Plugin (link)
Written by Cal Evans, the Numly plugin automatically assigns Numly ESNs to your entries. These ESNs date and time stamp your work and affix author information to it. it will also save a copy of your work to Numly’s server.
This has several functions. First, in the event of a dispute over ownership you have proof of when and where you posted a work. Second, it can provide valuable protection against the orphan works legislation.
The greatest weakness in the plugin is that it does not work with the WordPress API so bloggers who use software to edit their blogs will have to manually resave their entries. Also, bloggers that post more than daily will have to spring for a paid Numly account, which costs about 5 dollars per month.
Still, it is a valuable plugin, especially for a site facing a great deal of spam bloggers.
A relatively new plugin, AntiLeech has already gartered a good amount of press. The plugin, which is by Owen Winkler, works by misdirecting scrapers. It identifies scrapers through a variety of methods and directs suspected bots to dummy content, content that is determined by the user.
It’s a simple concept along the lines of the previous article on cloaking and it seems to be working very well. Though a minor problem with Feedburner prevents me from using it, others have reported great success with it.
It is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tools for preventing content scraping in WordPress blogs.
Bad Behavior (link)
Finally, protecting your feed is an important step, but protecting your site is equally important as well. Bad Behavior, by detecting robots of all variety and blocking them, can do that.
Though an anti-spam plugin by design, Bad Behavior can also detect many automated scrapers and stop them before they can steal too much of your content. It’s not perfect and certainly wasn’t designed for this use, but it has had more than a modest amount of success in this area.
While it’s definitely a fine anti-spam plugin, it’s at least an equally fine content theft deterrent. Any plugin that can perform double duty is definitely a must have.
In the end, if you use WordPress, there many plugins available to help you protect your content and, considering that most have no negative impact on regular readers, it makes perfect sense to take advantage of them.
To do otherwise would be taking an unneeded risk and putting your content in danger of wholesale scraping.