I stopped writing articles long ago now because as soon as it was published, it was copied by bots and published on ad-filled webpages which instantly started showed up above my original page in search engines, so they got all the traffic, credits and money. (Yes, my name was erased and theirs put in its place.)

All attempts to report this to server hosts and whatnot was completely wasted time. I never had any money to actually go to court, and they were likely in different countries anyway.

Eventually, I just stopped writing. Even ignoring the money and "credits", it was soul-crushing to be feeding leeches like this who did not just "copy my software" (like software pirates), but actually took it and served it as their own, which is much worse. At least software pirates still use your software, even if they didn't pay for it. But this is content that was (and remains, many years later) entirely out of my control. And no credit to me.

Considering the quality of online written content that I find when searching for anything, I assume that I'm not alone in this, and that most people from the old days long since have given up on this. And it seems to be the same with video content today as well.

How does one find the motivation to produce high-quality articles and guides and whatnot, when the whole "ecosystem" today is so toxic and broken?

I frankly would rather have published a book in 1950 with my name on it which nobody ever bought and read, than publish a text on the Internet today which is read my tons of people, but only as a stolen copy surrounded by ads and somebody else's name in my place.

  • w.r.t. the title question, I think the only point is that the content exists where before it didn't. Maybe you made the world that little bit better. The only advise I can think of is to use a publisher that can either defend against piracy, or that is sufficiently authoritative that people will prefer it to knockoff sites.
    – user54131
    Feb 8, 2022 at 7:03
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's rant Feb 8, 2022 at 10:17
  • You write because you have something to say, and the world needs to hear it. If you are only thinking about the commercial value of your work, then send your material to online publications and pocket the check. If you are only considering the fame of having your name with your title, then that's very thin motivation.
    – Steve
    Feb 8, 2022 at 18:16
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    I agree with @motosubatsu that this is a rant - however I think it could become a useful question. Something along the lines of "how does one protect themselves from predator bots that copy-paste your work into other websites?" I have never done any web publishing, so I have no idea whether this is a) a common problem or b) possible to fix.
    – codeMonkey
    Feb 8, 2022 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


Low-tech solution

There are services that will defend your copyright for either a fee or on contingency on the monetary claim from anyone that is found in breach. I am familiar with companies identifying copyrighted images that have been used without consent from the author1, but I don't see why a similar service could not exist for writers as well.

As you can imagine there is an economy of scale in the process, such that for a company to run after hundreds of breaches is marginally less expensive than for you to run after one breach. The reason is that they can use their legal and IT department full time to scan the web and threaten targeted parties with legal actions in various jurisdictions. Eventually someone will give up and either remove the copyrighted material or accept to pay in order not to be dragged to court or have their website obscured due to a court injunction.

Honestly, chances of success are still slim. However, if your livelihood depends upon it, then it makes sense to sign up for such service as a form of insurance.

[1]: see for instance Copytrack or Photoclaim

Higher-tech solution

Make the content accessible to humans, but not so much to simple-minded automated scrapers. While there exists farms of human web-scrapers, I believe that the majority are still run using software2.

Some examples that I have seen:

  1. protect your content with a captcha
  2. embed the content in a complex and seemingly random structure of css elements, which otherwise render as a plain page
  3. encrypt the content in the HTML and unencrypt it on the fly through javascript when you render the page client side.
  4. bloat the HTML side of the page with garbage text that does not get displayed to a human reader.
  5. require membership from your readers in order to continue reading. Track user registration / access to pages and copyright leakage to ban / pursue the offenders.

Note however that a marginally advanced scraper with a headless browser may still get around most of the above.

[2]: This opinion is simply dictated by the cost comparison between human labor and electricity.

No solution

Ranting without attempting a solution is itself a way of addressing the frustration. Sometimes that is enough. Further, when done with a bit of creativity it could fuel additional new content too.

All in all, you may just decide to gloat in the pride of having written something aesthetically pleasing and practically useful, regardless of the monetary gain that you made of it.

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me

Immanuel Kant

  • Unfortunately, your higher tech solutions are ineffective in practice and potentially harmful, by causing slower load times, killing SEO, or preventing accessibility. And that last point is important — people read in different ways: please don't make it impossible to use screen readers and other assistive tools (some only learn this after an ADA lawsuit).
    – Laurel
    Feb 9, 2022 at 17:07

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