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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Question Protecting content with hidden links?

    I recently found out one of my website's content (articles) has been copied in various websites and blogs across the web. Some have provided a backlink to my website, which is fine with me, fair exchange I'd say. But others, have not.

    I found out about one of these guys because they kept the links to the images on my server intact. They copy/paste the article, and the images are still served from me.

    I do not want to do something drastic, like replace the images with soft pornography or something equally inappropriate, and get them embarrassed. I'd rather want to take advantage of the situation and get more backlinks to my website. When they copy/paste stuff on WYSIWYG editors, they also copy the links.

    So I am thinking about adding hidden links to my website, inside my content. So they get copied/pasted along with the content. What would be a good way to do it? Any other ideas? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    It is quite easy to add something hidden to a page.

    Within a form you can use <input type="hidden" ...> but within a page you could use <div class="evil_hiiden_thing">... </div> and then style it to not display

    For example, this is Drupal code
    Code:
        <a href="#" class="element-invisible element-focusable">Jump to Navigation</a>
    is styled like so
    Code:
    .element-hidden {
      display: none;
    }
    It's there to help screen readers jump to the site navigation.

    Copying without referencing the source is plagiarism; I would at least be tempted to visit some of those sites to check my suspicions were correct and then complain to the article writer and any obvious site editor/webmaster. They are after all, benefiting from your bandwidth and if you are planning to make a career out of article writing then it's important you get properly recognised.

    Make sure you have the content copyright clearly stated or if you are applying a Creative Commons license clearly state that. Clearly state your policy on the sharing and re-use of article data,

    If they don't make the proper reference, you could always blacklist their IP addresses/domain names and thus reduce the hit on your bandwidth? I'd do that at the firewall level.
    If you are using an Apache server then please note that access control has changed from mod_access since Apache v2.1, http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/mod/mod_access.html , to http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/howto/access.html .

  3. #3
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvanGR View Post
    I do not want to do something drastic, like replace the images with soft pornography or something equally inappropriate, and get them embarrassed.
    Ha ha, I would.

    One option open to you is to prevent "hot linking", meaning that no one can link to your images and other assets. See here for an explanation:
    http://www.buildwebsite4u.com/advanc...ess-file.shtml (under "Protecting your bandwidth").

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard frank1's Avatar
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    if that copier is serious copier(means with some knowledge) then it is always cat and mouse game unless it comes down to copy right law...
    The first step i would say would be
    watermark your image with website name....or append some information about article like caption with in image.
    if they react then
    yes disable hot linking
    again if they just copy article then go for hidden links...
    if you put static hidden links and if they are smart enough they will get rid of it during scraping(if they are doing that)
    so randomize the position and text,lik of hidden link
    if it fails email the webmasters of site...
    and it goes on...

    thanks

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesleyB
    For example, this is Drupal code
    Is total crap. Drupal should know better. Display: none hides stuff from screen readers.

    Though I notice the skip link has the class "element-invisible" and the display: none is on "element-hidden", so maybe they're doing it correctly by setting the element-invisible off-screen with absolute positioning or something that actually works. Element-hidden might deliberately be hiding stuff from screen reader users as well.


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