Last week, without warning, Google shut off more than half a dozen blogs that were hosted using their popular blogging service, blogger. Upon receiving notices that content on these blogs violated copyrights (which the story in The Guardian makes clear is not the case), they simply deleted them, and all their content. Mashable gives a bit more information here.
Whenever this happens, I think about my own writing here on the Big Bad Blog. This entry is the six-hundred-and-sixty-ninth article published here, and while there are a lot of Morning Coffees and poorly written articles that I might care little about, this blog is about giving myself the chance to write and create, and I would like to keep it.
There are, however, measures that can be taken to protect your content:
Host it yourself. Rather than allowing all your work to exist courtesy of the people at Google, LiveJournal or WordPress, get your own domain name and set yourself up outside their sphere of influence. Google will allow you to publish to your own site — though you run the risk that they will still be happy to delete it for you — WordPress, Moveable Type and others make a variety of tools that can be used to host your own blog.
Back it up. Additionally, almost every blog will allow you to back up your content. Do this regularly — particularly if your blog is in the publishing industry’s target-of-the-day category. Things they currently do include: the sending of takedown notices to music for which you have permission to publish, and the believe that linking is stealing.
Everybody who cares to keep their content should back up regularly. Those who do not have 100% control over where their content is stored should back up even more often. Those who post music, video, or summaries (and links to) news content should back up the most — particularly if somebody other than you can shut down your site if threatened by lawyers.
The important thing to remember is that, unless your content is kept on a server in your own home, it is on a machine that somebody else has control over. If you value it, keep a copy of it for yourself, on your own machine — the one on the Internet could disappear at any time, regardless of the esteem to which you hold your host.
I would say more, but I need to go back up the Big Bad Blog now.