How to block ChatGPT from your website (so your Content isn’t in their AI)

How to Block ChatGPT from Your Website (So Your Content Isn’t in Their AI)

ChatGPT just released directions on blocking them from using your website to train their AI. Writers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs especially should consider blocking ChatGPT on their websites.

Yesterday I scrapped my morning plans to tell as many people as possible. Today I’m taking a bit more time to explain why it was important enough to shuffle everything else aside.

This blog post covers ChatGPT, how it works, why may not want AI to use your online content, and how to stop it. There is a video below that will shows, step-by-step, how I blocked ChatGPT from this website in about 2 minutes.

What is ChatGPT

Open Al Logo

ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are everywhere in the news, but you may not fully understand what it is and how it works.

ChatGPT by OpenAI is not the only AI service, but it is the one that’s most familiar and most used. Practically every day I get an email advertising that AI can now make social media images, write my SOPs and, probably, clean my bathroom. (I’m actually hoping for that last one.)

ChatGPT works like a chat messenger – you tell it what you want, and it spits out a reply. Mostly people use it for writing text, but it can also be used for anything that can be written (like computer code).

AI learns by stealing content

How AI Like ChatGPT words.
Your online content goes into the AI. It learns to make content like yours. It makes content like yours.

AI systems have to be “trained.” They process a bunch of examples so it can create an “intelligent” system that can generate more items like those examples.

The companies making these AI systems have to gather together a large volume of training examples in order to create and continue refining their systems. This is where people start getting nervous…

ChatGPT and other AI services scrape the internet for content to use in training and that content can show up in the things it generates. It’s kind of amusing when spicy fan fiction tropes show up in AI generated text, less funny when it impacts you directly.

is it Bad if ChatGPT uses your content?

The risks of your content ending up in ChatGPT include:

  • Lost sales of work
  • Devaluation of your work
  • Lost intellectual property
  • Lost credibility

Writers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs are more vulnerable because their work is creative by nature. Creative entrepreneurs include anyone who makes an income by creating content. That includes copywriters, digital artists, graphic designers, web designers, content creators, musicians, web designers, and more.

It’s a fact: ChatGPT can’t do as good a job as someone with expertise. Lots of people are finding that their get poorer performance with AI content versus that made by experienced humans. I’ve also run experiments on it to prove it to myself. (Yes, I’m a nerd with a science degree.)

However, lots of people and businesses are using AI anyway because it’s cheaper than an experienced human. I’ve not experienced this personally, but I’ve heard from copywriters, social media managers, and SEO specialists who have lost clients. Of course, those same clients are also the ones who come back in a panic when their marketing and websites performance tanks.

Is it legal?

Screenshot of the Bookend Creative Studio footer highlighting the copyright statement

We have lots of laws about copyright but the courts are still deciding how copyright applies to AI.

The same thing has happened with each major technological shift. I’m an elder millenial so I remember file sharing in the 2000’s when you could download any music or video for free as long as you were willing to risk the malware and your mom didn’t make a phone call.

For now, we know that ChatGPT has been trained on copyrighted data.

You should definitely have a copyright statement at the bottom of your website, but blocking AI services from your website is a good precaution.

How to Block ChatGPT from your Website

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that you should block ChatGPT from your website – now let’s talk about how.

There’s a video for doing this on WordPress and instructions for other website below.

How to Block Chat GPT on WordPress

This video shows you step by step how to use the free Yoast SEO Plugin to block ChatGPT.

How to Manually Block Chat GPT from Websites

To do this you will need access to the file system. Some popular website platforms block your access, including Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. If this is you, I recommend contacting their customer support and asking how you can block AI bots. If enough people ask for it, they’ll add a way to do it!

How to Manually add code to block ChatGPT from your website

This will take about 2 minutes if you already know how to work in your website file system.

  1. Open your website file system.

    You will access this through your website host’s file manager

  2. Find the robot.txt file in your root folder or public_html folder.

    If the files doesn’t exist, you’ll need to make one.

  3. Add this code in the area highlighted.

  4. Save

This isn’t the end of AI

There are a lot more AI services than just ChatGPT and, as of now, not a good way to block them all. Plus, there’s also a lot of unknowns around AI at the moment.

I’m tentatively hopeful, though. I’m predicting that people will develop tools to block and fight AI bots in the coming months. After all, spam bots used to be a big problem and now we have tech to prevent them from being a nuisance. I’m also hoping that the courts will make a reasonable ruling around copyright.

Whatever happens with AI, I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on it. Make sure to sign up for my our mailing list so you don’t miss updates about AI and technology.

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