Last year I did a little article submission to get some linkbacks to my blog. Those articles were then copied by many websites and they are all linking back to my blog. I think this has caused decline in my Search Engine Rankings. I requested the website owners to remove the article but they did not. So I am thinking about blocking these websites in .htaccess
Will this be an effective technique and will googlebot still give my website credit for that link? Are there any other ways to safely get rid of the effects of bad backlinks?