I know the last thing you want to see ever is your content being stolen. Whether it was the entire article or if it was ‘re-spun’. Its frustrating and if your like me? It just pisses you off to no end. So what can you do about it? Well, since I recently had this happen to me? There are ways to fight bloggers who steal your content. I’ll tell you my story on what happened and how I went through and fought to get the duplicate content removed.
If your reading this you probably had your content stolen at some point. Whether it was someone who took the whole article and placed it on another site without mentioning you or they re-spun (meaning they re-worded the article) it. It is frustrating and I’m sure makes you angry! So what can you do if you find out your article is stolen? Well, let me tell you my story and how I went about getting the content removed.
Note: I will not be posting the blog, the person’s name, or the host. This is to try and protect the host where the site is and I don’t want to provide any type of links to the person’s site as they don’t deserve the traffic.
I’ve been receiving a lot of SPAM comments lately. And nothing I am doing seems to work to stop it any more. But I make sure to check them all out before I delete them. While going through them I happened to see a comment from ‘Your Friend’:
‘Your Friend’ like some lone vigilante on the internet shows me that MY WORK was stolen… and wasn’t even very nice about it. Whenever I see something like this I tend to ignore it. Unfortunately I remembered the person they were mentioning and even the site they were talking about. So I decided to take a look. Sure enough there were the articles in question.
Read the Original Article: Free Online Tools to See if Your Site Has Been Flagged as Spam or Malicious
I decided to ask on a Facebook group if they had any ideas on how I could stop it. I didn’t really get any sound advice. I then decided to just be a nice guy about it and contact the site owner with the information I had hoping that they would understand. Well the owner of the site responded pretty much saying it should be OK to re-spin the articles and that I was acting childish for getting upset over this.
I guess this “blogger” had never followed the golden rule:
Its Not OK to Steal Others Work
This should be common sense here. You don’t steal another person’s work. Period. You can’t copy and paste it to your own website. You can’t just re-word a few things and use the same images from the original article.
Why not? According to the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) Section 512(c) you are violating Copyright laws which can involve hefty fines and lawyer fees if someone wished to really push the issue. This goes for anything that is placed on the article itself. So while you might think it is OK to just go on Google and copy/paste an image found? Most likely your breaking the law. So beware of how you display your content and are in compliance.
When Ideas are Shared – Good Things Happen
There is a twist on this though. If someone sees your content and likes it? Then they write their own article based off the ideas they got from your original content? That is NOT stealing. And even better? Sometimes you even get some credit for it and they toss some traffic your way as a way of saying thanks! This happened when I wrote about Twitter Cards. So thank you Ileane for giving me the mention!
Information Gathering to Show Proof
So Now What?
I was thinking OK, obviously the person isn’t going to remove the content in question. So now what do I need to do to fight this? Time to get my information straight first then figure out how to submit a complaint to the right people.
Go to Copyscape
First I needed some proof that the article was close enough to my original so I had a leg to stand on. I placed the article URL that was stolen and low and behold! It lists my site as being a possible suspect of being copied. So now I had some proof. But I wasn’t done.
Go to Google
Now I went and did a search on Google for the article in question. And sure enough when I did the search based on the Title of my article? It listed both mine and the stolen content in the search result.
You can see that they look pretty close. Oh and they are right next to each other. So there article was potentially stealing visitors as well. Can you see why this is making me upset?
How to Report It
I started doing some research on the web and found out a few things:
- You can submit a request to Google but they are typically backlogged as far as 7 months.
- You can go to the source and request for them to take it down (which I did)
- You can go to the ISP/Web Host and request for them to contact the site owner to have them remove the content.
Since I already contacted the owner and was pretty much laughed at, and Google was going to take way to long. I opted for Option 3 and contacted the web host to have them take it down. Oh, how did I find out who the host was? That was the easy part.
Perform a Whois on the Website
I went to Whois.net to perform the search. Its pretty simple to figure out who the host provider is and where a site is registered at. You input the URL of the website in question and you will get a response back sort of like what mine would look like below:
[Querying whois.verisign-grs.com] [whois.verisign-grs.com] Whois Server Version 2.0 Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net for detailed information. Domain Name: AVGJOEGEEK.NET Registrar: GODADDY.COM, LLC Whois Server: whois.godaddy.com Referral URL: http://registrar.godaddy.com Name Server: NS6633.HOST GATOR.COM Name Server: NS6634.HOST GATOR.COM Status: clientDeleteProhibited Status: clientRenewProhibited Status: clientTransferProhibited Status: clientUpdateProhibited Updated Date: 03-oct-2013 Creation Date: 10-oct-2009 Expiration Date: 10-oct-2015
With the information above you can find out where they are registered at, who the host is either from the information listed or the DNS records (in this case HostGator) and even when the Domain name expires. So now it was on to contacting the web host.
Contact the Web Host
Then you will need to contact the web host. Now I didn’t know at the time that I would need to fill out any type of official form or anything. I just wrote a simple email to their tech support team with the issue.
I received a reply back from their legal department stating I needed to submit a DMCA Takedown Notice. Well crap. I figured I was sunk. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction!
DMCA Takedown Requests
I brought up Google and did a search for DMCA Takedown Notice. I found a few sites that had examples. Then I found this site: Mcanerin International that had some Word templates that I could use! After downloading the word template I then filled it out per the instructions and submitted it back to the web host’s legal team.
I received a pretty fast response stating that the owner was contacted and the article should be taken down in the next 48hrs. I’m still waiting for the article to be removed as the time hasn’t expired yet. I am hopeful and confident that the web host will comply at the very least.
Re-Cap What You Should Do if Your Content is Stolen
Ok, If you think your content has been stolen? Then lets re-cap and go over everything again:
- Go to the website where the allegedly stolen content is being posted at.
- Go to CopyScape and see if the site can determine a close enough similarity to your originating content.
- Attempt to contact the site owner first. Be Polite but firm in your request to have them take down the article.
- If that doesn’t work – then find out where the website is hosted and contact the web host.
- If that fails fill out the correct DMCA Takedown Request Forms and submit them.
- Then wait the appropriate amount of time and perform any type of followups with the web host, and/or search engines you originally submitted the request with.
Is it Really Worth the Trouble?
Of course it is! Especially since the stolen content will steal potential visitors and customers to your site. Plus people need to know that it is NOT OK to steal someone elses work. What do you think though? Share your stories in the comments below and how you went about reporting and hopefully got it fixed.
- CopyScape - The site to find out if your content has been stolen.
- KissMetrics – Kristi Hines article on Copy Scrapers and tips on how to find them. It has some awesome tips on how to do some additional research and how to protect your content as well.
- DMCA Website – This link will take you to their service which will charge you $10.00 for each request. But they will assist you by making sure you get the right forms and where to send them!
- Copyright Law – This link will take you to Section 512(c) outlining your rights for your content.