A few years ago I discovered that people were stealing web content that I worked hard to create. The way I found out was that they didn’t even bother changing some of the deep links within my own website.
I saw those incoming links appear in the Comment section of my WordPress Dashboard and followed the links back to the thief.
The ridiculous part is that when I confronted the content thieves (there have been many), they refused to take down the content they stole from me. In their crazy mind, it was perfectly OK to steal my original content.
After doing some research, I discovered some ways to deal with people who blatantly steal my blog content by using a third party.
In this blog post, I have some simple steps you can take to help you when someone steals your hard work.
Find Out if Your Online Content was stolen
If may be obvious if someone stole your content because they were too lazy to remove internal web links or perhaps you saw them post it in social media.
If you want to find out for certain if your online content was stolen, Google is your friend to do so. You can do a search on Google for any exact sentence or phrase that you used in your content.
If you want to be alerted to any copyright infringement in the future, you can set up a Google Alert. Although its main purpose is to “Monitor the web for interesting new content” , you’ll be alerted to results for any search query you use.
To use Google Alerts:
- Click here to go to Google Alerts.
- Type in a phrase or sentence from your web content.
- Select your desired options.
- Click Create Alert.
Results will be displayed immediately and will also be delivered to you according to the criteria you selected.
What to do if your Online Content is stolen
If your online content is stolen, don’t freak out. I know it’s difficult to stay calm because you worked hard on your content.
You can be a little flattered that someone thought your content was so good they wanted it for their own!
The first step I recommend is to send the thief a professional style message or email. State the problem and ask them nicely to take down the content.
If your content thieves are anything like mine, they may either ignore you or feel entitled (for some crazy reason) to use yours or anyone’s content as they please.
If they refuse to take down the content, move to the next step!
Before you get started, be sure to read through the requirements for alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA.) Learn more at the U.S. Copyright Office Web Site.
There are some things you should have handy before you start filling out forms.
- Description of the copyrighted work.
- URL of the copyrighted work
- Location of infringed material
Here are two ways to help you get your stolen content removed.
File a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice of Infringement with Google
Google has a DMCA notice that you can file for copyright infringement. Be sure to read through all the information on the page in detail before you start down this path.
There are examples on the Google DMCA notice page for you to understand what information to fill out in the form. Google uses the information to remove the infringed content from the Google Search engine.
Use a DMCA Take Down Service
I have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Services. They help make the content takedown process easy for anyone to use.
You can choose from a do-it-yourself service or they can provide that service for you. If you choose the DIY service, they walk you through each step.
You can also take advantage of their services to protect your content and enforce your ownership.
When I used their services, the thief was forced to remove the content they stole from me. Their website provided is contacted and if the offender does not remove the content, the web provider will do it.
If this is your first time, you may want to use the DMCA service to remove the content. It’s just less of a headache for you.
It’s so offensive when someone steals your web content! I gave you two ways to use take-down services. Let me know if you use one and what results you got. This will help others in their decision of how to deal with content thieves.
If you use images in your blog content or social media, I recommend that you brand it with a watermark of your name or logo. Even then, I’ve had people cut out my name or logo!
There are many lazy people who will steal your content. Don’t let them get away with it! You have worked too hard.
Leave a comment below to share your experience and do share this post with anyone who might benefit from it.