You’ve worked hard on your blog posts, articles, sales pages and other writing, as well as your graphics design, website design, and logo. They’re yours. But online many people think it’s “fair game” to borrow and profit from your work. It’s not okay unless you’ve given your permission.
I saw a video online last week from EzineArticles.com I wanted to share:
Now, here are some tips to help you protect your intellectual property (since you can’t slap people through the internet…).
You can keep tabs on where your content is being used with Copyscape. They also offer a paid service where they’ll monitor the web for your content automatically. (I haven’t tried the paid service.)
If you find a site that’s stolen your content and reprinted it without attribution to you, or if someone alerts you to your content being used elsewhere, you can follow these steps:
1. Document that it’s your content
If it’s published online you can use Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine to see what date you posted it on your site and what date they posted it on their site.
If you had the work produced by a ghostwriter or graphic designer you can contact them for verification of the date they created it and that it was exclusively licensed to you.
2. Contact the website owner and ask them to take it down
Look at the website to see if you can find the contact information for the site owner. If you can’t find it, you can do a whois search to check the details of the domain name. Go to http://www.betterwhois.com or http://geektools.com/whois.php (any whois search site will work) and type in the domain name that has copied your content.
It will show the contact info for the domain owner, unless they have privacy protection enabled.
If privacy protection is enabled and there’s no contact information on the website, you may have to move on to step three.
Side note: this is an example of why it’s so important to make it easy to contact you through your website – if someone needs to contact you over something like this, you want them to, you don’t want them to go to your web host!
3. Contact the website’s host
If you aren’t able to contact the site owner, or you try and get no response, the next step is to contact their website host and file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take down request.
To find out who is hosting a website, try searching here: http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ If no results come up, it’s a little tougher to find out who’s hosting it, but what you can do is look at the WHOIS record (from the search in step 2) and watch for the “Nameservers” line, then see who controls those nameservers.
Here’s what happens when a DMCA take down request is filed:
- the web host will remove the content promptly and notify the site owner
- the site owner can file a counter claim and prove that they did not infringe on your rights
- if they file a counter claim then you have 14 days to file a lawsuit and notify their host it’s been filed, or the host will restore their website files
You can find more information on DMCA and how to write one at these links:
- Full Text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
4. Get the content removed from the search engines
Contact Google and other search engines to report the violation and get the site removed from the search engine’s index.