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What to do When Someone Steals Your Blog’s Content – Blog Plagiarism

What do you do when a site blatantly steals your blog’s content? This is a growing problem for bloggers but thanks to tools like CopyScape its not hard to find them. The challenge comes when you want to do something about it.

A few days back I found a site which had copied (word for word) all 8 articles in my Adsense for Bloggers series of posts.

It especially concerns me as this is a site that not only gave no backlink to my articles or even a mention of who the original author was (they post it as if it is original content). They didn’t ask permision and were running the articles on a site that is commercial in nature and is making money off my own work.

So what should one do?

1. Contact the site concerned – First port of Call should always be to contact the webmaster concerned and politely explain to them that they are in breech of copyright and that you wish them to remove the content immediately. In 90% of cases where I’ve done this the content has been removed within 24 hours and there has usually been some sort of apology.

Unfortunately in this case no email address or contact details are on the site in question. You can try some random email addresses including [email protected] or [email protected]

2. Whois – Run a Whois check on the site concerned. There are numerous services around that do this – I use the CopyScape service and on the page in question got information on the site with details of the owner of it.Whilst it doesn’t tell much it does give one or two avenues for further action.

For example in this case it gives me a name of registrant of the site and an email address.

It also tells me who the site is registered through and who is now hosting the site.

3. Contact the Site’s Hosts – This is what I have now done after not hearing from the webmaster concerned. I told the the company that hosts the site in question that it is hosting a site in breech of copyright and asked them to contact him on my behalf and ask for him to remove the content. If this does not happen I will ask the host company to remove the site as they are supporting a copyright breech. So far the company has been most helpful and is attempting to help out.

4. Contact the Site’s Advertisers - What is the motivation of a site stealing content? Well they are obviously doing it in this case to earn a few dollars on the side. What is therefore most likely to get them to take some notice – take their earning capacity away. In this case the site seems to have previously advertised with Adsense (the code is in their ‘view source details’) although the ads are not showing and I suspect they may have been banned. They do have another advertiser who I today emailed notifying them of the site’s activities which are against their rules and conditions. I asked them to stop dealing with this site.

5. Shame the suckers! - I guess that is what this post is about. Name and Shame them – expose them for the thieves that they truly are. (update – after a couple of months the site in question was removed by hosts of the site for doing this same thing to others – this post worked in highlighting their activities and I’ve since removed links to it as it is no longer there).

6. File for them to be banned from Google and other Search Engines – Next on the list of action you can take is to file a notice of infringement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with Google. This has the potential to get the site in question banned from Google. Other Search Engines have similar procedures. I’m yet to go to this length with any site because by this point they have usually responded. However in this case its my next step.

7. Legal Action - I guess this is a last course of action that I am yet to take but the avenue is open to me. The Whois search gives enough to go on to start such proceedings.

I’m sure there are other methods of getting some action on copy theft – but this is what I’ve done so far. Feel free to add your comments, suggestions, experiences and thoughts below in comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    I had this happen to me as well. There was a webmaster that was taking my rss feed and republishing it as their content. Since I didn’t hear back from them within 48 hours, I decided to give them a different rss feed that they wouldn’t like. Once I did that they stopped using my feed.

    http://www.paulstimesink.com/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=301&blogId=2

  2. Darren says:

    well Haluk and Murat – I’m glad you’re going to take some action. I’ll wait until I actually see the articles removed from your site before I remove your details from this page.

    I hope you have learned a lesson from this – don’t steal content.

    if you’d like to use some content ask permission. If you don’t want to ask permission don’t post a full article and always give a link back to your original source.

    Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for legal action to be taken out against you.

  3. Baz L says:

    @ Paul Westbrook

    Sorry for finding this post so late, but anyways, isn’t the point of an RSS feed for distribution on other sites??? What was the problem with the person using it???

  4. Neil Camp says:

    Ouch, remind me not to take your content! At least you are doing something about it, in a very professional way. If they are in a different country, how do you take action against them, especially if their host is in that same country?

  5. mark says:

    I’ve had a NUMBER of people copying what I did, maybe not exactly, but generally had the same idea and context. I contacted some and they abide with me so far. I’ve just found another and am going to get in touch with them now to see how it goes.

  6. danica says:

    This is exaclty what is happening to me!
    I founf out on WHOIS, and sent email to the host, not the author, with request. The person literlly copied WHOLE my sci-blog at danicar.wordpress.com to other URL in Cina, with all adsenses.
    And my blog never had adsense, it is not commercial.

    I also sent email ro removals of Google, since it’s on search engine, and I cannot post or do anything, this person or whomever, abused my authorship and earned money on my intellectual property, plus stole my RSS/or change RSS. I notied few days/week ago on my wordpress statistic but never thought that this may happen.

    I am still waiting for the reply from removals Google and The host…
    I do not know what will happen.

    But thanks for tips and also to my friend Mirko who sent me this helpful post.

  7. danica says:

    This is exaclty what is happening to me!
    I founf out on WHOIS, and sent email to the host, not the author, with request. The person literlly copied WHOLE my sci-blog at danicar.wordpress.com to other URL in Cina, with all adsenses.
    And my blog never had adsense, it is not commercial.

    I also sent email ro removals of Google, since it’s on search engine, and I cannot post or do anything, this person or whomever, abused my authorship and earned money on my intellectual property, plus stole my RSS/or change RSS. I notied few days/week ago on my wordpress statistic but never thought that this may happen.

    I am still waiting for the reply from removals Google and The host…
    I do not know what will happen.

    But thanks for tips and also to my friend Mirko who sent me this helpful post.

  8. butlimous says:

    Thanks very much for your helpful tips!! Those things happen to me on a regular basis and I don’t know what to do but you helped me a lot! Thanks again.

  9. Rose says:

    Once again thanks for the tips. Name and shame is right!

  10. Jen says:

    Wow thanks. I recently had someone steal a bunch of my content, so I’m taking it up with their hosting provider. That’ll show ‘em.

  11. mark says:

    It’s a pity that EVEN more people have now started stealing the content I make. I guess I got many “followers” :(

  12. JS says:

    It’s sad that people steal, thanks for the tips on dealing with content theft :)

  13. Jose says:

    Thanks for the tips. I realize when “thieves” see high ranking blogs/websites they are prone to copy it. But with your tips, lots of siteowners now know the right steps to take :)

  14. Prashanth says:

    For taking any legal actions, should we have copyrights of our blog? For a small blogger like me getting a copyright is expensive.

  15. Good article, interesting tips. Hopefully will never have to put them to use :)

  16. Nat says:

    thx this was really helpful! i was worried what would I do if that happened to me!

  17. This is actually quite interesting. I was wondering this myself the other day, after posting a few articles of my own online. Considering the work and research that went into them, I’d hate for this to happen to me. Now, I’ll know what to do. Thanks!

  18. Tanya says:

    Okay, I’m new to blogging and not quite sure about a lot of things such as askimet, spam etc. Today in my askimet in wordpress, I found a site which had a paragraph from one of my articles. The article begins with “Jill wrote”… “Jill wrote” links to my site. (my name is not Jill) then a paragraph from my article follows and then it says read the rest of the post here and that links to my article on my site.
    I’m not sure what to do, if the article was stolen or what.
    I would leave the url of “Jill’s site” here but I don’t want to give this person any free traffic.

  19. Tanya says:

    The funny thing is, I found another article on the internet where the same thing occurred – looked like they stole another article of mine. Then I checked out the urls a few days later and the websites had been suspended. Interesting…

  20. Once again, I’m another one that has had this happen. Along the same lines, not exactly the same thing, but I think even more annoyingly, I had people also use my articles from ezinearticles.com and not link back to me. Others link back but do not make the links live, so it’s useless. Pretty much every time I contact the person in question they have removed the article but have not replied to my email. I think they are just cowards at the end of the day. Cowards with not too many brains, as to find them all I had to do was search using my article title. Granted, god knows how many people use the article whilst changing it just enough for it not too show up when I search for the article title.
    I have found WhoIs to be a wonderful tools as most people who steal the content of others are not professional enough to put contact details on their site.

  21. MoneyEnergy says:

    This might have just happened to me. I’ve emailed the “author” of the “blog” that took it. If it turns out it’s foul then I’ll expose them here badly (there should be a blog for doing that….a central place where we load in all the names of the thieves, like a “Better Blog Bureau” or something) and take further action as outlined above.

    This type of crime just causes me to seethe. It eats away at the foundations of knowledge in our universities too when students run online to buy essays. Those sites should also be banned.

  22. Thanks Lorelle for providing useful information ..This will really help the honest webmasters.

  23. I use creative commons to copyright my work so no one steals it becuase that why i have license to my work and can get them shut down

    Awesome tips by the way

  24. I usually find that if you send a threatening message to the site owner that they will remove the content. If you make sure that they know you are serious about protecting your work, it’s usually in their best interests to back off.

  25. Yeah, sometimes asking them usually works.

  26. Gerome Mikhaeles says:

    So far I stopped at http://www.plagiarism-detector.com – it’s not perfect as well but at least it shows some good results in it’s reports. “Plagiarism-Detector” showed 90 out of 100. Strongly recommend to try. There’s a cracked version around – no need to pay for :-).

  27. aaron says:

    It’s sad to see that so many people have had this problem (myself included). Thanks heaps for the tips, hopefully it will sort out my problem along with everyone elses.

  28. Barry says:

    How can you tell if they are free or not before you sign up?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] What to do When Someone Steals Your Blog’s Content – Blog Plagiarism [...]

  2. [...] Content Theft – Once again, I know that some people don’t seem to realize what they are doing here, especially when it comes to reproducing RSS feeds. In every case, before I report them to AdSense I attempt to contact these people either through their blog or through their hosting via the Whois information that their blog has. In most cases people are happy to comply and will modify how they use the content or will remove it. If they ignore my approach (I always do it in a way that invites them to journey with me on it) or refuse to comply generally try other measures before reporting them to AdSense (or other advertisers). [...]

  3. [...] What to do When Someone Steals Your Blog’ Content – Blog Plagiarism [...]