As your website or blog grows content theft will become an increasing issue for you.
As far as I am concerned people making money off of your content without your permission, or the correct attribution to the original source, are menaces to web publishers everywhere. It’s your content, you spent the time or you paid good money for a professional to craft the perfect article for your site.
The Two Types of Content Thief
The first type of content thief is the good old fashioned copy and paste chancer. They are the person who can’t think of anything original to write on their blog so will just copy and paste a big section of text from your blog; or they might just take the whole article and try to pass it off as their own with a few minor edits and a few spins through an article spinner.
The second type of content thief is the scraper. They steal the content from your RSS feed or use an automated system to steal the content from your site and republish it on their site after covering it in links to their other sites, affiliate offers or Adsense. The best way to stop this is to disable right click on your site.
Contacting the Content Thief
It’s important to remember that some bloggers may have been duped into publishing an article as it was a guest post from another individual and they didn’t realise it was copied from another website.
The best thing to do in this situation is remain calm and speak to the blogger about either removing the offending material or asking that they link to you as the original source of the content. This is entirely up to you but I always try to be amicable and come to an agreement that suits everyone before taking any legal action.
When you do email the content thief make sure that you include a deadline date and a list of edits that you require. If they don’t respond to your requests then it is time to take further action.
Contact their Web Hosting Provider
The vast majority of websites are hosted by US hosting providers. This means that you can raise an issue under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and request to have the infringing stolen material removed by them. To find out the web hosting providers of any site simply visit whoishostingthis.com and add the domain name into the search box.
Within seconds you will have the name of the Hosting provider and you can begin your DMCA request. If you don’t have any experience drafting a DMCA letter there is a good template here.
Even though the DMCA is specifically a US law; similar laws have been passed in the UK, EU, Australia and New Zealand. Therefore you can contact a web host in a lot of countries to register a complaint about a content thief. Scraping is against the terms and conditions of many web hosting providers so don’t be afraid to raise the issue with them.
Contact the Search Engines
If for any reason the webmaster and web host fail to comply with your request then you can file a DMCA notice with the search engines Bing and Google for the content to be removed from their search index, which will in turn reduce the traffic to the web pages containing the stolen content.
If you are feeling a little devious then you could do what the team at DailySEOTip do when someone hotlinks to their images and serve an alternative image highlighting the fact the post is stolen.