SOLVED: What To Do If Someone Is Stealing The Content From Your Website

digital-pirate-skullRecently we ran into a situation in which a scumbag was copying our content.  This has happened in the past with graphics and little bit of text but never a dozen or more full pages so we had to act.

If someone is stealing the content from your website, this are the steps you need to take:

  1. Go to the offending site, find the contact information and forcefully request the content be removed. If there is no contact information, post comments on the offending site demanding the removal of content
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  2. Determine who owns the site by using a WhoIs Service like WhoIs.com  or  Godaddy.com/whois and then contact the webmaster, again with a demand to have the content removed
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  3. Determine who hosts the site by doing a WhoIs on the DNS provider and then contact that company letting them know what is going on.  They likely will not shut it down but the better ones will contact the thief to let him know that this has been reported, and they do not like it.  Such behavior often breaches the terms of use that hosting companies have.
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    If these three steps do not work you can get serious:
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  4. Report the issue to Google and Bing/Yahoo using their copy-write infringement “Digital Millennium Copy-write Act” forms:
    1. google.com/webmasters/tools/legal-removal-dashboard?hl=en&pid=0&complaint_type=1
    2. bing.com/webmaster/tools/contentremovalform 
      A DMCA request is a big deal and while the person that is stealing your content may not take it down, they also will not get any hits because Google and Bing/Yahoo will de-page rank them

Beyond that there are a few less friendly tactics that work:

  1. In one case a few years ago, we had a particularly unpleasant thief stealing content from one of our sister sites and so we spent about 30 minutes online, found out where he lived, emailed him a Google Map of his house and “called a friend” to make a little visit.  In that particular case, our friend had to do a little bit more than ask.  After a couple of car tires were… let us say… deflated… the next day the content was taken down.  Today, I would not bother with sending the person the map… I would just call a friend.
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  2. A friend of mine, hooked up with someone on Fiverr.com to disrupt the offending site until the content was taken down.  It cost him a total of $38 over a three week period before the thief caved in.
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  3. Another friend of mine pointed out that “Lizard Squad” will overload a site, effectively shutting it down for a few hundred dollars.  This Digital Trends story explains the bot net they use.

 

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Comments

  1. George February 13, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I’m not sure if the first less friendly tactic is the right approach as you might get sued in return. The 3rd “normal” step seems like the smartest choice to me.

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