Stop Internet Content Theft: Do-It-Yourself Step-by-Step How-To Guide
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You work hard to prepare and pay for a website you hope will attract visitors who are interested in your particular area of expertise or service/product and are pleased when they show up -- mainly because of a favorable and unique listing on internet search engines. After a time you may notice an unexplained decrease in visits/sales and wonder why.

One distinct possibility is that important parts of your work may have been copied, without your permission or knowledge, to other sites by copy-and-paste near-illiterate (or completely nefarious) content thieves (or scrapers) -- people who ignore your copyright notice and assume just because it's on the internet it's okay to steal it. Then, in time, it may continue to spread as thieves steal from other thieves. In effect you may lose any real control of your content -- as well as a lot of your potential site visitors. This is unfair competition -- and, importantly, it is illegal.

There is a law (DMCA) against internet copyright infringement. You can read about it HERE. But in essence it indicates your copyrighted work on the internet is legally protected and you have a right to expect all violations will be removed in a timely manner after a legal DMCA complaint is presented.

You might ask: But what if they credit me by name or place a link to my site? Most won't, but would you rather have your potential visitors read your copyrighted content word-for-word -- and in context -- on your site, or allow them to read it elsewhere word-for-word while ignoring your site?

Should you be flattered they use your work because they think you are an authority and/or a good writer? No, you should be decidedly upset instead. The lazy content thief is looking to fill space -- and/or to appear smart. He/she probably never even read, much less understood, much of what was stolen. These thieves load up their computers with stolen text and troll the internet to find places to paste your content on other sites (or theirs) -- especially to question & answer / forums / boards / blogs / journals / chat and "social" sites.

For example, "answers.yahoo" is possibly the worst copyright-infringing question & answer site on the internet. Doubly troubling because they offer free 'copy-their-(or your)-content' access to ANYONE for use on their own question & answer sites. (In effect users of this service get a free "answers.yahoo" search engine for building their sites!). Many (perhaps all) of these site owners take advantage of this free service only to make money from pay-per-click ad services. -- while profiting from your hard work.

However, to their credit, Yahoo is especially prompt (and definitely should be) with handling DMCA complaints and removing offending content. (They have removed some 1,000+ infringements stolen from elbertwade.com.) Their email address for DMCA complaints: copyright@yahoo-inc.com. Add to the list of massive copyright violators many users of tumblr.com (now owned by yahoo) -- DMCA at: abuse@tumblr.com. Tumblr official form to file a copyright violation claim: https://www.tumblr.com/dmca -- which is very frustrating to use.

Note: When you get your stolen content removed from answers.yahoo, which means no additional sites can access and copy it, you may still have to send a DMCA notice to individual offending site(s) to get your content removed. Your stolen data is stored instantly and permanently on any site's server as soon as someone asks a question that closely matches your original stolen content on answers.yahoo. Site owners are likely to complain and blame yahoo but that's not a valid nor legal excuse for continuing to break copyright laws after being formally notified.

IMPORTANT: Be certain to add a copyright notice (Copyright -- year -- your own or company name) to EACH original-content page (preferably at top) or bottom of the page. [With HTML -- simply use "©" (without the quotes) where you want the copyright symbol, to appear. Example: Copyright © 2014 (or a range of years -- 1999 - 2014) then your or a company or site name.]

Warning: Make copyright infringement DMCA claims ONLY for your original work(s). There could be expensive legal consequences for false or fraudulent claims.

STEP ONE: Find out if your work has been stolen and if so where it is duplicated. Simply do a Google search.

Don't be surprised to find (on major search engines) your stolen content showing up on a link or links just below (or above) your page link. Searchers could think you are the plagiarizer (content thief) and visit other sites instead because they have no way of knowing which is the original or a copy.

Start by accessing one of your original content pages online. First highlight the article title (if it is not purely generic), right-click on it, then on the pop-up click "Search with Google." If probable duplicates show up, click the Google link to go to the site page. If you find you've actually been copied open Notepad (or other) to copy and paste the URL; then copy string samples of beginning and ending duplicated text (see example in white background below) [or entire content -- especially if it is lengthly] under the copied offending URL. While on the site look for contact information. If you find an email address copy it. If there is a Contact Form, go there and add its URL to the information already copied. (DO NOT use the form yet!)

Repeat the process by highlighting and searching several of your own "meaty" text statements (indivdual blocks of about 50-words each) on the same page. (Avoid using text containing any quotes ( " " or ' ' ). They won't work on Google -- perhaps other search engines as well.) [NOTE: If you get very limited results, click on "repeat the search with omitted results included" -- IF option is displayed at bottom of the search page.]

Then do the same with other of your important original pages. Accumulate as much data (evidence) as possible before taking the next step.

STEP TWO: Before using any found Contact Form, pre-prepare a formal and legal DMCA complaint using the examples below. After preparation, go to the Contact Form link, then copy and paste the complaint (without additional comment) into the form and then submit. (Hopefully the form will actually work -- or not have an "impossible-to-guess" password.)
--------------------------------------
[An example of a DMCA claim submission to copy, edit and use is displayed in white background below.]

[To] xxxxx@offendingsite.com (Not necessary with Forms; use only on email DMCA complaints)

[Subject] DMCA Cease & Desist [Take-Down] Request

Good Day,

This message serves as legal notice that *[xxxxx.com]* is using/allowing the use of a copyrighted work owned by me without permission. This message meets ALL requirements for compliance with a DMCA Cease & Desist request.

My signature (below) serves as my legal electronic signature.

*** The information in this notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I, [Your Name], attest that I am owner of the rights for the work listed below. ***

*** I assert that I, in good faith, believe the use of the named content in question is unauthorized. ***

The work being used is copied (directly or indirectly) from: "[Title of Your Article/Work]"

Author and Copyright Owner: [Your Name]

Violation: [Paste (or type) complete URL of copyright infringement location.]

Original: [Paste (or type) complete URL of your original copyrighted article/work]

[START] [Paste (or Type) the stolen text/work] [END]

[OPTIONAL: But worth considering. It's unlikely the person who acts on your take-down request is directly responsible for the infringement -- especially with larger sites such as answers.yahoo, tumblr, etc. It is just additional work for them. To make their job a bit easier consider including beneath the copy of the violating content a copy (pasted from your page) of the original content. Add BELOW the infringing content in this manner:

(Original content)
[Paste all original/copied content here]
(End original content)]

You may reach me at [(Area Code) 567-1234] or at [xxxxx@myemailaddress.com] if you have questions regarding this complaint. Thank you.

My mailing address is:
[Your Name
Street(or Post Office) Address
City, State, Zip Code]

I do not authorize the use, publication, performance or redisplay of my works without explicit permission. I have NOT shared usage rights for any of my articles or other site content for use on *[xxxxx.com]* or any other website(s) owned or operated by [xxxxx.com].

As no rights have been given, this is a clear violation of my copyright.

I appreciate your prompt response and action on this matter. Thank you.

Signature
[Your Name (typed)]

     ACTUAL SAMPLE (BELOW) -- COPY AND EDIT TO SUIT YOUR COPYRIGHT CLAIM -- RE-EDIT & RE-USE

copyright@yahoo-inc.com

DMCA Cease & Desist [Take-Down] Request

Good Day,

This message serves as legal notice that *answers.yahoo.com* is using/allowing the use of a copyrighted work owned by me without permission. This message meets ALL requirements for compliance with a DMCA Cease & Desist request.

My signature (below) serves as my legal electronic signature.

*** The information in this notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I, Elbert Wade, assert I am owner of the rights for the work listed below. ***

*** I assert that I, in good faith, believe the use of the named content in question is unauthorized. ***

The work being used is copied (directly or indirectly) from: "All 12 Signs Rising: Which Is Your Ascendant"

Author and Copyright Owner: Elbert Wade

Violation: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080429045313AAsXlbG

Original: http://www.elbertwade.com/page60.html

[START] CANCER ASCENDING: Cancer, whose ruler is the Moon, relates to the stomach -- the holder and collector of that which sustains life (a point and source of pleasure and comfort). Emotions and inner feelings play a major role in this ascendant's mode of living. ..........

.......... The arms may have a crab-like motion; legs tend to be short and stocky. Feet and hands may be small and delicate. There may be a noticeable undulating gait to the walk. The face is usually round, Moon-shaped, and the profile may be inwardly curved as the Moon appears when not full. [END]

You may reach me at (111) 222-3333 or at ewade@myemail.com if you have questions regarding this complaint. My mailing address is:

Elbert Wade, PMAFA
Street Address [Not displayed in this example]
City, State Zip [Not displayed in this example]

I do not authorize the use, publication, performance or redisplay of my works without explicit permission. I have NOT shared usage rights for any of my articles or other site content for use on *answers.yahoo.com* or any other website(s) blogs/forums/etc. owned or operated by answers.yahoo.com.

As no rights have been given, this is a clear violation of my copyright.

I appreciate your prompt response and action on this matter. Thank you.

[signature]

Elbert Wade

STEP THREE: What if there is no contact information on the site -- or your sent Contact Form complaint is ignored? Then you must find the site's HOST. Hosts generally do not tolerate copyright infringement by their subscribers because this might suggest they do not support DMCA law. Most will contact the subscriber and direct them to remove the content -- or else. If the subscriber does not comply promptly, the host might remove it.

Find the site host by going HERE ( http://website.informer.com ) [NOTE: This is possibly the BEST site for finding everything about any website. Should any site not be in their database they will add it promptly so you can find what you need. Explore the IP Whois section to find the correct email address to send a DMCA take-down (copyright-infringement) request to the site's host.] Type or paste in the offending site's domain name: xxxxxxxxx.com (or) .net (or) .org, etc.) then click "Search." (Alternately you might use this link: http://whois.domaintools.com/add-the-domain-address-here.)

When you succeed with the delivery of your DMCA complaint you should expect action (deletion or deactivation) within one to seven days.

Some, especially site hosts, will have the courtesy to notify you of removals by email -- but check to verify by clicking the link in the email. Most others will not. Therefore you should save all sent emails and everything else until you confirm stolen content has actually been removed. Only then you can safely delete one by one the accumulated data. Try waiting a few days before checking and/or taking further action but don't give up or be satisfied with non-compliance as required by DMCA law.

What do you do if content has not been removed as requested after a reasonable wait? Consider Step Four.

STEP FOUR: If it is a Google Ad Services TOS copyright violation issue (the site displays ads by Google), go to:

http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_dmca&product=adsense

Fill out the form (it's easy). Requires: (1) Your name, (2) Your email, (3) Exact URL of offending content, (4) URL of your original content, (5) ' Describe' - copy and paste full stolen content -- no matter how long or short, (6) Checking 2 required DMCA confirmations, (7) Current Date (8) Your electronic (typed) signature. Make certain everything is filled out and accurate, then click submit. You will receive a prompt email confirmation. Google will follow through but it may be a long while.

If it's a Google blog/blogspot (and most other such sites), look for the "Report Abuse" link (usually at top) on the offending page (copy the URL), then click the abuse link and fill out the report -- very similar to the process above.

STEP FIVE: If all else fails to this point, send a SECOND COPY of the original DMCA complaint to both the site host and the site owner [In the TO box (SITE HOST's email address) -- and -- (SITE OWNER's) email address]. Copy the original being certain to add SECOND REQUEST (upper case) in the subject line as well as at top of the body. (Some site owners think you will give up if they ignore your first complaint.)

The second complaint is easier if the first did not come back as undeliverable so the email address should work. Hopefully you have a copy in your sent folder (or elsewhere) to copy/paste and edit slightly The second one should get their undivided attention, as well as demonstrating you are serious.

If you determine the site uses Google ad services (most do) you could use this approach. Use as a "last" resort.


Subject: Continuing DMCA violation(s) related to (copy and paste complete infringing URL or URL(s))

NOTE: This request was first sent (copy and paste day, date, month, year, time from the email header of the first DMCA request) some ___ days ago. Apparently the request was received -- since it was not returned to me -- but obviously has been ignored, overlooked or lost in the shuffle.

Please delete or deactivate the DMCA-violating content (see below). My next logical option is to report this situation to Google at
-- http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_dmca&product=adsense --
to alert that this site owner is in violation of Google's web advertising TOS. Thanks for your prompt and legally-appropriate handling of this situation.

(Copy and paste entire original DMCA complaint here -- and send a copy to the site owner -- AND the site host if known.)


There are other (most are not free) ways to get satisfaction but explaining them is beyond the scope of this article. If you use the steps described here it is very probable you will get the results you deserve. But you must persist to assure success -- don't ever "drop the ball." GOOD LUCK. Help with the battle to stop GRAND THEFT: CONTENT.

Disclaimer: Elbert Wade is not an attorney nor a copyright expert and assumes no responsibility for total accuracy of information given on this page -- nor possible results or problems resulting from use of this guide. This free information is based solely on actual experiences dealing successfully with over 1,700 copyright infringement issues related to his website -- Elbert Wade Com.

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