Jan 28


What do you do if original content from your website or blog is stolen and republished in full on another site?  You fight back!

A splog or “spam blog” is a blog that steals content from other web sites, then aggregates and republishes the content on its own blog.  Splogs are created primarily to make money from ads shown on the splog and/or promote affiliated web sites.  Splog owners are too dishonest, lazy or stupid to create their own original content and instead thieve yours.

Splogs are harmful because they effectively steal a portion of your blog’s search engine ranking, traffic and ad revenue.

Fight the Good Fight

Recently a popular article on DevTopics was stolen and republished by at least three splogs.  By following the steps below, fortunately I was able to convince all three splogs to remove my copyrighted article, and one site has since gone offline.  If you are interested to see what a splog looks like, the two remaining splogs are: googit.blogspot.com -and- 2daytrends.blogspot.com.  At least Googit includes a link back to the original article, whereas 2DayTrends typically removes all author and source information.  Lame!

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.  When someone steals your original content, the best recourse is to file a DMCA complaint.

Cease & Desist Message

If you discover a website has republished your original content without permission, the first step is to ask the splog to remove your content from its site.  The best way to do this is to post a comment under your article on the splog for all its readers to see.  You can use the following text as a guide:

This is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

This article is an unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material originally found at:
[http://www.devtopics.com/...]

Please remove this article immediately or we will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office, FeedBurner and Google, Inc.  Google’s response may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers.

Thank you,
[My Name]

DMCA Complaint

If a splogger refuses to remove your copyrighted content, the next step is to file official DMCA complaints.  The most effective attack is to hit the splog where it hurts: in the pocketbook.  If you can alert the splog’s advertisers, typically they will suspend the splog’s account and cut off its revenue stream.



Ideally you should file a DMCA complaint with each of the splog’s advertisers, its web host, feed service, the U.S. Copyright office, and of course the splog itself, if you are lucky enough to find contact information.  Lorelle has an excellent article that describes this process in detail.

The letter below serves as a template for your DMCA complaint.  Note that you must include at least the information listed below, with numbered paragraphs, and items #4 and 5 MUST be included exactly as written.  Usually you have to send these complaints via regular mail or fax, not by email.

Date: [January 28, 2008]

[Google, Inc.
Attn: AdSense Support, DMCA complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View CA 94043]

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  I wish to report an instance of Copyright Infringement.  The infringing material appears on the Service for which you are the designated agent.

1.  The copyrighted material, which I contend belongs to me and appears illegally on the Service, is the following:
Blog article titled “[My Original Article]” written by [My Name], posted on [January 11, 2008] at [http://www.devtopics.com/...]

2.  The unauthorized material appears at the website address:
[http://www.splog.com/...]

This site appears in Google search results for “[Search Terms]” as well as other search terms.

3.  My contact information is as follows:

[My Name]
[My Address]
[My Phone]
[My Email]

4.  I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials as described above is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

5.  I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

[Your Signature]

[Your Name Printed]

Prevention

There are a few things you can do to help protect your blog from content theft:

  • Post copyright notices prominently on your Web site.  Consider adding a copyright notice to each blog post and RSS feed as well.
  • In your blog posts, include plenty of links to related articles elsewhere in your blog.  However, some new splog software will automatically strip links.
  • Do not include entire articles in RSS feeds.  Instead, use the “More” tag.
  • Use an automated tool such as Copyscape to search for sites stealing your content.
  • Insert a “watermark” code or series of keywords into your blog posts, then use a service like Google Alerts to notify you when those keywords appear elsewhere on the Web.

Links

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Article published on January 28, 2008




49 Responses to “How to File a DMCA Complaint”

  1. Javier Romero Says:

    that’s really interesting… nice to know how to do all things by the right, really right way!

  2. Wp Wordpress » Blog Archive » Fight Website Content Theft by Filing a DMCA Complaint Says:

    [...] Obviously this was not going anywhere, so I responded and asked again, but I also began researching because there has to be more we can do to protect ourselves from content theft.   That is when I ran across some posts explaining How to File a DMCA Complaint. [...]

  3. William PEarson Says:

    Great info re: shutting down splogs! Thanks!

    What steps can I take against a foreign site copying my articles (and not even giving the author name!).

  4. Blog Copyright Links » Another Blogger Says:

    [...] How to file a DMCA complaint [...]

  5. D2grand Says:

    With Google the above works , but how about Yahoo MSN search etc? Do you have to file with every search engine? Ideally this would be the way to go, as some websites you can not take off easily and by the time you do a legal action against a host in say some islands, you loose tons of traffic to content hijackers

  6. Dave Doolin Says:

    I had my first experience with blatant infringement this morning.

    It’s discouraging when the spammer nails #1 spot on Google search results, and your blog doesn’t even make the top 10 search result pages.

    That’s taking food out of my mouth.

  7. AssetNext Says:

    Client is selected my logo and I have sent final format.. He can’t transfer my payment but he used my design on his website.. So please tell him to transfer my payment or otherwise you are released my logo on 99design because I want to use my design any where

  8. Albert A Rasch Says:

    I’ve been hounding this splogger Mark Osterholt through the web. The Mark Osterholt Files has tons of information on this lowlife, as does markosterholt.com Thanks for the detailed instructions on the DMCA!

    Albert

  9. my server is hacked - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] You can report them to the FBI but your best best bet to get them down quickly will be to file a DMCA. If they have any of your customers' information, there will be a lot more involved as your [...]

  10. nanra Says:

    well this is helpful, but how can i protect myself when i dont have the money to fight to the end

  11. Somebody is selling my ebook on their site - Black Hat Forum Says:

    [...] Somebody is selling my ebook on their site This guide on How to File a DMCA Complaint should help. [...]

  12. Chandan Says:

    Thanks a lot for this helpful articles. Recently I experienced the same problem. The splog has copied my three blog post and even complete blog formatting. Usually I keep links to my related blog post and this way I came to know. I warned him now.

    Thanks again

  13. Lassar Says:

    I have read that sometimes; when you get one scraper taken care of; another takes it place.

    How do you prevent this ?

  14. David McHenry - DMCA Expert Says:

    @Lassar, there really isn’t anything you can do, it’s sort of the nature of the beast. Every time you get one removed, you have 2-3 more doing the same thing, it’s a never ending battle to protect your Intellectual Property.

    @Chandon, I wouldn’t have warned him, you should have skipped the small talk and just went straight to the complaint.

    In case anyone ever has a frivilous DMCA complaint filed against them, you can also Fight a DMCA Complaint Legally.

  15. Protect Your B2B Brand from TypoSquatting / Cybersquatting | B2B Internet Marketing Agency, B2B Search Engine Optimization, PPC, Integrated Internet Marketing System Says:

    [...] google with your brand name in quotes, and ensure mentions are being used properly. You can always file a DCMA for unauthorized use of your brand. This also works for stolen website [...]

  16. Help! Someone is Stealing My Content, What Can I Do? | DazzlinDonna Says:

    [...] How to File a DMCA Complaint Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Google) [...]

  17. •••••> SEO - Web Search Engine Optimization - Search Engineering Marketing. Search engineering, Search engine marketing- GetMeOnTop, Wall Street NYC 10005 Says:

    [...] How to File a DMCA Complaint Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Google) [...]

  18. Help! Someone is Stealing My Content, What Can I Do? | Red Button Reviews Says:

    [...] How to File a DMCA Complaint Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Google) [...]

  19. Help! Someone is Stealing My Content, What Can I Do? « The Biz Insider News Says:

    [...] How to File a DMCA Complaint Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Google) [...]

  20. design website for mobile Says:

    Hi, would you please be so kind to show me how to add your rss feed to my feed reader, that would really help a lot, as i want to follow your blog, thanks so much. I like the way you think. Give me some more.

  21. Resources on Blog Copyright and Content Theft | GeneaBloggers Says:

    [...] How To File A DMCA Complaint (via DevTopics) [...]

  22. Green Says:

    It just burns me up that people use other peoples content without permission. They need to be strung up by their toenails.

  23. Tony Says:

    In the forums people can post any image or videos they can and what about owners of the sites

    with this law we can take action against website withour asking remove the photos or needed to requst first (Officially)

    (i have forum and i realy need to know that)

  24. Earn Money Online Free Says:

    Thanks for the info! That’s why people should not post other people’s work without their permission!

  25. PeteMax Says:

    Great article and thanks for spelling things out so clearly. I found one of my best performing Ezine articles on another article site and sent their abuse section an email. In my email I sent them a link to my original article and a link to the spammer. The next day they removed all of his articles, sent me a note apologizing and banned his IP – nice!

    I checked even further and found that a “Law firm” blog site had taken only the first paragraph of this same article (as well as hundreds more) and gave no notice who the article belonged to – simply that it came from Ezine. Couldn’t believe a law firm would plagiarize like this –

    Anyhow – spend a little time checking every once in a while and protect your work. You can simply copy the first couple of sentences of your article and search for them – you would be amazed how many sites might be using your work.
    Kudos on this article – tons of good info – I didn’t even know about the adsense C&D!

  26. Plagiarism is a bitc... - Niche Choppers VIP Earners Club Says:

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  27. Earning Money Online Says:

    This is exactly what I needed. I keep finding content from my website on other people’s sites. I also keep finding a bunch of my articles I’ve submitted to article databases on people’s sites without my links. It’s frustrating to say the least.

  28. birdy Says:

    A user on blogger sphere copied my 133 posts (text+images) to his 9 different blogs. I prepared my case to file with DMCA, but confused whether I should file the case collective for all 9 blogs or individually for each blog. Any help will be appreciated.

  29. justcantwin Says:

    I know this blog and post are old but maybe this will help some one.

    I just filed a copyright complaint on godaddy.com. The website had robbed several of my original works, videos and photos. They were all identified as mine with my name clearly on them. I filed the complaint and godaddy took the pages down.

    Now the owner of the site files a counter complaint and simply says everything is his and does not infringe on anyone. Godaddy sends me an e-mail saying unless they receive a court order the site will be restored.

    That it, they will not do a thing, one must file in federal court as it is the only way to deal with copyrights.

    Several years ago I had the same thing with youtube. The persons being infringed upon haven’t a chance to do anything with host who provide websites. Their legal statement is really a disclaimer of sorts and does nothing.

    In both cases for me the violator basically said screw you.

  30. Ramz | Best Exercise to lose fat Says:

    Great Article about DMCA Policy.

    Every Website Owner / Web Master must know about DMCA Complaint policy and duplicate content penalty.

    Thanks for the great article about DMCA Policy.

  31. 5 Ways to Secure Your Wordpress Blog Says:

    [...] blog content. If any one has copied your hard worked from your blog then open a DMCA complaint. [How to File DMCA complaint]2. WordPress Exploit ScannerA very useful and popular wordpress scanner that will help you to scan [...]

  32. Mischelle Watkins Says:

    Excellent post! Thank you for the info! This happened to me within 3 hours of an article I published on Ezine – yesterday. I am following ALL of your advice and went ahead and filed a dmca complaint. They were so lazy they only made a minor spin on my article an left the title alone. I could NOT be more disgusted! Your article is fabulous – Great job and Thank you!
    My article is on Ezine and shows as “Moved” It is here if you are curious to see – http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Best-Speech-Recognition-Software—What-To-Look-For-In-Choosing-Voice-Recognition-Software&id=6001600

    Thank you again – You are a wonderful human being to share this information the way you have! I am grateful to you!

    Kind regards,

    Mischelle Watkins

  33. Joseibi.com » Blog Archive » Cosmeticplatform.com copied my entire review without permission **UPDATE Says:

    [...] copyright law. For how to file a DMCA complaint, including sample cease and desist messages, go to http://www.devtopics.com/how-to-file-a-dmca-complaint/. It’s an excellent resource and no doubt will come in handy for many of us! [...]

  34. nike free 5.0 Says:

    Hi nice post, i read your blog from time to time but i was wondering something. I also run a blog on a similar topic, but i get 1,000’s of spam comments and emails every day does that happen to you.. Any ideas to stop it? I currently have commenting disabled but i want to turn it back on.. Thanks!

  35. Real Money Making Says:

    Great post about copyright laws – Thanks 4 sharing

  36. wow leveling guide Says:

    Recently I experienced the same problem. The blog world is changing to worst.

  37. gameplug Says:

    I encountered the same thing with my blog, someone was syndicating my feeds to republish it as his own. I reported him and got his site taken down.

    Thanks.

  38. Mark Bell Says:

    Recently discovered a blogger ripping off our content from India. The site was hosted in the UK and still waiting to see if they will comply with the infringement. Google has some great text and instruction you can use to notify perpetrators. Here it is:

    This is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    This article is an unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material originally found at:
    [http://url]

    Please remove this article immediately or we will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office, FeedBurner and Google, Inc. Google’s response may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers.

    Thank you,
    [your name]

  39. What To Do With Content Thieves? | Aff ABC Says:

    [...] your stolen content though. You can always send a take-down notice to see if the thieves blink. Filing a DMCA complaint is the next step in the process though it could be time consuming at [...]

  40. Hilary Moore Says:

    My ex partner has set up a website and linked it (via google search) to my names and our childrens names. He has posted under ‘rants’ his version of recordings taken 10 yrs ago, which were without my knowledge and are edited to contain gunshots and children crying, they are not a true account of anything that happened 10 yrs ago. He is threatening and has posted more doctored rants and Dan O’Moore and Andrew Pucci have developed this site to intimidate me, and the children will be bullied at school if they read the highly inappropriate and abusive content of this site, that is linked to their names. Two of my three children have a diagnosis or Asperger syndrome and I strongly suspect that their brilliant by abnormal father also has this disability. What can I do to rectify this situation and get our names off this site?

  41. my review Says:

    how to do complaint in dmca??

  42. above the matrix Says:

    recently i have face the same problem. bt how to complaint about it??

  43. Lisa Marie Holte Says:

    Hello I need your HELP! I found out that my content was stolen without consent! There are 2 photos on this website at http://thedirty.com/2011/06/lisa-marie-scary/comment-page-1/#comment-3276539
    1 belongs to a photographer and another belongs to me (I am also a Photographer)

    I am trying to contact DMCA to get them to help me take the entire content down! This guy who runs this website contacted me and said they are 3 weeks behind on request for removal but that my request was noted. But I want it down immediately! Please HELP! Lisamarieholte@yahoo.com

  44. timm Says:

    @Lisa: I’ve found this short but sweet notice to be nearly 100% effective:

    This is a Notice of Infringement as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This article is an unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material originally found at [XXXXXXXX]. Please remove this article immediately or we will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office and Google Inc., which may disable search access to your website and/or terminate your advertising account. Thank you.

  45. patel Says:

    very nice point you have taken.. because i have faced same problem..
    thanks for sharing

  46. Copied website problem Says:

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  47. How to Stop Vultures from Stealing Your Landing Pages Says:

    [...] are ineffectual or impossible, it’s time to turn up the heat. You can file complaints under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) with any ad networks that run on the site. You may also be able to have a lawyer send [...]

  48. Protect Your B2B Brand from TypoSquatting / Cybersquatting | B2B Internet Marketing Says:

    [...] google with your brand name in quotes, and ensure mentions are being used properly. You can always file a DCMA for unauthorized use of your brand. This also works for stolen website [...]

  49. Protect Your B2B Brand from TypoSquatting / Cybersquatting - WSI B2B Marketing Says:

    […] google with your brand name in quotes, and ensure mentions are being used properly. You can always file a DCMA for unauthorized use of your brand. This also works for stolen website […]

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