Content theft is becoming a huge issue especially with the ease of accessing data via the web. There are several reasons why someone would steal your Blog’s content instead of linking to it and giving you credit and with RSS feeds providing a full extract of your content, it’s easy to do.
If you’re a Blogger user and you’ve come across another Blogger site that completely ripped off your content, then there’s a couple ways to have them remove your work. The first and easiest way is to contact the site’s owner directly and notify them of the copyright infringement. Usually you can find a “Contact Me” page or email address on their site.
If there’s no contact information on their page, you’ll have to look up the domain owner directly and grab an email address by doing a Whois lookup. After you enter the domain name, scroll down and look for “Administrative Contact” where you’ll find an email address.
After you email them you just wait for a reply. Usually they respond and apologize for stealing your content and remove it but in the case where they don’t, you can then escalate it one step higher. I usually include this message in my first email to the site owner — something to the effect of “If you don’t remove my content I will report you to Google directly”. I don’t like threatening people but hey, they stole the content that you spent lots of time and energy on right?
Escalating means going to the big daddy himself, Google. Fortunately they provide a page with clear instructions on how to report the content theft. If you read their page on the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act” and sift through all the legal jargon, you’ll eventually come to seven steps explaining the process. The bad news is you have to mail in a letter describing the issue at hand. Now of all people, why does Google require you to snail mail in a complaint? You would think email would be a better solution right? My guess is their lawyers require a hard copy submitted by mail (attorneys love paper). I also bet it’s on purpose because it discourages people from flooding their inbox with “someone stole my content” emails.
So if you’re serious about content theft and would like it removed, it’s best to start with an email to the site owner and work down from there. 9 times out of 10, that will solve the problem but in that rare 1 in 10 times, you will have to go the paper route directly with Google. I’ve never had to take my complaint that far before so I really can’t tell you how long it takes. From what I’ve read online, it works (assuming your content is the original) but it’s probably not worth doing unless your content is that important to you.
Do you have any stories of stolen content or duplicate Blogger sites? Share them below as I’d be interested in seeing what you’ve got.
If you’re not sure if someone has stolen your content, there’s a cool website called Copyscape that can check for you. It’s a free tool which searches for copies of your pages on the web and reports them back to you in real time.
There’s also a good article by Lorelle about Content Theft and WordPress on her blog if you’re a WordPress user.