TopRank Online Marketing
Lee Odden

Content Thieves

By Lee Odden     Online Marketing

I had the interesting experience of running across yet another site stealing content from my company web site recently. However, what made this different was that they were not resolved to take bits and pieces, they took most of it and are linking to a copy of my company web site from the footer of their web pages using my company name of all things.

Pretty bold. I poked around to find the hosting company, registrar and site owner info and sent out an email advising to remove our content and what would happen if they did not. The site owner’s reply via email and by phone was basically, “bring it on”. They actually claim that citing my company name in the pages hosted on their domain name means it’s not a copyright violation and that they look forward to future correspondence from me and my attorney. LOL

I debate whether to spend the time as this person has enough time on their hands that they are blatantly defaming what appears to be a previous client on their home page.

Normally, I just send an email and forget about it, but this situation was particularly annoying. While researching the topic I found the following resources to be of interest.

Many of the sites practicing such thievery are also engaged in search spam, so here are the links for reporting such muck for each of the major search engines:

Google: Report a Spam Result
Yahoo: Search Spam Report
MSN: Found Spam
Ask: help@teoma.com

As far as copyright infringement and options to address, you can file a DMCA complaint with search engines to remove the affected web pages:

Google: Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notification

Yahoo: Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy

MSN: About the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Ask.com: Copyright Infringement Form (word doc)

Here’s more information for online publishers.

If you’re curious about whether or not other sites are scraping or stealing content from your site, copyscape.com offers a very useful tool to monitor such activity. Also, you may notice strange spikes in referrer information in your web site server logs.

Todd Malicoat (stuntdubl) shared this helpful resource: Chilling Effects Clearinghouse for registering cease and desist complaints and what to do about copyright violations.

I suppose I could take the time to put a better copyright page together that assigns dollar values and consequences to violations like Bruce Clay does.

A person could waste an awful lot of time chasing after every Tom, Dick and Harry that scrapes part of your content, so it should really be significant to make all the effort that might be necessary to get web content copyright violations cleared up.

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