Lee Odden

Content Thieves

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: [email protected]

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.

Tags: DMCA, copyright, scraping, search spam

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Wow Garrick, that was fast!

    Actually, the situation I’m writing about here involves static HTML pages taken from a non-blog website (www.toprankresults.com) and being copied exactly to someone else’s domain.

  2. Avatar Garrick Van Buren says

    This is definitely one of this issues with offering RSS feeds. Whether it’s a spam-blog or a feed-based directory. Anyone can take the feed, reformat it, and present it in a way that makes sense to them.

  3. Avatar Casey Weed says

    Slimey, slimey, slimey.

    Lee, I know how you feel… I’ve caught two people in the course of the last year blatantly ripping static content from my sites. In neither case did they take down what they stole.

    In the SEO world you write a lot of optimized content yourself as you’re starting out… so that really ticks you off. Then you figure out how time consuming it is and you have other people do it for you- people you pay to have it done- and *that* ticks you off even worse!

    The thieves like to kid themselves that it’s not something ‘real’ that they’re stealing, but the truth of the matter is that it’s money… just as if they’d broken into a cash register at night while the store owners were out.

    The saddest thing I’ve learned that you have to weigh carefully any possible legal action. In both my Content Theft Cases the culprits were not viable to pursue for action… both in another country and, for me, fiscally unfeasable for me to make a little legal mayhem.

    Get revenge where you can, however… I backordered both domains and now own one of them:) Best $18.95 I ever spent…

    Casey Weed- SEO Austin, Texas

  4. Let he who is without a pirated piece of software or mp3 cast the first stone.

  5. Yeah, but is that the same thing? If I rip a copy of a song, I don’t go around pawning it off as my creation to make money from it.


  1. links for 2006-06-11 says:

    […] Content Thieves