caine - 12:37 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: caine at 4:42 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2010]
Understanding where your rights on all matters of content being copied is paramount to the success or more so the continued success of your site. Whether you are a professional, semi-pro or a budding amateur, you owe it to yourself to get wise on content theft, as its becoming more common every year.
Recently one of WebmasterWorld members started a thread about massive content theft from his site, by the 'instructional solutions' site e-How. I've pulled together a small collection of threads from years gone containing valuable and instructional means of dealing with content theft.
Rogerd, one of our fearless moderators started and wrote a seminal thread; Scraped or Stolen Content: What To Do First [webmasterworld.com] which gets to grips with content theft. In 2005 digitalghost updates upon Rogerd's original material; What To Do If Your Copyright Is Infringed [webmasterworld.com]. Further, uhwebs debates with other members, the Best Ways to Prevent Plagiarism [webmasterworld.com]
This is a qoute from e-How on how to deal with content theft, which made me laugh as its commonly assumed that a lot of their information is not original content, but scraped or copied from many sites throughout the web.
#Step 1 - Prepare for the possibility of theft by making digital and printed copies of your content and design. Mail yourself the hard copies and leave the envelope unopened. This gives you a clear proof of the conception date of your work.
#Step 2 - Document content theft by printing out the offending website and making a digital copy. Clearly define the areas of theft and place everything in a folder.
#Step 3 - Contact the offending site's webmaster by searching the website for an email address. Look for contact information in the "About Us" or "Contact Us" areas of the website. Domain registration information is also available using a Whois tool.
#Step 4 - Send the owner a request to remove the stolen content from the website and state a clear deadline for compliance. Monitor the site to verify the content is removed and continue to check to ensure the content doesn't return.
#Step 5 - Hire an attorney if you do not get a reply or content isn't removed. Give the attorney the supporting documentation and copyright information. Include copies of emails or letters sent along with dates.
#Step 6 - Take them to court if they are unwilling to remove the content. Copyright laws protect your content, images and design and are easily enforceable when well documented. Few cases reach court, as compliance is usually swift once the threat of legal action enters the dispute.
I've been a victim in the past of content theft, with my hand forced after phoning the site owner. Filed a DMCA which resolved all theft issues. However recently I've found another of my sites has been copied by Indian, French and Italian firms. I find being copied, a real vote for the authority of the site, but we all know it will damage the uniqueness and SERPs the site enjoys. The saga continues....
Lastly courtesy of another of digitalghosts great contributions is a collection of 10 threads dealing with many Copyright Issues [webmasterworld.com].
[edited by: caine at 4:42 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2010]