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Other website using my content

How can I stop them?

9:48 pm on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Many years ago I had my website about birding hosted for free by a hosting company. Their URL made visitors thinking they were about birding, but they were just a hosting company. So, they had linked to my website, then on Earthlink, to offer their visitors some birding info. I found out about their links and asked them to remove them, but they offered to host my site for free instead. Which I agreed to do.

As time went by, I ended up spending more time on a different hobby, and my birding site just sat there. When I decided to remove it, the hosting company would not let me access the site and now they are using it to get Google ad revenue.

I asked them to take my content and images off their servers. They said they would, but they have not. They have been very sneaky and elusive about this whole thing.

Is there a way for me to stop them? All my birding info now resides on a different hosting company. I don't want the duplicate content to be an issue, so I really need to have them remove my stuff from their servers.

Any suggestions?

12:14 am on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The hosting company showing ads around a free hosted web-site is quite normal. Thats why it is free.

"Hosting company would not let me access".. What reasoning did they give? Normally, your hosting account, whether free or not, would point to the hosting area so you can access it. Do you still have that account there? Do you still own that domain, or did you let it lapse, or did you transfer the domain to the new hoster?

No matter what, if the content and images is yours, you still own copyright to that content. Not the hosting company. As long as you can prove that you put it there and developed it, telling them that they will be the subject of a DMCA complaint with Google should be enough. A DMCA will stop them from showing ads and make them disappear from Google Search, making it worthless to them.

Problem is that you say 'years'. You will have to make sure you can prove that it is your content, and that your new site is not actually the duplicate using stolen content. Easy for someone to suspect, since your new site would be newer than the original when Google compare their indexing time-stamps as they normally do.

If the images are your own, maybe you have the original high-resolution pictures for the lower resolution ones they are likely showing on the web? That indicates ownership.
Or if the pictures still have camera info (EXIF data) in them, that would match your camera?

All stuff that might help you prove that the content is actually yours. Would indicate that the images they display are "stolen". All arguments to use in the DMCA request.

Another indication for the DMCA complaint is the domain name, if the one they are using was yours originally. Makes it more likely that you were involved, if you can show you owned the original domain.

First step would be to use that argumentation with the hosting company directly. Since a real hosting company is not normally in the business of content theft, I don't really see why they would fight too much to keep it going.

If they do not take it down voluntarily, then DMCA with Google, making both the content and the site worthless to them. But you need to have gathered your proof first. Otherwise Google's timestamps might shutter the DMCA complaint for such a special case.

Normally the "copy" is a newer site. In your case, you would be claiming your new site is actually the "original". :)
1:00 am on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Investigate using DMCA to have the site taken down.
8:09 pm on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It is very old. I used PageMill to create the original site and uploaded it to my space on Earthlink. 2002? The host set up space for me on their servers and it was their URL. I didn't know what a URL was back then, either. I was experimenting with web design and used my birding hobby to create the pages. All the info on each bird I wrote myself using my extensive library of birding books. I did not plagiarize. I just rewrote what I read. But how many different ways are their to say the clutch had 4 blue eggs, etc.

So, the site name is theirs. But the content is mine, including the images. I did the bird titles as art using PhotoShop.

I've contacted this host several times about the issue over the years and they were always very pleasant and assured me they would remove my content. But it was never erased from the server. They just took off the link from their home page to my pages. Still the web bots could find the pages and the Google ads were always there. I think they knew I was ignorant about all these things back then and would not realize they were simply using my content to get ad revenue from Google.

I have a backup disc with all my files with date stamps back to 2002 and other dates when I would edit the files, so it shows 2003, 2004, 2005, etc. Some of the images I used were actual paintings I did of the birds so I still have the original artwork.

I did try emailing the old host yesterday but so far no reply. I have no problem with them having a birding site. I just have a problem with them using my content.

Do you think I have a case?

11:30 am on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I got some information her.as i don't know much..thanks for this post.
1:40 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Good news, I think. It appears the old host has suspended the account that had my content on it. Hopefully it won't reappear in the future, but for now the links all say "This account has been suspended." I did not contact Google or use a DMCA; it appears my email to the old host did the trick.