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Filing DMCA Claims- via Google or Website/Host?



10:36 pm on Jul 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've finally started to deal with the content theft that's taken place with my website. So far, everything has been going well.

It seems that you can either file a DMCA complaint with the website or its host, or you can pursue the matter via Google/Webmaster tools.

Here's my question.

What is actually accomplished by pursuing matters through Google?

Is the infringing web page totally removed from the SERP's, even if your content only made up a portion of its content?
Does establishing that you're the true source for duplicated content somehow boost your website's overall reputation in Google's eyes in any way?

Most of my organic traffic comes from Google, so filing thing through them is a big plus.
But when doing so, the content still exists on the infringing website just waiting for someone to copy it from there and use it.
So from that standpoint, it seems it would be better to file the DMCA complaint with the website or host.

I've had several examples where I stumbled across stolen content that CopyScape wasn't able to detect.
So, killing off what you've found may not really be killing all that exists.
So, once again, if you've declared to Google that you are the source for duplicate content on a specific site, is there a benefit that extends to other infringements too?

Maybe the most effective plan is to file a complaint with Google first and then later on file a DMCA complaint with the website and host?


10:59 pm on Jul 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Depending on the infringing site, I usually first file with the website. If they don't respond or don't remove the content within the time constraints I list then I file with the webhost. If they don't take care of it, then I file with Google. If either the website owner or webhost remove the content it will get removed from Google (eventually) so that's my last filing.

Sometimes I go right to the host if it's US based and the website has no contact info or private domain registration (or just looks like they won't care). If they (the website and webhost) both look shady then I'll go straight to Google and file. And as you said, that doesn't get the content removed, it just removes it from Google.

As far as it helping a site's reputation by filing, I doubt it has any weight. It isn't up to Google to determine the true ownership of the content in a legal filing like a DMCA (you could be filing a false claim after all). They just want to remove their liability from the equation. Google has said it *may* take DMCAs into account against a site if it has too many filed against it, but I don't think it works the other way (giving you a boost for filing against other sites).


11:31 pm on Jul 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Don't contact Google first. It can slow down the process while you wait to take the right steps.

@getcooking -Those are the preferred steps to take. Google does not police content ownership at the DMCA level, and should be the last step in any efforts. Hosts, especially Safe Harbor Hosts are required by law to remove content upon contact but you have a stronger case if you have made efforts to contact the owner of the site where your content appears. The big problem with getting a DMCA to stick is the Fair Use claims used by some sites to justify using (some of) your content. You can't prevent people from quoting your site, but extensive use of your unaltered content and photos is fairly easy to get removed.

I've often seen people complaining about submitting a DMCA to Google and seeing nothing happen. That's not the way it works. One site that gives advice that can be used to assist you in filing a succesful DMCA is the ChillingEffects site: [chillingeffects.org...]


2:41 am on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

OK. I understand the proper order of things. Thank you.

In the case of filing with google, what does become of the infringing URL. Is it removed from the google serps totally?


4:02 am on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Is it removed from the google serps totally?

Yes, if they honor the request it is.

As far as the order I use goes: if I know or know of the site owner, I contact them first and my request has always been honored, simply by stating something to the effect of: Hey, I see a page from [site] duplicated on yours here [URL on their site]. Would you please take it down so I don't have to file a DMCA or anything along those lines? Thanks!

If I don't know or know of the site owner, I file with everyone at once [usually copy/paste the DMCA request] and let the chips fall where they may, so I can move on with my day, because I could spend days, weeks, even possibly months waiting to hear back from any/all of the filings if I did them separately and, imo, people who steal content don't justify that amount of time/waiting-game on my part or being shown in the rankings, so I just file with everyone I can when I find content theft by those I don't have any type of "relationship" with.


5:24 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'll offer an opposing viewpoint. If you focus solely on Google, you'll soon figure out how to word the requests such that most of them get approved. They accept the requests with a simple online form. You can report multiple offending pages with different owners/hosts/etc, in a single request (if they copied the same content). They are also pretty quick with turnaround. And, to top it off, there's a higher chance that the website owner won't even know you filed it...thus a lower risk of retaliation.

In my niches, because Google has such a high percentage of the market share, having the offending page dropped from G is all that's needed.

It's a consistent experience that's easy and fast. Chasing down separate web hosting companies is much harder. They don't all use the same process. Some will only accept postal mail, some want short explanations, some want longer. Many never reply.


6:44 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The main reason that it is not recommended to start with submitting a DMCA to Google is because the DMCA is a law, an Act passed by Congress in the US and adopted by the European Union via the WIPO Copyright Treaty and Google has no law enforcement obligations. They may or may not ever take any action. If you are dropping it in Google's lap you may be forfeiting your rights to respond if/when the Fair Use exemption is invoked. If you have had success you have been fortunate, but the law specifies the rights and obligations of all parties and skipping over the details has caused some peculiar results.


7:03 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

When I had this problem a couple of years ago, I submitted my requests to Google. They had removed the offending pages from their SERPs by the next day. Not sure if my experience is typical or not, but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and smoothly it was all processed.


9:58 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If you are dropping it in Google's lap you may be forfeiting your rights to respond if/when the Fair Use exemption is invoked

My experience haven't been the grey area ones. Just automated sites that scrape the whole page/story and republish it, without any surrounding, added editorial, commentary, etc. These types of sites aren't the type that's ever going to respond to a DMCA request.

Further, I don't see how "dropping it in Google's lap" forfeits anything. Is there some legal precedence that exists? Not a lawyer, but I would argue that I'm dropping it Google's lap because G has a history of handling duplicate content issues poorly, often to the detriment of the original publisher.


10:14 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You can file a DMCA complaint with AdSense, too, if the site has AdSense ads. That can be effective if the publisher is at least semi-legitimate: I found that a large site had stolen one of my articles, and when I filed a DMCA complaint with AdSense, the publisher took the article down right away.(Google sent me a copy of an e-mail from the company's head lawyer, who seemed upset that I hadn't contacted the company first.)


11:40 pm on Jul 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It may be the best option in some cases to file with Google. Black&White, no question cases can be removed from the serps quickly. The difference is whether the object is to remove your content from the site where it is hosted and prevent the use of your content or to simply remove that URL from Google's serps.

Google processes over 6,500,000 DMCA Forms per week under the Safe Harbor provision of the law as a "file location service provider" of which for the past year, 21 million submitted forms were discarded. Information published in the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology shows that the number of DMCA notices received by Google increased 711,887 percent in the four years leading up to 2012. Google is in talks with primary copyright holders such as music/entertainment producers to try to find better ways to handle the huge numbers.

If the only interest is removing it from Google's serps, then filing with Google makes sense. That is because filing with Google does not remove the content from the internet, it remains right where it was in most cases. It all depends on your goals.

This information can be found at chillingeffects.org and torrentfreak.com - two sites that deal primarily with DMCA questions and discussions.


4:00 pm on Aug 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've had good luck with my DMCA claims filed with Google. For anyone who isn't:

I really try to spell things out in the complaint, like:
"infringing text areas begin with the words '......' and '......'.

I also go to the WayBack machine and try to show exactly how my page looked when the infringement took place (I've revised my pages over the years). I include this URL in the claim too.

I'm also fortunate to have registered copyrights over the years and after mentioning the registration number and date, link to the WayBack machine so Google can see exactly what form the content took when it was registered.

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