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adsense dmca

received response from google stating that they will not to take any action

     
3:28 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

I sent an adsense dmca and I received a response back from google stating that they decided not to take any action. The sites that I complained about copied the layout of my site and the contents of each of my main pages word for word, and so far they have created at least 4 new sites using my content and ideas.

But they "fixed" my content a little bit, for example they alphabetized my lists, on some pages they deleted all but a few senteces and replaced it with an adsense block. On some other pages they added in some content that they copied from somewhere else. But I think you can still easily tell that it was copied from my site, in fact, they way I first discoved them was from someone else emailing me saying "hey, this looks a lot like your site".

So, I'm wondering did I report it wrong or is this something that is not considered copyright infringement?

4:09 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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So, I'm wondering did I report it wrong or is this not considered copyright infringement or what?

I get the feeling you didn't do what G sugests on the adsense dmca page (the second sentence).
The first sentence could be the lucky escape G just did for you.


Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether certain material of yours is protected by copyright laws, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

Yep it sucks not to be a lawyer :(

6:14 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You're mixing different concepts together....

Your site layout is not copyrightable. (The specific HTML code you use to create your layout IS in fact copyrighted, but that would be tough to enforce.)

Your ideas are not copyrightable.

The fact that they might have copied content from someplace else is not relevant.

The content you personally wrote IS copyrighted. Not knowing the sites it's impossible to say much, but maybe the other site changed your text just enough that it's not a direct copy?

6:52 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No, they didn't change the text at all it's copied word for word but my site is a directory so they did rearrange the listings, for example mine are added by date and they alphabetize theirs. And by the layout I meant that they copied the topics and arrangement of my directory categories and subcategories.
7:00 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I see. But my understanding is that indices and tables of contents cannot be copyrighted, so I doubt you have a copyright claim with respect to your overall site structure.

Also some directories have descriptions that are user-submitted or largely taken from things like META descriptions. The more unique text you've personally written for each entry, the more compelling your copyright claim would be.

7:13 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do like the yellow pages next time add a few biz/things that dont exist. Makes copyright a bit easier to prove.
7:27 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The specific HTML code you use to create your layout IS in fact copyrighted, but that would be tough to enforce...

I did it quite effectively. A stunningly incompetent knucklehead copied my website and left my copyright notice in the code. LOL

7:38 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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But my understanding is that indices and tables of contents cannot be copyrighted

IANAL, but they can. It depends on how much original work was put in creating them.

The term you should search for is "compilation copyright".

IMHO in this case Google decided your original work was not enough. But Google is not a court, if you want you can now sue Google because they didn't respond properly to a DMCA notice :-)

7:47 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You need to understand it very well that Actual "Copyright" refers to "Right To Copy" on internet. We all feel angry and frustrated when we see our layouts and ideas are being copied by someone else on internet, but we need to understand that this is how it works on Internet.

I can also suggest you to go to lawyer,and sue them but i know it is simply waste of time and money. We do SEO techniques and accroding to that we design our sites and soon in few weeks we see EXACT copy of our content on so many sites trying to compitete with us.. but we really dont care at all now. Everyone has right to take ideas from others and we have accepted it now.

I would suggest you to improve your site and keep doing things to improve your busienss rather than finding your copyrighted codes on other site.

Good luck

7:47 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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IMHO in this case Google decided your original work was not enough.

Sheesh, how much original work do they want, it took me 8 years to build it and it has over 200 categories - not a lot compared to the big directories out there but it was a lot of work for me... :)

9:38 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Have you tried contacting the site directly - and expressing that you will notify Google of DMCA etc. (I know you already have, with no success, but perhaps the threat of it would be enough for him/her to remove the site).
10:24 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No, I've tried everything but contacting the site directly. They have 100's, maybe 1000's of other directory sites and they have four based on my site so far, I was afraid that if I contacted them and it didn't work they know for sure that could go ahead and keep making more and more sites based on mine.

So I guess that is my question now. Will it be okay to just ignore them and get on with my life or will all of these copies hurt my rankings in the future?

Thanks for reading this is difficult to work out :)

11:31 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We actually encountered about exactly the same problem as you do. Multiple copies were made of our directory entries (mostly we described the sites listed ourselves, picking some metatags here and there). This happened since about 2 years ago. Interestingly these copycat directories never achieved much of success, while our site list higher with search engine results. It might just be that duplicate content is recognized, and sites that publish a certain content earlier are giving priority. This may give you some peace of mind.
1:35 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Contact their host. You might have better luck with them.
4:21 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. They have there own server in some country where I can't do anything about it. thaidomain, I think you might be right, I haven't seen them pass any of my terms yet except a few days ago they had 3 of their sites on the first page for a search on: keyword directory in google. Today I only see two, but still...

I just wanted to say one more thing. I sent a dmca to Yahoo! just yesterday and they responded today saying they would take appropriate action and I am searching tonight and I don't see them showing up anywhere.

8:04 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think jomaxx hit it. They probably did just enough to reduce most of the strength of your copyright claim.

First off, remove anything that is a fact from your claim. You cannot copyright facts. Addresses, etc.

Remove anything written by someone else, as you cannot claim this as a copyright. Such as a description copied from the site's meta description.

remove anything like a very short description that is not creative, if it is describing a fact. "Widgetco makes red, green and blue widgets"

Now if you are claiming a compilation copyright, there must be something unique about your compilation.

Your selection criteria. If you add every and any widget manufacturer, that is not a creative criteria.

Your ordering. There needs to be some sort of non-standard, provably creative method of ordering the entries. Alphabetically, by the date you enter them or by the location is not creative enough.

The less factors you have in your favor, the weaker your copyright claim is. Compilation copyrights, by their nature are very weak copyrights.

If they copied your "facts" and messed around with things enough, you probably do not have a copyright claim.

Now, if you still have a valid copyright claim after all that, you probably still caused your own problems by filing a too-broad DMCA.

If you claimed copyright over things like your layout that are not copyrightable, they could claim that they did due diligence and your claim was flawed. And they would be right to state this!

By filing a DMCA, you are effectively starting a copyright lawsuit. By filing a false claim, you open yourself up to damages and penalties. If you are going to do this without a lawyer, at least learn the basics about what can and what cannot be copyrighted. *DO NOT* include anything in a DMCA that you are not certain is copyrightable.

If you believe that you have a valid claim after doing your homework, by all means, file a proper DMCA.

8:01 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I sent an adsense dmca and I received a response back from google stating that they decided not to take any action. The sites that I complained about copied the layout of my site and the contents of each of my main pages word for word, and so far they have created at least 4 new sites using my content and ideas.

But they "fixed" my content a little bit, for example they alphabetized my lists, on some pages they deleted all but a few senteces and replaced it with an adsense block. On some other pages they added in some content that they copied from somewhere else. But I think you can still easily tell that it was copied from my site, in fact, they way I first discoved them was from someone else emailing me saying "hey, this looks a lot like your site".

So, I'm wondering did I report it wrong or is this something that is not considered copyright infringement?

No, they didn't change the text at all it's copied word for word but my site is a directory so they did rearrange the listings, for example mine are added by date and they alphabetize theirs. And by the layout I meant that they copied the topics and arrangement of my directory categories and subcategories.

Your site is a directory? Is your directory "unique" in some way? There are other directories out there, DMOZ.org, Yahoo, Looksmart, and smaller ones. Are you sure the other website is not using pages from one of these other directories (DMOZ.org data is available freely, provided the source is cited).

11:00 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Your site layout is not copyrightable

I wouldn't go there as I had some nimrod steal a page template that I paid to have custom developed, with receipts and the offer of a signed affidavit from the designer that all the graphics were custom developed, no clip art involved. Not just HTML mind you, but custom page full of graphics, all ripped off.

I gave the site owner a call, gave him an ultimatum to remove my template by 5pm or he would have my lawyer giving him a colonoscopy the next day.

Now the amusing part came when the guy said "My web designer is a decent god fearing guy, I know him from my local church!" to which I lost it and screamed over the phone "WHAT PART OF 'DO NOT STEAL' DID HE SLEEP THROUGH? REMOVE IT BY 5PM OR YOU'LL GET A FAX TOMORROW OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS!"

He started babbling it wasn't enough time, they couldn't change it that fast blah blah blah.

I calmly informed them my lawyer said he could file the papers in that amount of time so it was his decision how this played out.

My web layout was off their site by 3pm.

Theft is theft, screw copyright, people in the wrong panic when confronted with a lawyer as it can cost them a bundle defending their stupidity.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:02 am (utc) on Jan. 28, 2007]

2:08 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I gotta tell ya Bill, I wouldn't take that approach -- at first.

I had a page where I "borrowed" an image from the web. I don't recall from where I borrowed the image, but I did. It was a picture of an advertising sign by the side of the road.

The owner of the photo contacted me all irate, didn't provide a link as to what the heck he was ranting about, and complained that I removed his watermark.

When I figured out what he was going on about I knew immediately he was right -- I had inappropriately borrowed his image, but here was the kicker; I got it from someone else who had removed his watermark.

In the middle of me trying to figure out what the image was, who owned the image, was it really his image, How much of a payment for his image I should offer, and to what email address, where did I um, borrow the image from, he sent another email more irate than the first demanding an apology as payment.

I sent him an email saying "hold on, I'm looking into it" and he replied "I'll hold on when you remove the image."

So I removed the image and sent him an apology "as payment", offered to publish an apology online, and telling him how sorry I was that he wasn't going to get any money for my use of his image, nor a credit for the image used, nor a link to his site, nor would the subject of his photo continue to get the wide audience that my page was providing. Obviously I also stopped looking for where I got the image -- I figure he can go find it for himself.

He never responded. I guess he was happy with the lose-lose situation.

Start with the honey, the vinegar can come later, IMHO.

Edit:typos

[edited by: RonS at 2:14 pm (utc) on Jan. 28, 2007]

6:39 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Bill, you know full well that there is a difference between copyrighting a template and using copyrighted images that may or may not be used in the "copied" template. People will call something "copied" if if it has the same general look. It could be completely different code and images behind it. Even if it is a fairly standard page layout.

Theft is theft, screw copyright, people in the wrong panic when confronted with a lawyer as it can cost them a bundle defending their stupidity.

Oh, please file a DMCA takedown and sue me for copyright infringement on something that is uncopyrightable. You might want to ask your lawyer who will be paying a lot of money at that point. You might also mention that I will ask for sanctions against the lawyer.

Personally I am using Ron's method for most cases. It gets me a lot more links and good will. Then if friendly doesn't work, I go straight to DMCA takedowns to all SEs, their host and their advertisers.

7:16 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I gotta tell ya Bill, I wouldn't take that approach -- at first.

In most cases, neither would I, but the events surrounding this one just set me off.

One of my best customers called me telling me about this site, and started questioning whether we resold our work, whether his site was really "unique" as he paid for, yada yada yada.

Needless to say, I went off like a suitcase nuke on 24.

There was more to this one, what he stole WAS copyrightable, not just HTML, and they were creating confusion in the marketplace which goes beyond a DMCA letter.

Doesn't matter, another reason I got out of that biz, I don't need those hassles in my life.

7:35 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I did it quite effectively. A stunningly incompetent knucklehead copied my website and left my copyright notice in the code. LOL

I still bust a lot of thieves by Googling our copyright notifications, as in:

Copyright 2007 by Our Company

Of course, if you really want a big stick to hit them with, you have to register the copyright for the website on a regular basis.

2:57 pm on Jan 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you register?

I looked into it at one point and was definitely going to do it, but it requires submission of the entire site via CD and then regular updates like for a periodical, and it started to get confusing, and I just scrapped it.

Does anyone register and keep their registration up-to-date, and can you offer some advice?

Thanx.

Edit: The reason to do it is that it entitles you to recover statutory damages, you don't have to prove up losses (nearly impossible to do). Of course I have no idea what the dollar amounts are for statutory damages. Does anyone know how that works?

[edited by: RonS at 3:00 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2007]

3:20 pm on Jan 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you register?

Yes, though we aren't always as timely as we should be.

Edit: The reason to do it is that it entitles you to recover statutory damages, you don't have to prove up losses

While it's true registration entitles you to statutory damages, the potential damages aren't your main protection. It's the fact that if you don't get the result you want from the infringer and you press ahead in Federal court, they have to pay your legal costs, which are likely to be much higher than damages.

3:29 am on Jan 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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BTW - for those that were wondering about the "copyright-able" nature of compiled lists, search for the following on Google:

"Copyright Registration for Derivative Works (Circular 14)"

The first hit should be a copyright.gov link. As long as there is a certain measure of human influence in the selection and ordering of the results, it would appear to be copyrightable.