TAMPA, FLORIDA—When you place content on the Internet, the odds of it getting stolen are stacked against you. If this is something that doesn’t sit well with you, you’re in luck because we can help you get it back.
In a previous article we offered tips and tools for protecting your content with the warning that there is no tried and true method for protecting it, aside from keeping it off the Internet altogether. Since website optimization and providing quality content are the best ways to reach potential clients and essentially grow your business, that’s probably not an option.
“Google places high value on quality sharing,” says Ali Husayni, CEO of Millionairium. “Producing quality content for our blog, as well as our clients’ blogs, is one of the main reasons we have been able to become one of the top SEO companies in the world. The growth we have achieved is through quality work that not even the best SEO software can reproduce.”
When content is placed on your website first, Google gives you the credit for it. But sometimes, there are disreputable websites that take content that isn’t theirs and because of their site’s popularity, they end up getting credit for it.
“Not all sharing is bad,” says Lorrie Walker, one of our writers who is experienced in publishing content online. “In fact, when others share your content properly they earn you popularity-boosting backlinks.”
How aggravating would it be to sit back and watch someone’s popularity grow because readers of your stolen content are sharing it and unknowingly earning them – the thieves – back-links?
You should be the one who gets the credit and reaps the benefits of your content being shared – not a thief. But first, let’s talk about methods and tools you can use to identify if your content has been stolen.
Use a search engine – You can simply take a phrase from your content – make sure you put it in quotes – and perform a Google search. If your content shows up somewhere other than your own site, it may have been stolen. Don’t jump the gun though, it’s possible that someone shared it and gave you proper credit. You can also do the same for your images using a Google image search.
Copyscape – This online service allows you to search for content that is the same or similar to yours using the URL it originated from. Copyscape’s premium service can be set up to run automatic, daily searches for stolen content or to protect you from purchasing stolen content. You can also add a banner to your content that warns thieves it is protected by Copyscape.
CopyrightSpot – This service works like Copyscape. You simply use the URL to a webpage or blog feed that contains your work and it locates copies of it.
TinEye – Similar to Copyscape, TinEye scans for stolen images. It can even identify stolen images that have been edited. It’s more time-consuming, but you can also search for the subject of your image – “wild horses,” for example – and sift through the results for your original image.
Review incoming links – Many bloggers will link to the source of the content they share or in the case of a thief, steal. If you consistently check all of your incoming links you may find one that leads to a case of copyright infringement.
Google Alerts – You can use the title of your content/blog – in quotes, of course – and set an alert schedule where Google will alert you of URLs where your content is being posted.
Once you have identified that your content has indeed been stolen, we suggest using the following steps suggested by Lorelle VanFossen to get it back or get you the credit you deserve:
Contact the blogger – Remain professional and give them a chance to make things right – not everyone steals content intentionally. Ask them to remove it, rewrite it with linked excerpts, credit the material to you and your website specifically, or to compensate you monetarily for an amount you feel is fair. Be sure to give them a specific amount of time to meet your request before you take further action. Maintain a paper trail, which will come in handy for the next steps. If you can’t find their contact information, you can use a Whois Lookup or try Googling them.
Initiate a cease and desist order – Once the time you allotted for the thief to meet your request has passed, it is time to initiate legal action with a cease and desist order. This should not only be sent to the blogger, but all parties that may be unknowingly involved – including advertisers and the blog’s server host. Here you will find free downloads as well as additional information regarding the use of a cease and desist order.
Involve other parties – If several days pass without response to your cease and desist, you should contact the businesses that advertise on the violator’s blog. The majority of advertisers want to do business with reputable clients and by providing them with the evidence of the blogger’s infringement and a paper trail proving their negligence in taking action, the advertisers should react quickly. You may even be able to use a site popularity checker tool to prove to them that your stolen blog led to an unjustified increase in traffic of the thief’s blog that should have been tied to you. As a bonus they may have access to more information than you do and can contact the thief or host server directly.
Bring in the big guns – Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, search engines are willing to assist you by banning the blog from its search results once they have received adequate evidence of the blogger’s dishonesty – another reason why we can’t stress enough the importance of a good paper trail.
We hope that if you are faced with the problem of stolen content, you can use this article to take a proactive stance against the thieves.