Has your website content been stolen?

Last week a client contacted me with news that she had discovered a web site that was using her web copy. It was a site offering the same type of service and operating in the same geographic area. Not good news.

I suggested she contact the site owner to point out the obvious copyright issues. After an initial acknowledgment and a promise to fix things the site owner is now refusing to make any changes.

Turning to an attorney is the next step but I have also suggested contacting the hosting company of the offending web site and making a copyright infringement complaint. I took this approach many years ago when copy and images ( even code) from this web site were taken. The hosting company suspended the infringing site very quickly which paved the way for immediate discussions and a solution.

My customer’s experience has spurred me to to a little research on our own web site today and low and behold I have discovered a web design company who have stolen huge chunks of our copy. They have been contacted and ask to amend the site and I have put in a copyright infringement complaint with their hosting provider.

Here is a list of resources that can be useful in these sort of cases.

www.whois.net
Useful for details of the domain name registrar and hosting provider

www.copyscape.com
Search for copies of your page on the web. Has a premium service

www.plagiarismchecker.com
Free service to check for plagiarism, simple enter your URL

www.archive.org
The way back machine. Useful for establishing timelines

www.google.com/dmca.html
Notify Google of the infringement – must be done via snail mail or fax


5 thoughts on “Has your website content been stolen?

  1. Just a follow up. I have since discovered another web site using copy from our site. After failing to hear back from either site owner I am now working with their web host providers to get the sites suspended.

  2. I have discovered quite many sites stealing many images and text from my website. Some of them complied, some did not. Some hosts shut those websites down until they removed the stolen contents, but several hosts never responded to my complaints – this is where I'm getting ready to sue those hosting companies in court, very seriously and well prepared.

  3. Sorry to hear about your copyright infringement issues. So far I have always been successful going the hosting company approach. Which hosting companies are causing you problems?

  4. To name a few. GOCURRENCY.COM has been stealing images without giving any credit to my friend's website. When they were approached repeatedly they deleted some of the images, but not all of them. The rest was ignored. We will be posting a complaint to Google Adsense to see if they can shut their Google Ads for GoCurrency.com since they are using stolen images on their site. Now to name a few hosting companies that did not respond since July 2009: SITERIGHTNOW.COM (they never respond, also their email bounces), DNSTEMPLATE.COM (emails bounce, no response to mail), NETX1.COM – no response no action. Some of the hosts could be in the US and some overseas. Other hosts responded asking for a "DCMA Take Down Notice". Friend's website is not registered with copyright yet it's still illegal to plagiarize and to steal contents even if it is not marked as copyrighted. Actually Google Adsense actually did not take any action against offenders and Google Ads are running on one of the offending sites more than a year after my friend's complaint was filed with Google Adsense. So there are so many who don't care, so I guess we'll become busy suing them to wake them up from their sleep a little bit.

  5. My goodness that is quite a problem. Anything in the public domain is automatically copyrighted. What is the URL of your friends web site?

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