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    Someone duplicates my content. What to do?


    Hi guys,

    I recently noticed that one site duplicates content from my site. I reported the site as spam but nothing is happening apart from the spam site being ranked higher than mine.

    A piece of advice would be much appreciated!
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    You could ask them nicely to take it down, quoting your copyrights.
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    Unfortunately there is not much you can do. I would say email them asking to at least re-word the content. Or you could just re-word your content if Google has done nothing about it yet.

    Comments on this post

    • himanshu160
    • realityhack : Incorrect.
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    Yeah, already asked him to stop stealing my content but he just totally ignored my complaint.
    As you said, guys, there's nothing one can do about it. Really frustrating!
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    Originally Posted by klim75
    Yeah, already asked him to stop stealing my content but he just totally ignored my complaint.
    As you said, guys, there's nothing one can do about it. Really frustrating!
    I have bookmarked one post of fathom specially for such crisis situation:

    http://forums.seochat.com/showpost.php?p=512111

    Fathom is expert in copyright infringement issues. Contact him for more details/help.

    Comments on this post

    • realityhack agrees : Excelent post to reffrence.
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    Lightbulb


    I would like to give all forum members and lurkers a very important piece of advice.

    Get Your website registered with US Copyright Office.

    regardless of the country you live in. By registering your website:

    1) you create a public record of your work and your copyright claim.

    2) If you have copyright registration, you have excellent evidence to prove copyright infringement

    3)you can easily sue for copyright infringement and may seek statutory damages (of $750 to $30,000 as determined by the court, even if actual damages cannot be proven) and attorney's fees in an lawsuit. If you could prove that infringement was willful (as it is in the OP Case), the court may award statutory damages of up to $150,000 per violation.

    4) you may record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service and obtain its help in protecting against the importation of infringing copies.


    What if you haven't registered your copyright

    1) Copyright registration is prerequisite for filing an infringement law suit in US. It make take 4 months or more to sue your infringer (if you have not already registered your web site) once u have obtained certificate of registration from the copyright office.

    2) You cant claim your attorney fees in the lawsuit if your website is not registered before the infringement occurs or within three months of first publication.


    The fees for copyright registration is US$ 35 which is nothing in comparison to the time, efforts and money you put into ur website on daily basis. So seriously think about it.

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    • realityhack : Not quite correct. You can still sue to take the site down, but you can not claim legal fees etc. Also filing a strong coyright that will stand up in court may require legal assistance. Still not expensive considering but over $35.
    Last edited by himanshu160; Jul 29th, 2009 at 10:57 PM.
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    The post referenced by Fathom above provides some good information. Here are some steps that I generally take:

    1. Prior to infringement register your copyrights and trademarks. This makes everything easier. Once you see infringement still register them as someone will do it again in the future. I recommend some legal advice here as copyright registrations can be thrown out if they are filed incorrectly.

    2. Document exactly what on their site is infringing. Include URLs and where the information came from on your site. If you want take screen shots but it is generally unneccisary.

    3. Call the infringing site. Ask for the legal department. They generally won't have one but it keeps you from looking like a telemarketer and getting hung up upon. It also makes it clear that you are serious. Once you have a manager on the phone explain that you found items on their website that are copyright of your company (remember copyright is automatic upon creation of the work. It does not have to be registered to exist). Ask them to take it down and be prepared to send an email with all the information from step 2.
    Usually this is enough. Much of the time this type of content is posted by a web design company and most companies based in the first world have no desire to get into a copyright fight.
    If unable to call send an email. Include the fact that you request the content be immediately removed.

    4. If you encounter resistance as you seem to have. Hire a lawyer to send a paper cease and desist letter. This costs a little but will generally get most reluctant people to comply. It sends the message that you are willing to pursue the matter rather than let it drop.
    Have the lawyer CC the sites hosting company if they are not hosting the site themselves. This will typically result in immediate take down assuming the host is in the first world.

    5. If you still have a problem file DMCA notices with Google, Yahoo, and MSN for all the major searches the site is coming up under. Make sure you carefully follow each search engines guidelines for filing the notices.
    This will prevent the page from coming up in the SERPs and will generally prompt change. Either way you are not competing against your own content any more.
    You can do this at the same time as sending the paper letter but let your lawyer know what you are doing.

    I find #3 fixes most problems quite easily and without legal fees. But you can hit #4 and #5 for sites that give you continued problems.

    Comments on this post

    • himanshu160 agrees : like the step by step procedure
    • NathanielB : Sounds good :). One question tho, can you not do #5 at the start (along with #1, #2 and #3)?
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    realityhack disagrees: Not quite correct. You can still sue to take the site down
    But you still need to file an application for registration immediately prior to initiating the lawsuit.
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    The problem is that I, like most folks, didn't register a copyright. So, the only thing I can do is to file a complaint with the biggest search engines and hope it will work.
    The plagiarist has an older domain and I only have a third-level domain on paid hosting.
    Well, sort of a lesson for the future to register a proper domain name and a copyright right from day one.

    Thanks to everyone for answers and suggestions!
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    Originally Posted by klim75
    Hi guys,

    I recently noticed that one site duplicates content from my site. I reported the site as spam but nothing is happening apart from the spam site being ranked higher than mine.

    A piece of advice would be much appreciated!
    I've had this problem in the past and its just happened again. The first time I sent an email to the web owner and asked him/her to remove the content. After I got no response I contacted the hosting company who's legal department responded by saying they'd try and contact the website owner and request the copied content be removed by a certain date or the plug would be pulled on the site. The site owner obviously never responded because the site was nuked by the hosting company.

    This time around I'm not so sure as the site in question is so rubbish it doesn't appear to be worth te effort - but I'm keeping a check on it.

    You can also report it to Google.
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    I think there are several things you must do

    1. capture the website which is copied from you to collect the proofs.
    2. submit this website at google tools for webmasters with the collected proofs to request to ban this website.(according to my history, it works!)
    3. complain to the domain supplier.

    Hope they are helpful!
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    Originally Posted by himanshu160
    But you still need to file an application for registration immediately prior to initiating the lawsuit.
    No you do not. The issue is that you can not recover your legal fees and you do not benefit from the presumption that you are the original author so your burden of proof is higher.
    Copyright does not have to be registered to defend it including going to court. It is just easier and cheaper.

    ETA I had a talk with our IP lawyer about these issues.
    Last edited by realityhack; Jul 30th, 2009 at 06:16 AM.
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    1-Clan,
    Yes you could do #5 along with #1-#3. However the way Google handles DMCA notices it would be a pain in the but and given that the site owners are often unaware that their contractor who built the site copied something and in my experience quickly take it down I find it is normally unnecessary and would be kind of a d*** move. No need to do a lot of work to make enemies if they are going to take it down in a day or two anyway.
    If they do not... well then you keep going down the list.
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    Well, I complained to Google, got a reply from them asking to give an example of the duplicated content being ranked better than the original.

    So, next day after the complaint, the plagiarist's site has disappeared from the first ten pages of search.

    I'll keep an eye on his blog anyway.
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    Response time


    Originally Posted by klim75
    Well, I complained to Google, got a reply from them asking to give an example of the duplicated content being ranked better than the original.

    So, next day after the complaint, the plagiarist's site has disappeared from the first ten pages of search.

    I'll keep an eye on his blog anyway.
    Nice to see that the situation was corrected. Exactly how long did it take from the start of your complaint until when it was resolved.

    Also with your entries if they are auto pulling the content you could always include a backlink to your site in your content.
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