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  • Vanessa Rowley-Matthew

What To Do When Someone Steals Your Website Content


So, you've worked long and hard on your website, or you found someone else to do it, and then you find out someone else re-created your website. Stole everything!

And I know you want to hunt this person down and give them a piece of your mind. But, before you call the cops, here are some things you can do to try reclaiming your content.

Some ways are easy, while others are more advanced. Just remember that I'm not a lawyer, and if you need legal advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer.

 

1. Take Screenshots

Don't contact the person who duplicated your site at first. Instead, take screenshots as a record of what they've done.

You can also use the Wayback machine to see what your thief's website looked like before looking like yours. Then, take screenshots of your website as proof of the work you've done on your website.


2. Contact the Plagiarizer

With proof in hand, you need to ask the copycat to take down what they have stolen from you. To find who this person is, you can visit "WHOIS.net" to see if their contact information is listed for "their website."


You can also find out if they have their contact information on the website they've "created."



3. Contact the Host of the Server

You can also contact the server host and ask them to take the site down. When you look up the contact information for the website owner using WHOIS.net, look under the "Network WHOIS" for the "NetName."

Make sure to contact the server host by email to keep a digital paper trail. Keep your email professional and demand what you want to have done. No need to tell them how pissed off you are. And, if this doesn't work...



4. Take it to Google

There's something called the Google Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Submit a DMCA request to Google asking for the removal of the copycat site from their search engine.

You can ask Bing to do the same. But, there is a caveat. To get the site removed through Google and not just have the site not appear on their search engine, you have to pay $199 for a DMCA takedown.

5. Get a lawyer!

You will want a lawyer to issue a "cease-and-desist" letter to the copycat or hosting company, which will cost you about $200.


If the letter doesn't work, a lawsuit is an order, making hiring a lawyer for this matter the most costly and time-consuming. But sometimes, this is necessary, especially for large websites.



 

To Protect Yourself In The Future

To significantly lessen the chances of this tragic event happening to you:

  1. Take any weird website activity seriously.

  2. Get alerts for any use of your blog post titles using Google Alerts.

  3. Search for content in quotes you've written that you believe sound uniquely like you online. Doing this is a great way to find stolen content.

  4. Use Copyscape to search for website pages that may have duplicated yours. Just know that for free, you can only search for one website page at a time.

  5. Get DMCA Protection for free or for $10 a month.

  6. Put a copyright statement on your website with the current year.

At the same time, know this -- if your content is online, people can take it. And sometimes, the person who is the copycat is a website designer. So, be sure to ask your website designer for a guarantee that your text is original. Then, get this put in writing so that it is legally binding.

 

Question

Has this ever happened to you? If so, please share your experience with our readers as to how you handled this.


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