Combating Content Theft
One of the things I’ve learned about search engine optimization is that search engines such as Yahoo and Google really like unique content. The more unique content you write, the more the search engines will reward you with better placement in their rankings, obviously driving more traffic to your site. Sometimes when unique content is written, others steal it, either trying to pass it off as their own or because they are lazy and want to put up information but don’t feel like writing their own content.
Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in the later. There are people stealing (or borrowing) from various domain blogs and posting either full posts or posting partial posts without adding their own commentary and without seeking permission. While I don’t mind if someone quotes me for the sake of writing an informative blog post, I do mind when people just take my content without even asking.
When I notice this, I do my best to contact the domain owner via Whois lookup to let them know I have an issue. I don’t want them to gain rankings in Google at my blog’s peril. More often than not, the offending person apologizes and takes down my content. However, there are times when the offender has Whois privacy on their domain name and doesn’t have their contact information readily available. This is annoying, and through a hosting company, I found out a way to stop it.
If a website steals content and you either can’t get in touch with the owner or the owner refuses to take down the material, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint with the host, and the host legally has to take action within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. The one caveat is that you need to file an official complaint. It’s not difficult though, and you don’t need an attorney to do it for you, as there are several DMCA complaint templates available online at no cost. Simply find out the web host and email them your complaint. The issue should be resolved fairly quickly.
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