Copyright Infringement: How to Send a DCMA Takedown

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In general, Google is sophisticated enough to sort through copied content. If someone copies your content, particularly if it’s content that has been scrapped via your RSS feed you don’t really need to worry or take action.

But what if someone just blatantly rips you off or worse, takes 80% of your content and perhaps changes 20% of it to make it a bit more unique like they wrote it. That’s when you should file a DCMA complaint.

Someone copied my blog post

On an old dating blog I used to run, I had a very popular blog post aimed at women. This one post was driving 500 visitors a day and was making $500 a month in affiliate commissions.

As part of a managing a website, I ocassionally check for copy cats by doing a copyright search using Copyscape to see if anyone had copied the content I wrote for that site.

I discovered another webmaster had copied my popular blog post to about 75% of what I had written, making the other 25% new content of an offensive sexual nature. Twisting the the helpful content into something more adult oriented.

As such, I had no choice but to file a DCMA complaint so here is how you do it.

How to get them to remove copied content

First you should always visit the website and send them a message asking them to remove the content.

Much the same with with people stealing pictures and thinking it’s no big deal, sometimes people do this with content. We all know plagiarism is wrong, but we like to rationalize bad behavior because we’re just copying a little bit, it’s not like we’re copying the whole thing.

The first step is to simply send a polite but firm email asking them to remove the copied content. Sometimes people have a “whatever no big deal” mentality towards infringement and will copy something you created thinking you will be none the wiser, or that it’s not hurting anyone.

Once you simply ask, they will be embarrassed about what they did and will usually send you a quick “opps sorry!” email (and that will be that).

Example email:

Hello,

This article (name article) was lifted from a website I own and run (name website and the page the content is taken from). My site is copyrighted unfortunately so I would kindly ask you to remove the article within the next 3 days. Thank you.

Next is to file a DCMA complaint

If you have made a good faith effort to contact a webmaster who has copied your content but they either did not comply with your request or never responded to your email you need to file a DMCA complaint with their web host.

  • Do a whois search for the offending website.
  • Look to see who their host is.
  • Once you know who their host is, do a Google search “DMCA + name of web hosting company” or contact the web host and ask how to file a copyright infringement.
  • Provide the necessary information for the complaint.

The web host company will process your complaint and you should have everything resolved within 3-5 days. They will notify you via email as to the outcome. If they determine that you were indeed infringed upon they will remove the offending content.

Want to see an example of the form you submit? This is the form you would fill out for Host Gator.

How do you copyright your website?

Anything you create and publish on your website is automatically copyrighted. Unless a website says “uncopyright”, assume the website is copyrighted.  That means if you wish to republish an article, a picture or a video from another website you need permission first.

So, there is nothing specifically you have to do to copyright a website. It’s automatically copyrighted unless you state otherwise.

Copyright and domain names

While content is one thing, don’t infringe on a another business copyright with your domain name. Pat Flynn of the popular website Smart Passive Income had to change the domain name for his first online business from InTheLeed.com to GreenAcademyExam.com.

“Leed” is copyrighted term and the name of an architecture exam called the Leed exam. In general never use copyrighted terms in your domain name like “Sony” or “iPad” or “Canon” and so forth.

You put your online work at risk as the copyright holder can at any time come and ask for your website to be taken down.

DCMA Takedown Conclusion

Filing a DCMA complaint with a web host is usually an easy process. You should always reach out to the blogger or web master first and ask them to take down the content before going this route in general.

Overall when creating content online don’t use other peoples pictures, content, videos, music in your content without permission (unless the content is in the public domain). Also remember that your blog and website is automatically copyrighted but you should consider formally copyrighting your domain name when it becomes and established business.

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