Blogging is a lot of work, which is why when someone steals all that hard work it can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening.
At first, you might be shocked it happened to you, but likely your next response is going to be how do I take those jerks down and get their copycat content off the web?
In this post, I’m going to break down what you should do if someone steals your blog content.
1. Take Screenshots of the Site
Before alerting anyone, in particular the site owner, make sure you take screenshots of the site as evidence.
Extensions like Full Page Screen Capture will help you take a screenshot of the entire page so you don’t have to scroll and take tons of photos.
2. Don’t Reach Out Directly Unless It Is Through An Attorney
If someone has blatantly copied your site or content, do not engage. I know it might be tempting, especially since you are likely to be angry, but don’t contact them unless it is through an attorney.
3. Find Out Who Is Hosting The Site
The next step is to determine who is hosting the site. There are various websites you can use to do this.
Hosting companies don’t want legal issues and will often take the site down quickly. Here are a few sites to help you determine who is hosting your site:
4. File a DCMA Takedown Notice
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and helps to protect the copyright of digital works, like blogs. Filing a DMCA takedown notice is simply the act of notifying a hosting provider, search engine, or other site owner that content they are hosting is infringing on your copyright.
If you’re looking for a template letter, Sara F. Hawkins, an attorney has an example on her site.
5. Follow Up
If you don’t hear anything right away and the offending content remains, follow up. Keep following up consistently until the content is removed. I’ve seen people mention that it can sometimes take months. So keep following up and don’t drop it.
6. Pursue All Avenues
Ashley from Budgets Made Easy had her entire site copied and had trouble getting the offending site taken down, but she was able to ensure it wasn’t showing up in Google. Here is what she had to say:
I had my entire site copied and it was a huge hassle to get it taken down. I don’t think that it even was taken down but it is no longer found in Google. I kept contacting their host but then the contact info was through another layer of info. I finally contacted Google and filed a DCMA takedown with them and now that site isn’t found in Google.Ashley Patrick – Budgets Made Easy
Reporting DMCA to Google: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/
Similarly if someone has stolen your Pin on Pinterest, Lena Gott of What Mommy Does has a great article on how to get the stolen pin taken down.
It absolutely sucks to have the content you worked hard on stolen, but you aren’t helpless. While it may be a pain, there are steps you can take to have the content taken down and removed from Google.
Before lashing out at the site owner, be sure to collect evidence in the form of screenshots. Then find out who is hosting the site and file a DMCA take down notice and be sure to follow up.