What to do when someone steals your content.

Published on October 21st, 2008 by admin

It's going to happen, learn some easy steps here to help protect yourself.

It’s inevitable, you start writing good content, people are visiting your site, your getting regular comments and your site is getting good ranking results.

One day you get an email from someone asking you a question about one of your tutorials. They refer you to a link that has your tutorial but the link isn’t to your website! Someone has blatently stolen your content and put it on their site.

Unfortunatly this is a common occurance on the internet but with the proper information you can take steps to protect yourself.

How can I find stolen content?

There are a variety of services available to help you search for stolen content.


This is a great service is it scours the internet for duplicated content. You type in the address of a page of your site and it looks for other places that match.


Grab about a paragraph of text from the top of your article and do a search in google, if the content has been up for a while then it will appear in the ranking. On top of that if it’s a large site it will appear quickly.

Check your statistics

If you’ve set your site up to monitor statistics you can easily find pages of stolen content, just check the “links from an external page” section.

Step 1: Know your rights!

In the United States all content you produce is protected under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or DMCA. This means that everything you write, draw, design etc belongs to you and no one else has the right to copy, distribute or otherwise benefit from your work.

Even though all your work is automatically protected, a good practice is to put a copyright reminder at the bottom of every page. That way they can’t argue with you. Usually I put something like © 2008 Part Digital Design. All Rights reserved.

Click below to download a summary of the DMCA

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act Summary

Step 2: Contact the perpetrator.

Contact the person who has stolen your content, There is a good chance that they won’t know about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and will be more than happy to remove it. Make the e-mail firm but unthreatening at first, give them the option to cite your material or provide a link back to your website. Wait a few days and if they don’t reply then begin to compile your materials.

Step 3: Compile your materials

In the case you don’t get a response it’s time to take more drastic actions. Compile all the materials that has been copied to provide proof of ownership. Include as much information as possible such as notes, drafts sketches etc. Make sure that you date as many materials as you can. There is no such thing as too much evidence, so don’t worry if it starts to pile up.

Take a screenshot of the accused website and your own date them and include them in your files

Find witnesses who read your site regularly and who can confirm your ownership.

Step 4: Contact their host.

Contact their host as soon as all your information is collected. Find information about their host provider. All professional hosts take content theft very seriously and they will help you solve it quickly.

For example I contacted the host of someone stealing content from my articles section. After several e-mails without result, I contacted his host provider and filed an official complaint. A day later I recieved an apologetic phone call from the guy; he said he would remove my content immediatly and close down his site.

Here are some services you can use to find information about their host:


WHOIS by Network Solutions


Step 5: Request a ban from Search Engines.

In the event that the host is uncooperative, (perhaps they are hosting their own site) then you can contact the search engines and request that they ban the site. Make sure you have all your materials collected again as you will have to provide proof of your ownership.

Before sending anything to the search engines please read their policies and instructions.

Google DMCA Policies

Yahoo DMCA Policies

MSN DMCA Policies

Step 6: Register your copyrights.

Usually this isn’t necessary since all of your work is automatically protected, but if you’re particularly concerned with this then it might be worth your time to register your work with the US Copyright Office.

To register your work US residents can visit this page provided by the US Copyright office, you will also have to fill out a registration form.

This will be most helpful in a court of law in case you ever need to go that far.

Closing Thoughts

Content theft can be a aggrivating and frustrating thing, especially if they don’t cooperate. Do not seek revenge, approach it professionally and it will take care of itself.

Don’t be overly obsessed with it either. Just take some time each month and search the internet. Also consider the perpetrator’s rankings, is it really worth the effort to confront a site that only gets 5 visitors a day?

That’s my two cents on the topic. If you have any ideas or thoughts please feel free to post on my comments.

Leave a Reply


  • Post by Shankar on November 12, 2008


  • Post by Internet Banking on February 4, 2010

    @chels I know what you mean, its hard to find good help these days. People now days just don't have the work ethic they used to have. I mean consider whoever wrote this post, they must have been working hard to write that good and it took a good bit of their time I am sure. I work with people who couldn't write like this if they tried, and getting them to try is hard enough as it is.

  • Post by Angila Cavicchia on February 7, 2010

    Thank you for the intelligent critique. Me and my neighbour were just preparing to do some research about this. I am very thankful to see such great info being shared freely out there.

  • Post by Lillard on May 11, 2010

    Good ideas, thanks. That was one thing I worried about doing wrong. Being too aggressive or passive. I'll use the advice and gain more experience under my belt.

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