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Site Stolen


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12 replies to this topic

#1 doogie88

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 03:06 AM

I put up a site about 10 days ago, it has since been copied, word for word, exact sections, etc. Obviously intentional. Done so by a multimillion dollar company.
I just sent an email to them, which I'm sure will result in nothing.
What to do?

Will I be able to prove my site was up before theres and it's my content?

#2 SERPico

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 03:48 AM

QUOTE(doogie88 @ Jan 27 2009, 09:06 AM) View Post
I put up a site about 10 days ago, it has since been copied, word for word, exact sections, etc. Obviously intentional. Done so by a multimillion dollar company.
I just sent an email to them, which I'm sure will result in nothing.
What to do?

Will I be able to prove my site was up before theres and it's my content?


Things you can do in regards to stolen content.

#3 Randy

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 07:52 AM

Hopefully you have file dates (or post dates in a database if you're using a blog/cms) to prove the date your site went live. Take screen shots of those now, before the dates get changed when you update something, in case you need them. Do the same of your FTP file list, especially if you're not on a blog or your blog creates static pages. There will be a server timestamp on those file with the Last Modified date. You'll need that stuff is push comes to shove to prove ownership.

Hopefully you also wrote all of the content yourself and didn't hire someone to do it for you. If you hired someone you'll want to bring them in the loop and make darned sure they didn't just copy someone else's content.

Since you sent them an email already give them a few days to respond. I'd recommend giving them 3-5 days before you up the ante.

If they don't answer or do anything the next step I'd take is to find and contact their host. Except for in very, very rare situations, every site is hosted by someone else. The way you find the host is to first figure out the IP number the site lies on top of. Finding the host is fairly easy to do, though most have never done it.

First you'd (assuming you're on a Windows PC here) want to
  • Select your Windows Start button, then choose Run
  • Type cmd to bring up your Windows Command Prompt window
  • In the command prompt window type tracert domain.com replacing "domain.com" with the actual domain name
  • All you need from this is the very first line. It'll look something like [i]Tracing route to domain.com [123.45.67.89]. The part in the brackets is the IP number the site sits on. As soon as you have this you can cancel the trace route by pressing Ctrl +C on your keyboard.
  • Take this IP number and plug it into any decent WhoIs tool. I have one of those here if you need it. This will typically give you the contact information for the actual host, including abuse email addresses.
  • Go to the host and search for their DMCA complain form. Some have a form you can fill out right on their web site. Some want you to send an email to a specific address. All of them should at least give you a phone number to contact. A lot of times there will be a copyright violations clause in the hosts Terms of Service document, along with who you need to contact if you discover one of their clients hosting your copyrighted content.
  • Fire off a letter to them. Include the fact that you've already contacted the offending site (with the date you did that) requesting the content to be removed. This can be a friendly letter, or a more formal Cease & Desist. I usually do this as a more formal C&D, because at the same time I'm usually filing the C&D with the thief, the search engines and everybody else.
  • Clearly state in this letter how they should respond to your complaint. eg by email, with a phone call, etc. And give them a time frame in which they have to respond.
  • Again give them a day or two to respond. If they don't, follow up with a phone call to make sure they know you're serious.
  • If the above doesn't get the content removed, it'll be time to move on to taking legal action to protect your copyright. Which means hiring a lawyer. Keep track of all fees you incur. These are reimbursable expenses.



#4 doogie88

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:13 PM

thank you

#5 torka

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:23 PM

QUOTE(Randy @ Jan 27 2009, 07:52 AM) View Post
Hopefully you also wrote all of the content yourself and didn't hire someone to do it for you. If you hired someone you'll want to bring them in the loop and make darned sure they didn't just copy someone else's content.

This deserves re-emphasis, IMO. From what I hear, this is a fairly widespread problem, especially if a webmaster hires an extremely low-cost "writer" through one of those freelance job posting sites.

Good writers need time to create good original writing... and time is money. So the cheaper the writer, the less likely it is you're going to get high-quality output. mf_type.gif

Many of the cheapest of the cheap try to shortcut the process by simply stealing content from others and passing it off as their own original work. Even some who aren't so cheap -- and who should know better -- have gotten caught out attempting this, including journalists and novelists. ohno.gif

If a webmaster hires someone to create original content, it's a really good idea to make sure the content is actually original before it gets posted, no matter how much was paid for it. You don't want to find yourself on the receiving end of one of those "you stole my content" letters... and it could be pretty darned embarrassing if you were to accuse somebody of stealing your content, only to have it turn out they were the original authors and it was your hired "writer" who was the thief. nono.gif

Copyscape is a good place to start, and there are many other services that also offer to help detect online plagiarism.

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#6 doogie88

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:14 AM

I did have a writer write the content, but he did not give permission to use the work, and is signing to confirm this. Owner and author know each other, but do not like each other, which is one of the reasons why it was stolen when he seen his name on the work.

#7 Randy

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:34 AM

Sounds like the writer also has a cause of action against the other dude. He/she could and maybe should hire a lawyer and pursue a financial judgement, or at the very least a settlement.

#8 doogie88

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:47 PM

QUOTE(Randy @ Jan 28 2009, 08:34 AM) View Post
Sounds like the writer also has a cause of action against the other dude. He/she could and maybe should hire a lawyer and pursue a financial judgement, or at the very least a settlement.


Well faxed my papers to host this morning, no reply yet. I will phone tomorrow afternoon if I don't have a reply by then. I will also fax my papers to google tomorrow, though it takes google a couple weeks they said.

#9 doogie88

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 06:13 PM

Just an update.
I faxed out forms to host on Wednesday AM, saying I want a reply within 24 hours, and content down within 24 hours. Thursday AM, I got a reply back saying they would take care of it. Didn't hear anything back so I emailed Friday Afternoon, with no reply so far.
What should my next step be? Phone them and say I want it down immediately? Or contact my lawyer?

#10 Randy

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 06:46 PM

I'd try the phone route first. But don't spend much time talking to the first person you get. You want to ask for a supervisor, or at least someone who actually has the ability to take it down. That won't be a front line customer service person.

The lawyer will take at least a few days if not a week or two, so the phone call is worth a shot. Especially since you were already promised they'd do something about it. But you might want to let them know that you're just giving them a courtesy call before the lawyer gets involved. And if it's not down immediately, as they already promised it would be, you'll be instructing the lawyer to include them (the host) as a defendant. naughty.gif

#11 kayes

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:29 AM

This is gonna get messy and tricky.Try getting the screen shots of date and time of the post you made and try contacting their host , may be something may work out.

#12 doogie88

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 04:05 AM

Hello

Okay, we are about 3 weeks in now. I phoned the host weeks ago, and just got a runaround, saying they were looking into it. I think this company has several servers with this company, so they are obvioiusly hesitant to do anything to stop this income from them.

Google got back to me about a week ago, and is looking into it, which I am very happy about.

What do I do now? Wait, and be happy if Google bans them? Get my lawyer to send a letter to host/owner? I really hate having to spend to do that, but it might have to be done?

#13 Randy

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 07:20 AM

Yeah, I think it's probably time to get an attorney involved on your side of the equation. Copy both the domain owner and host (actually I'd cc: the content author too since there's that person out there) with a good Cease and Desist, with a drop dead date for something to happen and with the threat of a lawsuit if it doesn't happen.




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