How to Protect Your Online Writing Material From Plagiarism and File a DMCA Complaint With Google: Stop Online Thieves

Is That The Real Elvis or A Big Fat Copycat?

Stop Plagiarism, Protect Your Writing
Stop Plagiarism, Protect Your Writing | Source

My Personal Experience

Recently I was browsing through my hubs (articles) only to discover a neat little © sitting happily alongside three of my hub titles. Imagine my fury when on further investigation I discovered that my three hubs had been copied and published on two other writing sites by two different writers (I will call them writers as the other names I wish to use would see me violate every rule in the book and most likely be banished from Hubpages for eternity).

Needless to say it took considerable time for the colour red to subside and my breathing to return to (almost) normal; however once I could function on a reasonable level I continued my investigation. To my horror the copied articles were complete replicas of my articles; even the google adverts and my personal photos were copied. In fact on one of the sites; I won't mention the name (scribd.com) my name appeared on the top of the article next to the culprits profile. I was disgusted; not only had my articles been stolen but the 'WRITER' (for want of another word) who had stolen them in the first place was a right lazy sod and couldn't even be bothered to type his own name.

The second site was owned by the article copier himself. Unbelievably this guy was equally as lazy and my article was complete with quotes, jokes and personal references. The only thing that was missing was my photo.

I must tell you I hadn't a clue what to do. However, I was that mad I decided to track the two little thieves down. Mission Impossible: My Mantra.


What I Did Next!

  • Firstly I had to identify the domain; the domain is the name of the Internet host, for example: about.com, helium.com or hubpages.com
  • Secondly I had to make contact with the domain owner
  • In the case of scribd.com I was able to contact their support team through the main page where I left a request and my email
  • While I waited for their response I googled everything and anything that had the remotest thing to do with copied content; I found a few interesting items among two of which were...

a) The Whois Record

b) The DMCA aka Digital Millennium Copyright Act

  • I received an email a little while later from the scribd.com support team requesting more information on the supposed copied articles
  • I responded with a copy of the DMCA and with great restraint kept my reply professional and to the point
  • I received another email the next day; I was informed that my content would be removed within the next few days
  • Within 24 hours the copied content had been removed: thank you scribd.com
  • Result :)


  • Copier number two was a little harder to track down as the domain was owned by the culprit in question
  • I left a message on his comments page but I got no response
  • I filed a DMCA complaint with google as there was google adverts on his page (most articles rely on adverts to make money; no adds no money)
  • Google is a search engine, therefore they have a responsibiltiy with regard to the content on their pages (copied content must be removed)
  • Using the Whois Record, I ran a domain search and found the owner contact details including his email
  • I also looked up where the domain was registered
  • I sent him a very polite email complete with a DMCA complaint, along with a copy of the DMCA complaint I had filed with google and advised that another DMCA complaint was being filed with GoDaddy.com where his domain was registered
  • As I had this persons complete contacts; I also advised that if my content wasn't removed within 48 hours I would have no other option but to sue
  • Within 48 hours the domain was closed down and back on GoDaddy.com
  • Result :)


What is The Whois Record?

The Whois record is an invaluable database among which includes a store of registered users of an Internet domain; in other words their contact details.

All you need to do is type in the domain name and hit search. In most cases the domain name is visible on the main page or is part of the url: for example http://hubpages.com/flowers-poetry-song. The domain name being hubpages.com.


What is The DMCA?

The DMCA (digital millennium copyright act) was introduced in 1998 to address copyright issues that had been made prominent by the world wide use of the Internet. The basic principle behind this act: to exercise your right as the owner of the material in question. Be it an article, photo, video or other specific medium posted on the Internet. If you are aware of plagiarism regarding your content, file a DMCA complaint with the responsible body immediately.

Sample DMCA Complaint Document

I am (your name) the exclusive rights holder for the (list the names of your copied articles and their urls ie Beautiful Flowers in Spring: http://laura.hubpages.com/hub/beautiful-flowers).

These exclusive rights are being violated by material available on your site at the following urls (list the name of the copied articles, as they appear and their urls ie Beautiful Spring Flowers: http://writersgroup.com/beautiful.spring.flowers).

I have in good faith belief that the use of this material in such fashion is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder's agent or the law and therefore infringe the copyright owner's rights.

Under the penalty of perjury in a United States court, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am the copyright owner or authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights for the material in question.

I hereby demand that you act expeditiously to remove the material claimed to be infringing.

My contact information is as follows (list all contact inclusive of address, phone and email)

Thank you

Regards

(Your full legal name)


All You Need to Know and You do Need to Know!

Summary: What to do When Your Content is Copied

  • Locate the domain (usually on the main page or in the url (example hubpages.com))
  • Leave a message regarding your complaint (support team, contact page, comments or forums (if available))
  • Locate the domain owner (Whois Record)
  • Send an email requesting that the copied content be removed
  • File a DMCA complaint with the domain owner
  • File a DMCA complaint with any advertising agents with adverts on said page ie yahoo, google
  • File a complaint with the search engine ie google, yahoo or bing
  • Inform your main domain of the copied content if you are operating on a sub-domain ie Hubpages, Helium
  • Follow through to ensure your copied content is removed
  • Always be professional and accurate

Protect Your Content

  • Google your article headings regularly to check for duplicate content
  • Google 'Plagiarism Checker', enter text in the box provided and the url in the box provided and run a search to check for copied content
  • If you write on HubPages; check out the © symbol alongside your article headings on the account page and follow instructions as laid out by HubPages
  • Register your articles online
  • Use the © symbol, the year you wrote it and your name on all your articles and materials
  • HubPages has already provided this for you: go to edit on your hub and on the right hand side (down the page a bit) you will see Display Options, click here and you will see a copyright notice, you have two options; no notice and your copyright, chose the copyright eg © 2011 Gabriel Wilson
  • Brand your content

Last Note:

As writers and artists we work hard to create our material and indeed express ourselves through our creativity and other such mediums. We put our very being into our work, sharing ourselves with others. To find oneself violated through plagiarism is infuriating. Plagiarism is a very personal attack and is a serious crime against the owner.

Our thoughts and ideas mostly stem from our imaginations slowly growing into the detailed material we publish on line. To find our hard work and personal efforts stolen by another is not just a horrid feeling it's down right soul destroying.

I sincerely wish all creative artists, writers and bloggers the very best: keep up the good work and remember: Protect your content.


2014 Update

Hello all, I just wanted to add an update to keep all you talented people in the loop. Recently I have had a number of hubs copied. I complained to Google and am very happy to say that Google removed all but one copied article. The one remaing had no Google adverts and was using a different search engine so they had no jurisdiction.

The remaining article did have a huge Amazon banner advert so I complained to Amazon. While Amazon couldn't remove the article they did provide me with the sites contact (saving me a lot of investigation). I filed a DMCA with the site directly advising that Amazon had provided their details and lo and behold the article was removed.

Another amazing thing: one of the sites in question wrote to me and asked if I would be interested in writing for them, and what were my rates. So you see guys and gals we must no matter how boring or time consuming follow up with complaints and remove our copied content. It's so worth it. Good luck.

What do you do when you find your content has been copied?

  • I file a DMCA complaint immediately with the search engine, the advertising agents on the site and the host site
  • I eventually get around to filing a complaint
  • I want to file a complaint, but can't be bothered with all the messing about
  • I don't do anything; why bother it won't stop the thieves
  • I don't write anything of any real importance on the internet anymore
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© 2011 Gabriel Wilson

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Comments 26 comments

Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 23 months ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Well done Jantamaya. Have you heard from google or bing yet? Just keep tabs on www.enom.com because sometimes these guys are responsible and try to put you off. Thank you for giving this information, it's very important for all of us to chase any site that copy our work. I am impressed with your 'Get up and go attitude'. Don't forget I'm here always if you need anything :)


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 23 months ago from UK

Thank you Gabriel very much.

www.enom.com has answered that, "After researching this matter, we

have found that eNom, Inc. is not the webhost, internet service provider, or administrator for the reported domain" They suggested http://tools.whois.net/whoisbyip/ With their "DIG lookup" I received the IP (I hope this is the right one!!! Grrr). Apparently the webhost of www.sarenvers.com is www.verio.com, there (copyright@verio.net) I've sent my complaint. Let's see what will happen....


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 23 months ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi Jantamaya, sorry this has happened to you. I looked at the site and there's a comment box at the bottom: type in your DMCA into the box using an email address especially for this purpose not one that you use all the time.

There's an email on the WHOIS, it's abuse@enom.com

Email your DMCA to them too.

Laslty when you send a DMCA to google they usually send an automated reply but not always. They should respond within a few days though, if not you will have to do it again. Once you click send, it goes to another page and at the top of the page once you have sent the complaint, it gives notification of it being sent.

Let me know how you get on and good luck :) go get 'em


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 23 months ago from UK

Great information. Thanks for writing it. I wasn't familiar with WHOIS and still have my problems with it.

My article was stolen and published here: http://www.sarenvers.com/yoga/do-it-yourself-massa...

There is no information about the source and no contact possibilities at all. There is WordPress named on their pages; however, there is no connection to WordPress whatsoever. I found out that their domain is registered with www.enom.com. I'll write there. Maybe they can help... ???

By the way, I have filed DMCA by Google and Bing and haven't received any response. ??? Did I do something wrong? Of course, you can't answer this question. However, it looked that I did the filing in the right way, though.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

As an after thought, I found this site the other day

www.bruceclay.com/webthief.htm

You might pass by there and have a read, it's interesting :)


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi FlourishAnyway, sorry you are having such a bad time: Did you file a DMCA with the hosting site? Ask the hosting site to provide you with contact details for the customer in question; tell them politely that you are indeed going to contact the authorities and that their cooperation would be advisable in dealing with property theft as plagiarism is a serious offence and that you will pass their details onto the authorities as the site that is promoting your stolen content. They should provide the details and you can send a DMCA direct to the contact provided. If not do a search, use the Internic Domain Search or the Whois to search for the owner as outlined above. If there are google adverts or amazon adverts on the site, email them with a DMCA complaint too. Don't give up, sometimes it takes a little time. Good luck and let us know how you get on :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Gabriel - I had a hosting site claim they are not responsible for their customers' content and they encouraged me to contact authorities! Some of these folks are astounding. I'm pinning this for others' benefit.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi FlourishAnyway, I'm glad you find this hub helpful but I'm sorry you are having your work stolen. It's so important to follow up with stolen articles and such as otherwise I do believe it would be much worse. And don't forget to follow up with the hosting site too, they are also responsible. Best of luck :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I've been here before, and your advice -- especially that template for the letter -- was so helpful I have returned. Unfortunately, there are still thieves out there. Thanks for the advice.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Thank you FlourishAnyway and good on you too. It's a pain in the neck having to file complaints but if we don't then those that steel our work will continue to do so and in fact do it even more. Don't forget to file with Google as well as the ofending site. Google have a responsibility to remove copied contect from their search engine. I have found Google to be very helpful and only recently had copied content removed by them. Make sure the url where your work is copied is 100% accurate to enable them to remove it.

Well done for fighting back, I admire your spirit :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Thank you for being so detailed (e.g., sample letter). I'm going to use this information to file 3 tonight. Some people are thieves, scoundrels, bums. You're a hero for helping writers right wrongs.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 3 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi jponiato. Let me know how you get on! And well done you for fighting back. Hope all goes well :)


jponiato profile image

jponiato 3 years ago from Mid-Michigan

Thanks - just found a site that embedded my entire hub, and used this information to notify the site owners. We'll see what happens.


frogpatch profile image

frogpatch 3 years ago from Jersey Shore

Thanks Gabriel. I will do that right now and let you know what happens.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 3 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi frogpatch,

Ok it seems the email is: dogthai59@gmail.com

You need to send a DMCA as laid out above to this email, be sure to include full urls and also follow up to all advertising agents, yes all they will do is remove their adds, but this is how we make our money after all.

Also the ip address is 50.116.97.205

The domain is also registered at GoDaddy.com

Send them a complaint too.

Good luck, let me know how you get on.


frogpatch profile image

frogpatch 3 years ago from Jersey Shore

If you would like to take a look I would certainly appreciate it. The article is about Escaping the Payday Loan Trap and it is here http://instantpaydayloans-online.com/category/payd...

I saw an advertiser on there which is a Payday Loan Affiliate link. I sent them an email and instead of contacting the site they removed there affiliate banner.

Thanks for your concern!


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 3 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi frogpatch, sorry this has happened to you. It's soul destroying to have your hard work copied.

Are you sure there is no contact, sorry I don't mean to annoy you, it's just sometimes the contact is further down the page?

Are there adverts on the site? You can send a DMCA complaint to the advertising agents ie Google, Amazon etc!

Lastly: I would be happy to take a look if you give me the info :)


frogpatch profile image

frogpatch 3 years ago from Jersey Shore

I found a complete Hubpages article I wrote on another website. There was no contact info on the site. I went to Whois and the company is in Taiwan with no contact info. Is there nothing I can do?


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 4 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi johncimble. Sorry to hear this happened to you. Hope you get it sorted. Don't forget to use the copyright symbol on all your articles on line. Best wishes :)


johncimble profile image

johncimble 4 years ago from Bangkok

This is really useful, my content were also copied, and what I did is just sent them a e-mail but I got no response back from them as well. until I found your hub so I am now know what to do with those copied, thank you a lot!!


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 4 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi Brinafr3sh. Tanx for reading and for commenting, much appreciated :)


Brinafr3sh profile image

Brinafr3sh 4 years ago from West Coast, United States

Hi Gabriel, this is very very useful information that all online writers need to know. Thanks so much.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 4 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hey Highvoltagewriter.

If I learn anything else of a similar subject, I'll be sure to pass it on. Tanx for your comment :)


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 4 years ago from Savannah GA.

Fantastic job supplying us with important information that I did not have a full understanding of...Thanks!


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 4 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi Audra Alexander.

You can get numerous DMCA sample complaint documents off the internet for free; similar to the one I have written out. It is not necessary to pay for one.

Some companies even have their own layout and will email it to you if required.

Hopefully you won't need one, but it's good to know your options :)


Audra Alexander profile image

Audra Alexander 4 years ago from Germany

I was not familiar with the DMCA - good info!

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