You cannot be me by stealing my Content – A friendly letter to the Content Scraper and Plagiarist

Do not let the Content Thief slip away after stealing your content.
Do not let the Content Thief slip away after stealing your content. | Source

Dealing with Online Plagiarism

The World Wide Web is full of content thieves who aim at making a quick buck the easy way using other peoples content. As a writer, I use several tools and techniques to find if anyone is stealing my articles. Yesterday I got an alert that one of my articles published less than 10 days ago was republished in another site. It was a hub on the reasons why not to be friends with ex where I have shared my personal experience on the subject too. It was an article I wrote while in tremendous pain because of an injured right hand and shoulder, and not to mention the cast on my left leg which was making it difficult for me to even sit properly. I wanted to scream and shower abuses at the thief. But I calmed down and tried to read what was going on in the thief’s mind. As far as my little knowledge of Astrology goes, he may have Mercury in his horoscope associated with malefic planets like Rahu which is responsible for what he is (thief).

With the recent content theft which affected so many hubbers and their efforts to take a stolen content directory site down, I decided to write a friendly letter to the content scraper and plagiarist instead of the usual DMCA notification.

I am what I am because of my knowledge and experiences. No one can steal that from me!
I am what I am because of my knowledge and experiences. No one can steal that from me! | Source

Letter to a Content Thief and Response

Given below is the letter I send to Mark (name changed, but he is a Guy).

Dear Mark,

I am at awe seeing that we wrote articles with the same title and even same wordings. It is quite rare that 2 people think and express alike. From your writing it is evident that we even have gone though the same experiences in life. Just like me, you too fell in love at first sight, was blindsided by your Boyfriend and went for a rebound relationship and break up. I won’t be surprised if you tell me that you too wrote about the reasons why being friends with an ex is a bad idea with a right hand and shoulder injury. I am happy to meet you and look forward to hear from you. I hope you get well soon.

Hugs and Warm regards

Anamika S Jain

I was sure that I would get a response back. I wrote the letter to make the person feel guilty without using harsh words. I wanted to make him aware of the pain and efforts I had gone through to write the article. I also wanted to let him know that I am me because of my experiences. It is the experiences I have gone through that have helped me to write articles which would be helpful for many. I wanted him to realize that he cannot be me by stealing my articles. I wanted to tell him that blind stealing can only make him look like a fool in front of his readers. There is no doubt that love at first sight, blindside breakup or a rebound relationship can happen in same sex relationships too. But such instances can be quite rare. As I thought, the response from the content scraper came with just a single word, ‘sorry’. I went back to his site again and found my content removed. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I have managed to get my content removed within an hour of finding it. I was also sure that he would think twice before stealing content again. I may also have succeeded in making him realize that it is wrong to steal the content of people who put their heart and soul on it. And maybe that would stop him from stealing again.

How to deal with Content theft?

How to Deal with Online Plagiarism? What to do when you find that someone has stolen your content?

Many people indulge in the unethical behavior of website content theft. Many say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but believe me that it is not a good feeling when you find your content stolen by crooks projecting it as their own. They not only steal your deserved page views and money you could make out of it, they also can De-motivate you from doing what you are good at, which is writing. While you can be happy that you are the one capable of creating content worthy of stealing, action has to be taken against these content scrapers and plagiarists. Sometimes, it can even damage your reputation in front of search engines if the duplicate material is spotted on more than one website. Thanks to Google's Panda Update which demoted many scraper sites who were previously ranking ahead of the original sites. Hopefully, the Google algorithm will continue to improve.

Some people may not be aware of what a copyright is or re-producing content is wrong. Such people are normally easy to deal with. Once they are made aware of the situation, most of them remove the content with an apology. Some others are aware of the copyright and related rights, but they still steal your content hoping that they would not get caught or they would be able to make some gains out of it before getting caught. These people too most of the time remove the stolen content when they receive the copyright warning. Some thieves are professionals who have become habituated of stealing content. They have neither guilt nor shame even when they get caught. Even if they remove your content after receiving notification, there is no guarantee that they may not steal again. Some content thieves despite of your continuous efforts to get your copyrighted work removed from their website or blog may not respond to you at all. Either they hope that you will get tired trying and give up or they think that you cannot do them any harm. It is up to you if you want to prove them right or wrong.

Here is what you should do if you find that you content is stolen.

  • Go to the site and take a screen shot of the page and keep it for your reference.
  • Find the contact information of the owner of the site. If there is a contact page or email address on the site you may use it to contact the owner regarding your copyrighted material. Sometimes, you may get the email id from the privacy policy of the site, if not check the whois directory for administrative contact details (name, address, phone number and email).
  • Send a copyright warning to the content thief.
  • If no response is received, send a Cease & Desist Letter to the Content Thief giving him a time of 5 days to take action.
  • If you have failed to get a response to that too, send a copyright warning to the web host with proof to take action.
  • If you still see no response from website owner, send a second email about the copyright infringement. If possible, send a snail mail also which can get you a proof of delivery (POD).
  • Send a follow up mail to the Hosting Company. Normally when informed about a copyright infringement offense, the hosting company approaches their client after verifying your claim and asks them to remove the offending material from the site. If the content thief does not heed the warnings of the hosting company, they will usually end up with their website being removed from the web server.
  • If you have not got any response still, go ahead and send a DMCA complaint with Search Engines. Often the thief would end up getting his site De-indexed from search engines and also lose his revenue source.
  • Still angry? Try maligning the copycat by writing articles, poems and forum posts. (Some do that, but I really do not recommend that. I do not prefer to give any sort of publicity or link juice to a thief who has stolen my content). I would suggest writing general articles spreading awareness about copyright and consequences of stealing content. You can also vent your anger by posting on sites that allow you to post your complaint about content theft like ripoffreport dot com, consumerist dot com and complaintsboard dot com if you wish. That should cool you off.
  • Last option with you is prosecution. Approach a good lawyer, and file for damages. Most of the time, just a letter from the lawyer would do the trick. It has for me!

Let us fight plagiarism. Let us not allow anyone to get away with stealing our content.

Copyright © 2012 Anamika S Jain

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Comments 47 comments

cperuzzi profile image

cperuzzi 9 months ago from Freehold, NJ

Awesome article. I hat it when someone takes my articles and then translates into another language. They were stupid enough to steal pictures that I took with my iPhone.

Incidentally, I keep the original content of my articles as a word copy on my hard drive.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Your method of dealing with this content thief was kind and considerate and, thankfully, it worked for you. I like your approach and your way of explaining your point. Unfortunately, so many of the content grabbers are not affected by the guilt of their deeds. This is still going on quite a bit these days.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

When I was writing for another site, someone out of the US stole some of my articles. I contacted him directly, explained that what he was doing was wrong, and he removed the scraped articles. However, he continued to leave copied articles of others on his site! It is interesting that you had a broken arm and leg...I am going through the same exact thing right now due to a fall! Fortunately, though, nobody has stolen any of my articles for awhile...probably because they are not as good as yours lol!


cfin profile image

cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

Great article and wonderful spirit shown.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Many of my articles are being stolen. But yes you are right, that the thieves can not become me.....


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Great hub - I really like how you approached this. Sometimes it is better to kill with kindness. Yeah - this might not work all the time, but maybe it will most of the time.


purplelandmark profile image

purplelandmark 4 years ago from India

Don't worry bout him Anamika coz inspector google will take care of him and his content. Google always checks the publishing date of similar content and gives a second rating to the latter one..... So even if he steals ur expressions he wont be able to feel it.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

My content has not been stolen yet, but I will keep your points in mind if I find my contents are plagiarized.


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

BigEzine is no longer visible online. Looks like the arrows found the target. :)


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@raciniwa Talking of BigEzine, stealing the work of an individual writer is one thing and stealing the work of a community or group is another. We have a wonderful and supportive community in HubPages that the guys behind big ezine was left with no option other than take the site down.

@Rebecca E. I normally send a copyright warning or a mail informing that I have found my copyrighted article re-published on the site to the thief first. I wait for 2 days and if I still don't see any response, proceed to the next step. Majority of times, the initial letter works for me. Thanks for the appreciation.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

Amamika-- I never thought about the person taking the stuff down, I had to in fact use a DMCA notice before they did, but I am glad for you that they did take this down. I shall have to try it again, and send anyone a note and see what they do. I am sorry I sent yet another note to someone about my content, and then read your hub... so I was still in a bad place-- this is a wonderful hub.


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

Great hub Annamika, i hope they are now shivering with fright for they know that those they offended would stand up for their right...


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@shamelabboush I know... but a lot of people like to take shortcuts than really do the work themselves. Yes, it is frustrating when you see someone do it.Thanks for the visit and comment.


shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 4 years ago

Hello dear. It is really disgusting in a way to see someone so easily taking your hard work and toil (not to mention private experience) and brag about it. It's frustrating.


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@RNMSN Well, I am happy too that the site is down.

@Deborah Brooks That's is right Deborah. The HubPages community stood up together to ensure that culprits do not get away stealing our contents.

@Rebecca E. I seriously do not understand what you mean by your statement. Regarding the Guy who stole one of my hubs and put it in his dating related blogspot site, I think he learned his lesson already. He does use adsense, but it is not my intention to take anyone's bread and butter. He was good enough to take down my content immediately and even say sorry. So I did not see any reasons for chasing him and punishing him. I mostly leave people who take down my content from their sites after getting the notification. So far I have gone to the extent of legal action only against 2-3 people who refused to remove my content despite many requests. And 2 of them ended up paying a price for displaying my content on their site and one Guy took the content down after receiving the notification from lawyer. So you see, I try to be my good self as far as possible and live by the principle, 'Live and let live'.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

I think you've done a great job at telling them, and yet not making the whole thing-- which really is maddening!--into something far worse-- for you. I wish you all the best. ( note I still think that the website ect should do more to tell you about stolen/copied hubs... especially if that website has AdSense on it!)


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I am so proud of all of us that worked together and now the site is down.. so glad it is over .. It made me sick.. thanks for writing this.

Debbie


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

:) so glad this is done and over with!! the site is down!!


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@lord de cross Yes, the Hubbers should file for damages. Let people know that they cannot get away by stealing content and then deleting it after putting the writers into lot of trouble. The writers deserve compensation for using their content. But regarding the TM claim of being framed, I think I will still give the guy benefit of doubt. If he is framed, then we are fighting against a faceless thief. TM should prove himself 'not guilty' and help nab the culprit.


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@RNMSN Yes, together we got the site down. It was the power of unity which worked. We have such an awesome community here at HubPages.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Molometer is right on the money. Besides getting this site down...we could find a lawyer, who could fill a class action against these people...that think they were frame. Unbelievable!!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

I really believe that we are the ones that took it down :) we stand strong!!


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@maggs224 That's what I love about the HubPages Community. No matter whatever differences we have, we stand united when a fellow hubber is affected. And as you may have already heard, the site is now down.

@suziecat7 I agree with you. Because of the BE content theft, many hubbers were de-motivated. Some even vowed not to write again on HP till the problem is sorted out.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

There is nothing worse for a writer than having their work stolen. Gret Hub and advice.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain

An excellent Hub on an upsetting subject it is so good to see Hubbers uniting in a common cause, though not good to have this particular cause happening. I hope that it will soon be sorted out with a positive ending for all the Hubbers that are affected :D


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

Thanks for the visit and appreciation friends.

@molometer You have a point here. I have already asked a friend in Delhi who is a criminal lawyer to investigate on these guys. There is no way I will let these guys go without paying a price.

@Peggy W None of the authors in BE site exist. The letter I send was not the BE webmaster.

@fpherj48 I take pride is what I am. My title is 100% true. No one can steal your talent.

@Victoria Lynn The webmaster I send this letter to is not that of BE. Though I wrote a hub on it, my intention is not to malign the Blogger who copied my content. molometer has a point. We should take action against the site together.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Interesting hub! Molometer makes a good point about a class action suit possibility? As does Marcy--Why does every individual have to do something, since the whole site seems to be nothing but copied material.

Anamika--I'm curious as to what site you used your letter with. Not the current thieving site, was it? They don't respond at all.

I like your hub. Voted it up and all that. I just hope we beat that site soon. They WILL pay one way or the other. That is true!


internetgeek profile image

internetgeek 4 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

This is really informative and useful. You have provided very useful instructions on what to do when the content is stolen. Thanks for sharing and voted up :)


janiek13 profile image

janiek13 4 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

I have a lot of trouble getting these sites to remove my copied content. I am glad that you were successful, I wonder if that is the reason my traffic is so low. I work hard in my writing as I am sure that we all do, and it is hurtful to find that someone else is stealing it. Great hub!


Express10 profile image

Express10 4 years ago from East Coast

Great hub I am sorry this happened to you. The tips you provided are a good help to those who are victims of this type of theft.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

I love your TITLE! It is powerful and true! These pathetic thieves can steal all they want....copying words created by someone else.....But, they are empty people with no pride. They must steal the substance and heart of another, in order to feel alive.

But, the truth is, they are really DEAD.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I just tried your approach writing an email to the thief saying things like I thought that it was funny that I didn't see him at our family dinner table at night, nor playing with my cousins, etc. Will see if it works as your message did.

Another thing I discovered. Checking the travel section where I have written a number of hubs...it only went back to March 30th...so all of my hubs written earlier cannot even be checked on this site. Thus, one has to check within a few days of publishing a new hub as to whether it has been stolen or it gets lost after page 50 on their site of what is readily shown.

It is Easter weekend and I should be thinking good thoughts. Too bad it is clouded with thoughts of this thievery! Wishing you a pleasant weekend!

Sharing this with my followers and tweeted.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I just found my very personal hub titled Good Old Days of Growing Up in the 1950s that was filled with personal photos on this same site. Stupid people that they are, they did not even match the right sex as the "supposed" writer. I will try your approach to the so-called Matthew Ellis who has written 197 articles since joining on March 30, 2012...same day as the posting of my hub. Prolific "writer" thief! I am really angry! Will see if using your approach works.

Does anyone know how long this site has been stealing our hubs?


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Anamika S,

As always, you have written a very useful Hub. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

Very useful and interesting hub on this tricky issue.

Considering that this bigezine site has stolen so many hubs. Wouldn't it be an idea for those hubbers to join together and find a lawyer to prosecute a class action against the site's owners?

I am sure there is a lawyer or two out there, that would take it on a 'no win no fee' basis.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Anamika,

You are a lady and truly professional. This is detailed, helpful and together I believe our community can oust Bigezine from the internet forever.

Thank you. Voted UP & UAI. Hugs, mar.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 4 years ago

Thanks for the information. I just became aware of a site called bigezine.com that is stealing many of our hubs and publishing them under various authors names. I am furious!


santhosh8611 profile image

santhosh8611 4 years ago from Bangalore

thanks for your helpful article. We have to ban them from using internet.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An extremely well-written and practical hub! These terrible news spread across HubPages for the past few days! BigEzine, content thieves and all! We should not let them get away with our precious work being stolen! Your list of suggestions are very helpful! We should deal with content thieves in a diplomatic manner but at the same time ensure that they make an apology and make immediate amends.

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared.


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Thanks for such a useful article with the helpful information needed to get these creeps banned forever!


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@amithak50 Sometimes people copy paste your content thinking it is okay for them to do that(some forum posts and yahoo answers are such examples). They are not aware of the consequences of re-producing content or rights of the copyright holder. But some people do it intentionally and we should never let them get away doing it. Thanks for your response.

@Marcy Goodfleisch I agree with you. When the thief's are professionals they leave you with no option but to take legal action against them. I am also taking the same step you have taken to handle the BigE theft. I am even thinking of filing a complaint on the consumer forum against their PR partners like prsinc for displaying their misleading press release which is a bunch of lies. We are a united community and we would not let thieves go scot-free. Thanks for the comment Marcy!

@Silver Poet I agree with your karma point, but we need to do what we need to do. Thanks for dropping in.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

The thieves do not realize that what goes around comes around. It's bad "karma" to steal.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I love the graphic you used to illustrate this hub! Hilarious!

You are kinder than I am - I'm glad your strategy worked, but stealing is stealing, and the Big E site in question knows what it did. It was done deliberately, and fake authors' names were issued to each hub that was copied in a transparent effort to cover their tracks.

I have little or no pity for that type of brazen, capricious theft of copyrighted works, and I'm going after them through the legal channels. I may send an email to the address listed in the long forum thread, but my hope is that they get shut down forever, and that somehow they're prevented from ever doing this again.

By the way - I did send the cease and desist message, I have emailed their site, and tackled this more ways than I can list. It makes no sense to me that each of the hubs they've copied has to be addressed individually by each writer. The site knows what it did. The entire site needs to be emptied of stolen content. Which basically means it will be an empty site.


amithak50 profile image

amithak50 4 years ago from India

I think we should do this but some persons are really very stub born and will not remove your content than we have to deal with them in serious way like sending DMCA notice to their webhost,telling google to deindex their page ,reporting to google adsense if they are using on their site. It requires lot of work but what we can do ,we have to stop these monsters


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India Author

@lord de cross I too believe that the content thieves will pay a price for their deeds. Thanks for the comment friend.

@RNMSN I normally try to be nice. But if my patience is tested, Beware! I can get dirty.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

you are a better person than I anamikas...I am still mad

but I will take your advice and send the cease and desist...I did this in reverse...I did the DMCA first ...oh well...thank you for your insight...you helped me cool down a little :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Thoroughly agreeing with you Anamika. This is for sure! They will pay here... or in hell.

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