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I've got someone stealing my articles and uploading them to multiple domain names. When I send my DMCA notices to the hosting company, the company takes the individual pages down, but nothing more. The same person then steals another of my articles and puts it on a different domain name hosted with the same company. I can tell it's the same person because they have a personal name server that only they use. I can also tell from the date on the pages that they were uploaded after the previous pages were taken down.
Jetting off DMCA notices every couple of weeks for the same thief is getting tiresome. However, the hosting company seem very reluctant to do anything more than taking down the individual pages as I report them. Presumably, this is because they're being paid to host the domains these pages are appearing on. Do I have any grounds for a complaint against the hosting company? They are US based, so might there be a regulatory body I can report them to?
That's incredibly annoying! As Matt says, try checking the host's abuse policy to see if there's anything about repeat offences, it may help to quote that to them - and if you're dealing with the same person all the time, ask to speak to their manager.
Have you also reported these issues to Google, to get the material removed from the search engine results? Normally I don't bother, because I prefer to get the site taken down - but in this case, that's not working. Google does take into account repeat offences, so if you keep reporting him to Google, his whole site will get wiped from the SERPs. Also, if he's using Adsense on the site, report him to Adsense and he'll lose his Adsense account.
Have you specifically asked the company to close the user's account? It might be worth summarizing how many notices you have sent about the same user and explicitly making that correct. Each notice may have been actioned by different staff at different times so there is no one really noticing they are a repeat offender leading them them wasting a lot of staff time on take downs.
I've pointed out the repeat offenses to them and asked how many offenses it will take before the account is closed. They don't answer or acknowledge the repeat offenses. They just say they've forwarded the notice to their customer and will remove the page in 48 hours if there's no reply. They're good at removing pages at least.
Earlier, they actually had the cheek to say I should report all the URLs at the same time, then I won't have to send so many. When I told them this would have been impossible, and cited the upload dates, they just ignored what I said and replied with the customary "forwarded notice to customer" "remove in 48 hours". No acknowledgement of repeat offenses.
I've sent one last email just now. I specifically asked for the accounts to be closed and listed all the URLs I've reported, when I reported them, and when the newer ones were uploaded by the thief. I also took a screenshot so I have proof once this latest one is deleted.
For all but one of the complaints, it's the same staff member dealing with them. If I don't get a straight answer this time, I'm going to have to report them somehow. They obviously want to keep this customer because he's paying them money.
Ok, I just got this response:
Thank you for the update but no further information can be provided as to how we handle these legal issues other than for us to maintain safe harbor status we notify the customer with the documents provided. I do see that each complaint has been resolved within the 48 hour time frame and that each complaint is not for the exact same content.
We'll let you know once your latest notification has been resolved.
So in other words, they're probably not going to do anything. If there's another infringement, I'll have to take this to the next stage. Any regulatory bodies out there for hosting companies?
You may want to see if they have an abuse or other contact as many hosting companies have policies related to chronic or repeated violations.
If you can find something in their terms of service to quote to them, that might be helpful as well.
Thanks Matthew. I didn't see anything in their conditions about repeat or multiple violations. The guy replying is their "Abuse and Security Department Manager". Though, maybe I could try some other email addresses listed on the site if this continues.
I was going to tell you to skip the hosting company and go after the ISP. It will take a bit of work but once you locate the ISP, they are obligated to close the person's account.
However, upon reflection, the thief has only to reopen another account with a new email address (yahoo, hotmail, etc.) other than what the ISP offers and he is back in business.
I think your only other recourse is to go with an intellectual property attorney. Contact EFF - Electronic Frontier Foundation and ask their advice. They will work on a gratis basis for phone consult or for fee if it goes to court. Keep all your documentation.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maybe? If not, they may be able to direct you to the proper place. I once filed a complaint with the FTC and they directed me to a specific organization.
Edited to add....
Or what about this: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us
See where it says "Internet."
How about reporting them directly go Google?
I usually report plagiarists to both the host and Google as well, but I *think* all Google does, unless Google happens to be the host (ie. Blogger) is remove the site from search engine results as opposed to taking the page/website down.
If I get them removed from search, I'll be just as busy doing that as I am reporting them to the host. The host does at least get the pages removed when I report them, which is a better solution than getting them removed in google. With all the different sites he uses, I don't think he could get done for repeat infractions this way.
Thanks, I will definitely give that a try if there's another infringement.
Also check your list of followers and traffic stats to see exactly who is viewing your work and if it is being picked up by another Hubber perhaps you can find the connection. If it is then you may be able to have the top guys here do something about who you suspect is the plagiarist.
Well, the latest infringement was removed remarkably quickly this time. Apparently the thief responded to the notice and took it down. Here's the email I got:
"The material mentioned has now been removed from the site and provided with the following reply:
'Actually I've made some changes that should take care of this issue for the
If you have any further issues. Please let us know.
It seems like they're trusting the thief. It also seems like an excuse not to close the person's accounts. Regardless, if it happens again, I'm going to take this up a notch. I replied saying it won't change how I approach future infractions.
It's also a bit bizarre that they sent that to me. I hope this hosting company isn't colluding with the thief, or they're one of the same. It's a small company called seowebhosting.net. If the thief really has made "changes" then perhaps they've put a rule into their web scraping program to not steal articles from me. That doesn't help anyone else who's having their stuff stolen though.
If the content thief is running their own server, this could explain a lot about the repetition.
I recommend you file complaints to the domain registrar they are using.
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