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From Where I Sit - When Someone Steals Your Work

Updated on March 22, 2014

Stealing Your Work Makes It Stolen Property

© Mary McShane
© Mary McShane | Source

Published on February 16, 2014. Mary McShane, All Rights Reserved

Help! Someone stole my HubPages article!

I made the above picture hoping to grab your attention.

If you look at the characters and icons in the photo, I think some of the symbolism is very fitting.

Take the pirate. We associate pirates with stolen booty or stolen property.

The lady with the baby carriage - for those who consider that their writing is like their baby, precious and wanting to keep it safe.

The cartoon eyes - to raise awareness that we need to be more vigilant. The green monster for those who are jealous and must steal because they can't write their own content.

The pile of money - for what you stand to lose from someone stealing your work.

What do you do when someone has stolen one, two, or more HubPages articles? On another site, what do you do when they have hijacked your whole website?

Someone did it to me. Not only did they steal my hubs, but they took my herbal and supplements blog and hijacked it word for word, even creating a new blog with the same title name but they added the word "and" in the title to be able to register it. Their blog looked exactly like mine. In every respect.

I say "looked" because mine is now gone. I deleted it because Google refused to remove their URL because with the word "and" in their title, it made the title different than mine. I don't think they even looked past the title at the content.

I wrote back that my name was all over the blog posts; Google said I had to prove ownership of it. My posts with my name were clearly timestamped with date and time, and my name and my sister's name were mixed in many of the paragraphs, listed as sources and references. How do I prove more ownership than that?

The person who stole my blog even left my name on every post and in the copy, still Google said I had to prove it was my work. The publishing dates were the same. They copied it within 12 hours of when I posted.

Other than the time stamp and my name as author, I don't know what else Google expects from me to prove authorship. I am thoroughly disgusted with Google.

ANOTHER SITE WHO COPIED MY HUB:

CNN has my hub What Supplements to Take on Your Diet Plan at the following link. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1058046

I wrote to them on February 10, 2014 and completed their form to ask them to remove my work from their site. After 2 days of no answer, I wrote again. I filled out the form they requested a second time. Today is February 16, 2014 and I still have received no answer.

On February 14, 2014 I completed the Google Webmaster URL form. Friday, I signed in to check the status and the word "denied" is listed. When I click on "denied," Google said I am not the author of the article. Hailey Adams is.

If you look at the name on the above link, haileyadams2 is the one who stole the article to post it on CNN. Her name has a line through it, meaning she no longer is employed or a member of their website.

http://ireport.cnn.com/people/haileyadams2

I am weary from doing this.

I now have 13 hubs, one complete blog with title, and 3 blog posts from a second blog that have been stolen and put on other websites. I filed DMCA forms and Google webmaster removal forms and I get nowhere.

Two of the people who stole my hubs live in Yogakarta India and I've written at least 4 times to ask them to remove my article from their website. Yesterday I received this email from one of them:

"To marymcshane.hubpages.com

We republished your article and your name appears in the byline and at the end as proof you were the author. Because we included your name, we are not required to remove it from our site. Thank you for contributing to our health forum."

UGH!! I did not contribute! They stole it.

Below are screenshots of the steps I have taken trying to get in touch with one website owner. After all I did with filing forms, etc. I am at a standstill until I hear back.

Update on this hub: On 2/25/2014, CNN sent the following email:

Hi Mary,
This email confirms that CNN.com has received your notification of claimed infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 512 (c)(1)(c) and has removed or disabled access to the material that is claimed to be infringing.

#################

Hooray! Another win for us - the good guys! My thanks to wilderness and Writer Fox for their invaluable help in directing me and pushing me to be persistent. Thank you.

Sorry for going on about this but...

The following was my original hub on this topic.

When I got no results from my efforts, I inserted the above text capsule.

I was going to leave it at that, but thought you might be better able to help me if you saw the screenshots I have included below regarding my efforts to get results. If you have time, I'd appreciate your feedback on the above, and any directions you can give me about what I may have done wrong with the following info.

Thank you.

Proving Ownership Should Be Easy

With my name was all over the blog posts, Google said I had to prove ownership of the blog. Posts with my name were clearly stamped with date and time.

My name, Mary McShane and my sister's name Nancy McShane, were mixed in the text of many paragraphs, and listed as sources and references.

The person who stole my blog even left my name at end of every post (Posted by Mary McShane) and in the paragraphs. Still Google said I had to prove it was my work. The publishing dates were the same. They stole it within 12 hours of when I posted.

It shouldn't come down to who posted first. It should come down to whose name is weaved into the paragraphs proving they wrote it. Especially if the thief was stupid enough to leave my name there.

Copyright Infringement: Pursue it or not?


When your work shows up with someone else's name on it, you should be alert.

I was not.

I let the novelty of getting established on several writing sites get in the way of due diligence of keeping track of my work.

Guilty! However, those who stole my work are more guilty. And I think they may know it.

Do you know what to do about your work being stolen?

I went to Hubpages FAQ's and I followed the directions there.

http://hubpages.com/help/copyright_infringement

For anyone thinking of starting this process, you have to decide if it is even worth it. You have to know what your expectations are and if you're willing to pursue it to the point of putting out real money for lawyers to accomplish the means to that end.

For me, if it was a manuscript, I could see putting out money for legal advice. But as you can see, I am talking about hub articles and blog posts, hardly worth spending money on lawyers.

Steps I Took When My Work Was Stolen

  • I had to track down the sites who stole my hubs and my blog. Google wants precise information when you report websites to them. So you have to have your ducks in a row or they will kick out your complaint because they do not take the time to sift through websites looking for the exact part you are citing. They want to know the 5 W's. Who, What, Where, When, and Why. They want you to show them (cite) the passages with the specific wording about your complaint, so be prepared to hold their hand and lead them to it.
  • The Who, What, Where and When are easy, just point them to the website that has your content. I skipped the Why part; I don't need to know the reason why. Maybe because they are stupid and can't think up their own content. Maybe since stealing content on the internet has become an acceptable practice, they feel it is free for all.
  • I had to locate the owner of the stolen website. I took the name of the website and went to Google and entered: who owns healthylivingbox.net? See screenshots for how I followed the step by step directions.

What can we do?

Is there any recourse? Can websites be made to take down your work?

What is to keep them from starting a new website or blog and continuing to copy your work?

I'd appreciate any feedback you can give me.

Thank you for any help or advice you can give me.

After posting in an HP forum about Amazon Affiliate program cancelling my account after 90 days of no referrals and no sales, in the process of chatting, I mentioned that some of my Editor's Choice hubs stopped or slowed down in getting traffic (views) and it was suggested that maybe they had been stolen.

I highlighted two small paragraphs and clicked Search and sure enough, I found two hubs that were republished on other websites, one with my credentials still on it, and one with other people's names as copyright owner. The blog that was stolen in entirety had paragraphs from me saying: Advice from my sister, Nancy McShane, licensed nutritionist.... And they left that in there! I seriously doubt they have a twin sister named Nancy McShane!

My first knee-jerk reaction was rip them a new a**hole by firing off an email to the website owner.

But I chose to follow advice of others and report them to Google. I used Google's Webmaster URL removal but got no results in my favor.

Under that section, it says click here to file a different report. I gave them the URL of my hubs, a sample of the wording that was stolen and the URL of where my work was found. Because people who steal are not discriminating, I had to include a lot of text so Google won't have to look all through the website for a few words.

After this experience, I started including my name (by Mary McShane) directly in the title of my articles and in several paragraphs as well. I use COPYSCAPE logo, but in my opinion, it isn't worth the ink that it was made with. But it is there as a deterrant. The people who stole my work copied everything, even the COPYSCAPE logo, my photos, my polls, and my name - everywhere. And still Google said it was not my content.

I wrote to them again today to point out "specifically" where my name was in the body of the article so they won't have to go on a search and rescue mission looking for it. I used quotations and capital letters. They can't miss it now. Ok, yes they can. lol

Google's "denied" said the specific content I cited was not found on their websites. I went back and looked and it is all still there, so I don't know what they are talking about.

There has got to be an easier way of getting satisfaction. CNN should have answered, but they did not. MSNBC should have answered with a blurb that they removed my article, instead they wrote asking me to be a publisher. Bloggers will continue to copy other people's work and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it.

I'm sorry if I repeated myself a lot here, I tried putting this hub together a little at a time because I got so exasperated with the process.

After all this nonsense, I hope you can see why I am so frustrated about this.

Just since the end of January, at least three times a week, I'm finding myself checking to see if I've been copied. Even though I tell myself it is paranoia, when I find yet another copied article, then I know it is not paranoia. I almost hate to look anymore. I don't know what to do.

I really don't want to stop writing here or anywhere else.

I welcome any and all advice. Thank you.

Wordpress copyright infringement complaints

Wordpress seems to be THE place to hang out and post stolen content. Look at all those complaints! Out of 1763 copyright owners, there are 1299 complaints against the wordpress domain for copyright infringement
Wordpress seems to be THE place to hang out and post stolen content. Look at all those complaints! Out of 1763 copyright owners, there are 1299 complaints against the wordpress domain for copyright infringement | Source

This is just one of the sites who stole my hubs. healthylivingbox.net expires June 2014.

This shows who owns the site, where they live, their email address, their phone number and country of origin.  The email, phone number and website do not connect. This domain expires June 2014, then we'll have to see where he sets up a new shop.
This shows who owns the site, where they live, their email address, their phone number and country of origin. The email, phone number and website do not connect. This domain expires June 2014, then we'll have to see where he sets up a new shop. | Source

You can use godaddy.com or whois.com

If you use godaddy.com, this is the 2nd screen before it displays your requested info

Landing page for whois.domaintools.com

This is where I ended up when I clicked the link for "whois" domain tools
This is where I ended up when I clicked the link for "whois" domain tools | Source

Copied Content

Have you ever had a hub or article copied to another website?

See results

© 2014 Mary McShane

Comments

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  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    I can understand your anger and frustration Mary. I don't know how these Internet pirates can live with themselves. They must have no morals at all. I can't give you any advice, you seem to have taken all the steps available. I have lost any confidence in Google caring about stolen work though. I won't even check to see if any of my hubs have been stolen. I don't want to get upset and be helpless to do anything about it. Thanks for bringing it to attention though, maybe someone can suggest something.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I think you will find, Mary, that this happens more than you realize. I don't even know the number of articles I have had stolen but it is quite a few......your frustration is understandable. I don't have any suggestions.... none.....I'm after bigger fish than the online community so I don't give it much thought, but that's just me. I'm sure many writers will not understand that and that is fine. I sympathize with you and hope it resolves itself in your favor.

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    I'm sorry about the theft of your hubs and blog posts, Mary, and wish I had proven advice to offer you. I only know about one of my hubs that was pirated, and after I completed the DMCA form it disappeared from Wordpress.

    However, I've not been diligent about guarding my online work, and your comment about some of your hubs losing traffic worries me since I suddenly lost about half my traffic, including for my best-performing hub. This article makes me realize I should check to see if any of my hubs are stolen now.

    You've gone to such lengths to stop the plagiarists, and I'm very disappointed that Google, CNN and MSNBC do not respect your rights. It may be that publishing online is becoming too risky if we value our intellectual property.

    Good luck with your quest. Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    One more brief comment, Mary....I noticed the name of the Turkish person who stole your work. Perhaps you should write a hub entitled, "Mikail Yilmaz is a Plagiarist of Internet Writing," or "Mikail Yilmaz Plagiarized my Online Writing" and do the same with each individual (or corporate) plagiarist. It isn't slander if it's the truth!

    However, CNN and MSNBC no doubt have battalions of corporate attorneys just waiting to pounce. On the other hand, if you show proof of your ownership to THEIR attorneys, it might get some relief for you from those quarters.

    Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    I just copied the beginning paragraph of my best hub (that normally gets the most traffic) and searched for it. Now I feel sick! The entire first screen of Google search contents filled up with MY WORDS attributed to numerous other people and companies! It looks as though I'm in for the same level of work and frustration as you, Mary, but I won't just sit still and not fight back. I'm glad I read your hub today. Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Well, Mary, I feel your pain...literally! Ever since writing my previous comment (above) I've been tracking down and sending DMCA notices to plagiarists of my most popular hub, traffic of which is down 50%. The drop in traffic to that one hub significantly reduces my HP income.

    Here's a warning to anyone whose work is stolen and published on ArticleCity.com: Once you send the DMCA, you will receive this notice from the host site: "Thank you for contacting Articlecity.com. If your email was sent to request the removal of an article or link from Articlecity.com, there is a $25 fee for each article or link removal request. Please send a PayPal payment to admin@paypal.com with the full URL that you want removed. Requests are completed within 48 hrs. Thank You. Articlecity.com"

    WHAT??? They want me to PAY them to remove my stolen work from their site? By the way, their page full of qualifiers notes that any redress must be taken in a court of law in the Republic of the Philippines.

    I need to go lie down.

    Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Back again to report that the ONE hub I checked had three screens (more than 20 websites) where my initial paragraph was copied and pasted into their promotional material. I began the DMCA process, and one nice person responded to me by email, assuring me she'd already removed it. I don't expect that type of response across the board. (Two were used for wiki answers in translation--one in French, the other in Russian.) And then there are all my other hubs to check.

    One thing this has made me realize (thanks to you) is that I should remove all of my fiction from HP, as well as the true Tinkerbell stories that I intend to publish as children's stories with the original photos. That will leave my HP account depleted of almost everything but factual articles, and I'll have to keep a close eye on them.

    I'll continue to write hubs about topics that are strong interests of mine. Otherwise, I'm going to concentrate on self-publishing and selling my creative work.

    Thanks again, Mary, for showcasing the major problem of plagiarism online and getting my attention. Did this ever get my attention!!!

    Take care...Jaye

  • Mary McShane profile image
    Author

    Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    If you have original content - short stories, personal interest stories, etc. YES , get them off here or they will become someone else's Personal Interest stories. I have a twin sister and 3 other sets of twin sisters and someone took my personal story and copied it, interjected her "quips" about twin ness into my article to make it her own. I AM SO MAD!

    I am on Facebook because I checked to see why my GMO hubs stopped getting traffic...no traffic at all in the last 2 days. I found a FB page who copied more than 25 hubber articles and I am writing it up in forum right now. I hope to have it ready to hit POST in the next half hour.

    I am so sorry you are having the same troubles as I am, but I am glad you are able to "know" now why your traffic fell off and where else your content has been hanging out when it is not being viewed on HP.

  • Mary McShane profile image
    Author

    Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

    I feel really sorry for what has happened to you, I hope things get cleared up and all is smooth sailing again.

  • Mary McShane profile image
    Author

    Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Vellur - thank you.

    In the process of tracking down more of my stuff, I found a Facebook page who copied content. Here is the forum post with the complete list.

    http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/120244

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    I helped remove about 40 silly Wordpress article spinners from Wordpress!

  • Mary McShane profile image
    Author

    Mary McShane 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    That's wonderful! Wanna give CNN & MSNBC a crack? lol

    This is getting seriously out of hand. I just published a list in a forum of over 25 hubbers that a FB page stole. I have 18 now that are stolen (only 1 on FB), and there is nothing that can be done about this. And it is not fair :(

    I think if HP would disable the copy paste feature, it would go a long way to deterring theft. It will frustrate people who are trying to do it and they will move on to other sites to steal.

  • mecheshier profile image

    mecheshier 3 years ago

    My goodness. This is horrible. Especially when a site has your copyright article and they want you to pay to have it removed. And then Google giving the runaround.. All I have to say about this is &**&))(*^^( .... There has to be a solution.....

    Thank you for the Great Hub and info. Voted up for useful, interesting and awesome!

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

    So sorry this happened to you but thanks for sharing. A great hub and voted up.

    Eddy.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    I know how this feels I had my work stolen when I wrote for another site and it happened to me a few times unfortunately I could not do much about that problem. It is sad for those who call themselves writers when all they do is steal their people's work. So sorry for what you have to go through from such thoughtless beings. It sounds a problematic issue that you now have to face up to.

  • Mary McShane profile image
    Author

    Mary McShane 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    DDE, I'm still dealing with it. This week one hub was copied to 4 blog type websites. It seems like I'm doing more chasing than writing anymore. I have a couple of hubs waiting in the wings, but now I'm afraid to publish any of them. Thank you for telling what happened to you and for your comment.

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