How to successfully takedown copyright content

How to successfully takedown copyright content - TutLinks
How to successfully takedown copyright content – TutLinks

There are many occasions where your original content that comprise of innovative writings were stolen from your blog and copied without proper attribution or consent from the original author. This post focuses on the proven & reliable ways to succeed on copyright content removal from websites which published the content you own without your consent.

This post will help you to identify

  • A note to the frustrated original content Owners
  • Most common ways of copying or stealing content from your website
  • Tools to help track about how your website and its content is being spread all over the internet.
  • Ways to detect websites that copy your content
  • Difference between Data and Content
  • Verified and Recommended Steps to takedown re-posted or copied content on other websites

A note to the frustrated original content Owners

Following the steps mentioned in this post might not bring you the instant result of taking down your copied content abruptly. This is my personal experience and the steps I articulated actually worked for me. Try me! The fastest response was 2 days from the date reported to the original website owner and the deadly slow response was 70 days to deal with annoying website owner who doesn’t respect original content and abuse copyright laws.

Most common ways of copying or stealing content from your website

Copy cats might attack your website in any form. But the most common practices adopted by the copyright abusers are using WordPress plugins to embed html documents of the intending article or blog post on their personal website as an iframe.

The other form of stealing content include manually copy and paste the text and image content. This is not limited to scraping which is performed automatically using programming languages such as Python, C#, PHP and frameworks and tools such as SeleniumbeautifulsoupScrapy to mention a few. The purpose of these tools and programming languages is to build ethical software applications. But the fact is that these tools could be easily abused for the unethical purposes such as copying content without permission, excessive data scraping that leads to consumption of bandwidth etc,.

Tools to help track about how your website and its content is being spread all over the internet.

You often want to analyze the behavior of the visitors and your presence across various search engines in the internet space. For such details, there are lot of free and paid website analytics dashboards available. All you need to do is just place the respective analytics tracking id on all the pages to help you analyze the behavior of your website and your website visitors and search patterns that lead to your website and external websites that are linking to your website etc.,

Following are the list of analytics and search console tools that you can use for free.

Ways to detect websites that copy your content

  • Links section of Google Search Console or Yandex Webmasters
  • Google AdSense Webcaches
  • Search for your content on search engines

Let’s look at each of these in detail and understand about how to detect websites that copy your content.

Links section of Google Search Console or Yandex Webmasters

Google Search Console and Yandex Webmaster have links section where you can see the external websites referring to a page of your website. This info will help you identify whether the external website only refers to a link pointing to your website or completely copying and pasting the original content from your website.

You need to understand one major difference between referring to a link of your website versus copying all the content of a page. The former method of referring links is good and help your website drive more visitors. This in SEO terms is often referred as Backlinks and it is a driving factor to boost traffic to your website depending on the referring websites’ popularity.

Copying and dumping the whole content as is by an external site leads to duplicate content and search engines will push the popular website to the top regardless of the source of original content. Over the period of time, there is a chance of a website being punished by search engines by too much duplicate content.

Google AdSense Webcaches

You can also leverage the Google AdSense to help you identify if anyone has embedded the web page or article you own as an iframe. Assuming you have AdSense configured for your website, the Sites section shows webcaches as one of the sites in addition to the verified list of websites that you are currently configured to monetize under.

One of the possible reasons that webcaches is showing up under the sites section of AdSense is that your web page having AdSense code is embedded as an iframe of the external website whose top level domain or custom domain does not owned by you. This is also one of the indicator that your content is being embedded as an iframe on external website. But so far, google AdSense doesn’t penalize you for being a victim of such embedding iframe.

Search for your content on search engines

In case you have not configured Google Search Console or any of the analytics tracking code for your website, you can try searching the content from your article and see if any other websites have posted exactly similar content. Thus you can identify the external websites that are pretending your original content as their own.

Difference between Data and Content

I see a major difference between the terms Data and Content. Data is something that is available in bulk of a particular feature or content. Let’s say you have email addresses, first name, last name of all the employees of an organization. Another example of Data could be the lifestyle of various breeds of chimpanzees living on the planet Earth.

Content is something that detail about particular feature or entity. An example could be the documentation about the research outcome of a particular test your perform between to atomic particles.

Verified and Recommended Steps to takedown re-posted or copied content on other websites

One may ask scraping of publicly available data or open data is legal. In fact the US court fully legalized website scraping and technically prohibited it. But you may restrict the content that you have generated by investing lot of time, effort, research and learning by adopting one or all of the following free approaches. It is not guaranteed that the below approaches will definitely lead to copyright content removal on infringing websites. But from my personal experience, they have been proven to work 99% of the time.

Step 1 Write a Content Copyright policy and place a © in the footer section

Spend some time to document how you want your content to be respected and referred on external websites. If possible add a detailed page and put all the points that you want to cover in this section.

Also do not forget to add © yourwebsite.com and the current year. This is a kind of indication that your website is copyright protected and there is a copyright law that you have defined.

Step 2 Place DMCA Protection Badges in the footer

To protect your website’s content from copyright issues, you can sign up for free on DMCA and Add your website. Then you need to Setup a DMCA Protection Badge for your website. Once the badge is on your page for 30 days it becomes “Protected by DMCA.com”, this means DMCA will do the takedown for free if someone steals your content. There is a maximum of only 1 takedown limit per year on free accounts, but you can upgrade to protection pro for more links if found out that needs to be taken down.

Step 3 Contact the website authorities where your content is re-posted without your permission

Despite of the fact that you have protected your website with copyright law and DMCA, if you still find your content being copied on external websites, try reaching out the fake publisher who claims the copied content. See if you can find the Publisher’s contact such as email and social media profile or LinkedIn profile. For quicker response, if you find an active twitter handle of the member to talk to, try tweeting about the copyright content removal that you own is published on their website without your consent and request them to takedown the URL.

In case of no response or the fake publisher denies to takedown the url or remove the content, try reaching out the website owner by looking for contact page or any other contact methods such as email, phone, social media profiles. Do not enter into arguments with them if they deny because the internet is still a beautiful and ethical place and has the balance of both good and bad. You will find the resolution for your copyright issue not quickly but absolutely.

In case you cannot find any such contact information on the website, look for the whois.com/whois/domain.com that is expected to show the contact information such as domain registration email, phone number, physical address of the owner of the domain unless they opt for privacy to conceal the contact information available on the whois dns lookup of the domain.

Step 4 Contact the hosting company and domain registrar to report

If you are reaching this step 4, this is getting a bit serious! Try to report the hosting company and domain registrar and do a detailed written complaint about the original url where the content is copied from and the copyright infringed url which unethically displays the content you own.

Be polite and genuine while drafting the report on copyright claim. If the hosting company feels responsible, it will try to contact the website owner who has copied your content and take necessary action. If not ask for the contact details and escalate about the content takedown due to copyright issue. For example, you can use the following email template.

Dear Domain Registrar,
One of the domains <Example.com> registered with your registrar is found to be publishing content owned by me without prior consent.

Despite of the fact that I reached them, they are not ready to takedown the url with copyright content that I own.

This is the website I own and the tech article I published after doing a lot of ground work.
<Full-URL-Of-Original-Content-You-Own>

The same article is published here claiming the author as someone else.
<Full-URL-Of-Copyright-Abusing-Web-Page>

Being a popular registrar of the domains, I hope you respect Copyright of content and take necessary action.

Awaiting for your reply.

Yours Sincerely,
NAME

Step 5: Submit claim on Copyright content removal by Google DMCA

If things doesn’t work out, do not forget to use the master weapon! Submit your claim of original content and the infringing website’s url on Google’s DMCA Copyright content removal website. Be assertive of what you report and provide a proper justification on why you think the infringing website’s url need to be taken action on. Google does not guarantee about the url takedown from the website, but it takes necessary steps to removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers.

This is the mandatory step even though you succeed in any of the above step because, google will stop showing the copied website’s URL in the search results when queried for the content you own.

Congratulations on gaining knowledge on how to succeed copyright content removal from infringing websites. Wish you good luck with your efforts in your claim on original content you own.

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Navule Pavan Kumar Rao

I am a Full Stack Software Engineer with the Product Development experience in Banking, Finance, Corporate Tax and Automobile domains. I use SOLID Programming Principles and Design Patterns and Architect Software Solutions that scale using C#, .NET, Python, PHP and TDD. I am an expert in deployment of the Software Applications to Cloud Platforms such as Azure, GCP and non cloud On-Premise Infrastructures using shell scripts that become a part of CI/CD.I pursued Executive M.Tech in Data Science from IIT, Hyderabad (Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad) and hold B.Tech in Electonics and Communications Engineering from Vaagdevi Institute of Technology & Science.
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