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How to File a DMCA Complaint to Stop Online Plagiarism, Spam Blogs and Content Thieves

Filed under Tutorials

What do you do if you found out your original article or part of web content from your blog is stolen and republished on another website without your consent? Would you keep silent or fight back? It’s quite common that whenever a blogger publish a great article online and a day later it is stolen by spam blogs (also known as splog) to reproduce or republish on their own sites without getting permission from the author of that article. The reason why they are doing this is pretty obvious: make easy money from ads and promote their affiliated websites.

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As blogger, you should not underestimate the harmfulness brought by these spam blogs, not only they will significantly lower your blog ranking in search engines but also reduce your both web traffic and ad revenue. Now, if you’ve decided to fight with these notorious spam blogs, here’s our complete guide with many effective actions to be taken including file a DMCA complaint!

Send a Warning Message to Spam Blog
The first thing you can do to fight against spam blogs is write a warning message asking them to remove your copyrighted article or web content from their sites. Here’s a copyright warning sample you can use.

Send a Cease & Desist Letter to Content Thief
If there is no response from the splogger, you may consider writing an official Cease & Desist letter. A Cease & Desist letter is formally written to warn the content thieves to remove infringing web content immediately or else face legal action. You can find a sample of Cease & Desist letter here.

File a DMCA Complaint with Spam Blog
In the event that the splogger refuses to remove your copyrighted web content, the next step is to file an official DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint. The DMCA claim can be sent to the U.S. Copyright Office, search engines like Google and Yahoo!, spam blog’s advertiser and web host, and of course the spam blog itself. Here’s a sample of DMCA complaint for your reference.

To understand more about this copyright act, you can download a PDF version of the DMCA from the Library of Congress website.

File a DMCA Complaint with Google
To send a notice of copyright infringement to Google, you can use Removing Content From Google tool. This tool will guide you through the process of reporting content that you believe warrants removal from Google’s services based on applicable laws.

You can also submit a DMCA notification to Google’s services via following online forms:-

Please note that a copy of each legal notice Google receive is sent to the Chilling Effects project for publication and annotation. You can see an example of such a publication here.

File a DMCA Complaint with Yahoo!
To send a DMCA notification to Yahoo!, you can visit its Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy for detailed instructions on making a claim of copyright infringement.

File a DMCA Complaint with Microsoft / Bing
Similar to Yahoo! you can also file a DMCA claim with Microsoft by following its Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.

If you want to report an allegation of trademark infringement occurring in Sponsored Sites advertising for Bing and other search partner sites (such as Yahoo!), go to Microsoft adCenter Intellectual Property Concern Forms.

File a DMCA Complaint with AOL
If a spam blog is listed on the Open Directory (DMOZ) or any other AOL property, you can report claims of copyright infringement to AOL via email.

File a DMCA Complaint with Splogger’s Web Host
Another effective way to fight against content thief is to file a DMCA complaint with its web host. You can use DomainTools to find out the name of domain registrar and the web host details. Most of the web hosts do provide a DMCA online form (Example: HostGator’s DMCA form) or you can write an email instead (See web host warning sample here). Normally a reputable web host will take action to terminate the copycat’s account and take down the site.

How to Protect Your Website or Blog from Content Thieves
Below are some tips to protect your website or blog from sploggers and scrapers:-

  • Use plagiarism checkers like Copyscape or Copysentry to find out if your article or web content is republished on other sites.
  • Add copyright notice on your blog as well as RSS feed.
  • In your article, include a number of links to your other blog posts.
  • In the RSS feed, use “More” tag instead of showing whole article.
  • Use DMCA protection and takedown services. some of its features include copy scanner, website detective tool, DMCA takedown generator, DMCA badges, and watermarker.
  • Use Google Alerts to detect plagiarism.
  • Use TinEye to find out if someone has used your photo elsewhere on the web without your consent.
  • Use Digimarc to put digital watermarks on your online photos.

More Useful Tips and Tools for Bloggers

  • Use SplogSpot to search or submit a splog.
  • To check the whois info of the infringing website, you can go to one of these websites: Domaintools.com, Whois.net, or Betterwhois.com.
  • If you hire someone to write content for your blog or website, make sure they sign a “work for hire agreement”. This agreement is to ensure that you own the work, not them.
Author: Jules, Quertime Editorial

Founder of Quertime.com. Connect with him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or circle him on Google+.

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