Hi! If you are reading this post, but you aren’t on the Outdoorbloggernetwork.com website or a legit RSS Feed reader, than you should know it’s stolen content from the Outdoor Blogger Network. That’s right, the website you are currently on is stealing content because they aren’t smart enough to write their own!
For the real deal, visit the Outdoor Blogger Network.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist….(waves to content thief)
If you run a website or write a blog long enough online, chances are you’ll eventually find your content pirated, copied, stolen, used and reproduced in one way or another….
After your initial anger at seeing your personal efforts being used by someone else, you need to take an offensive stance and get after the offender.
Since someone is currently stealing all of the copyrighted material from the OBN feed and re-posting it on their site, I thought this would be a good time to address this problem and show everyone the steps I’ve already taken, and will continue to take until the situation has been resolved.
First off, it’s good to know WHY people would use your content.
Scraper sites (sites that use the content of others) do it for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, content is king when it comes to SEO’ing a site (search engine optimization), ranking a site, gaining visitors and value via search engines. The people who use the content of others either don’t have the time, ability or money to pay someone to write their own original content, so they need to ‘beef’ up a websites content and they do it on the backs of others. Typically the only reason to do such a site is to drive advertising revenue up via organic visitors.
The Scrapers: Now…in the case of the site that is currently posting word for word the content of the OBN: simply copy and pasting content in it’s entirety from another site without link attribution/credit to the original author is pure theft and it won’t fly. Basically, they are using the OBN’s outdoor keyword rich content to beef up their online business in the rankings.
The Aggregation Sites: There are sites that are purely an aggregation of content from various sources around the web. These types of sites will use a partial content/excerpts (NOT YOUR WHOLE POST) with a link attribution back to the original content owner. From my understanding, they achieve this through a ‘fair use’ clause in the copyright system. In some cases this can be a great thing if you’ve been picked up by a popular website and linked back to your site. In other cases it’s just scrapping and provides no benefit to you.
Aggregation sites — if they follow proper link attribution and credit to the original writer are working within legal lines, but you CAN request they remove your information. Most sites don’t want any issues and will remove your work if you ask.
Back to what to do when your online content is stolen:
Step One: Try the easy route, contact the offender from their site.
The first thing I did Wednesday was find a contact on the offending website. I sent them the following message.
“To the Administrator of this Website:
It has come to our attention that you are copy and pasting content in it’s entirety from our Website located at Outdoorbloggernetwork.com
To your website located under your domainhttp://www.j—removed so they don’t get link credit here g.com/
This is your official copyright infringement notice. If our content is not removed within 24 hours, we will contact your website hosting company with a DMCA notice(Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Owner of the Outdoor Blogger Network”
I also had a hunch that they were taking the information from our OBN RSS Feed, so I went and did a modification to our feed so that it would include an actual link to the OBN since at that point there was no attribution/link to the OBN within their copying. Plus I would know if they were copying from the feed or our actual site:
When I looked today at the offending site, sure enough my latest OBN post was up and I see the new Copyright and URL I added to our feed is on their site, so now I know where they are pulling from, but I also noticed that they have now added a view Original Article Link:
That’s nice and all, but they are still stealing our content in it’s entirety without permission.
If they were to read our copyright notice they would see that it clearly states the following:
Unauthorized use or copying of the material on this site without express and written permission from the OBN is prohibited. Excerpts may be used as long as credit and a link back to the original material at Outdoorbloggernetwork.com is used.
If you don’t have one of those little notices on your blog, please feel free to copy mine, change your website info and post it somewhere on your site.
If Step One doesn’t work, then onto Step Two:
Any website that is its own domain is hosted somewhere….
You’ll need to visit http://www.whois.net/ and enter the domain name of the offender. From there you’ll be given a starting point of who, what, where. Sadly in my case, it’s looks to be a private registration, but that’s ok, I still know the site is done via GoDaddy and that’s who I went to with my copyright complaint.
Hosting companies (in most countries) typically take violation complaints seriously and will notify the offender and or take down the site if necessary… so at this point, I’ll see what GoDaddy has to say and let everyone know in my follow up post.
Step Three: The whole point of them taking your content is to beef up their own website to gain notice in search engines — thus driving potential traffic to their website. Take them down by filing a DMCA with all the major search engines.
File a complaint with Google: http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs
File a complaint with Yahoo: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/abuse/
File a complaint with Bing: http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtinfrg.htm
Step Four: If they are displaying advertising anywhere on their website, be sure and be helpful ! and let their advertisers know they are copyright violators.
Step Five: Hopefully you don’t have to get to this point, but if you do, it’s time for legal action and you’ll need a lawyer.
In conclusion for today, I’m currently at step two and I’ll follow up with the results of my little battle as they get resolved.
If anyone else has dealt with this issue and has more solutions, or ideas to add, please let me know in the comments! If I got something wrong above, do tell so I can get it right.
We all need to stick together against the ugly underbelly of the Internet =)
If your content is on a domain.wordpress.com site, Visit here to file a complaint: http://en.wordpress.com/report-spam/
If your content is on a domain.blogspot.com site, visit here to file a complaint: http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs
Bonus Note #2 ~ How to Check the web to find out if your content is being copied:
There are a couple of ways you can check the web for offenders. First up, visit Copyscape and enter your personal domain name.
Please be aware that many people have RSS feeds to your site (a huge compliment) posted in their blogroll that can come up on copyscape. So be sure to check the actual link that copyscape provides, visit the site, look it over and decide if the person is simply linking to you, has you in a informational RSS feed set up, if they are excerpting your information or just stealing your content.
You can also set up via your google account — google alerts that email you when information has been posted about you out there on the web. You can play around with the alerts until you have in narrowed down to just the info you want sent.
Those are the two systems I use, does anyone else have other avenues to check for stolen content on the web?