If you publish online, then you may eventually find your work has been stolen. Unfortunately, this is a daily reality for many writers who choose to have some or all of their content on the Internet. The following list has resources that can help you handle copyright infringement.
The following information is not a substitute for legal counsel. It is a compilation of personal experience and research. The owner of this blog cannot be held liable for the use of any of this information.
1. Become familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This law outlines your rights, and the full text can be found here. A shorter summary of the law can be found on Copyright.gov.
2. Explore Plagiarismtoday.com for more information. There are instructions that can walk you through the DMCA process. Remember, this is not a substitute for legal counsel.
3. Set up Google alerts, Yahoo! alerts and check Copyscape to see if your content has been stolen.
4. Do not take the theft personally or consider it a compliment. Most of these sites use bots to scrape feeds and websites. They do not read your content or care about your topics.
5. Try to contact the sites directly and get them to remove your content, but you should be prepared for failure. Many will have no contact information or ignore requests.
6. If contacting the site owners fails, reach out to the hosts of the websites. Plagiarismtoday.com has more information on this topic.
7. Contact Google to remove the stolen content from search results. Google provides a simple form that can help. You can also use this form if the website that stole your content has Google AdSense. Yahoo! also provides a document and a link that can help.
8. Report scrapers to Google using a short form. Scrapers are websites that harvest the Internet for information to display their ads and profit from the work of others. Often, the content is obtained illegally.
9. Use stock letters for the DMCA to cut down on the time you have to spend contacting websites. Plagiarismtoday.com has several samples.
10. Breathe and remember that copyright infringement is an ongoing battle.
Special Notes for members of the Yahoo! Contributor Network
1. Writers are expected to pursue their own copyright issues. This applies to exclusive, non-exclusive and display-only content. Work for hire assignments are in a different category. Please refer to the Help FAQ for more information:
2. If the work falls under the non-exclusive or display-only licenses, writers can ask for compensation from the infringing websites or blogs. Please refer to the Help FAQ for more information:
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
Photo by Jakub Krechowicz