As 2017 is coming to a close, the Internet continues to grow like dandelions in the summertime with hundreds of thousands of files, videos, photos, tweets, and information exchanges occurring every few seconds. As business owners, entrepreneurs, and even individuals we strive to make our websites and our content stand out to consumers. We spend weeks, even months at a time, perfecting our online presence and endless months and years after to keep up with a world that keeps us on our toes.
An unfortunate happenstance of this cornucopia of information is that many believe if it’s on the internet, it’s fair game — resulting in many instances of duplicate, also known as stolen, content. It may be as simple as someone copying a blog post or service page you created, but in extreme cases, you may find that someone has copied a vast majority or even all the content you created. Sometimes they haven’t even bothered to change the specific information pertaining to your business!
If you are concerned that your content has been stolen, don’t call the cops (mostly because they would probably hang up on you). But before you consult with your legal team, here are a few tips on what to do when someone copies your website.
Determine What Was Plagiarized
If you are concerned there is content that was stolen from you, there are resources you can use to determine exactly what was plagiarized. One popular resource is Copyscape that will uncover all content from your site that appears on other websites. Another tool you can use is Google Alerts. Simply go to the Alerts website, put in some of your unique content, and provide an email address to allow Google to contact you with any results.
If you are not getting results of other websites that contain your content, you should be safe. However, if other sites appear in your results from Copyscape or you receive alerts from Google, click on those links in order to determine how your content is being used before you take action.
Gather Contact Information
If you have determined that your content has been plagiarized, start by collecting the contact information for the website you suspect of foul play. Reach out to the business or website owner and request your content be removed, and point them in the direction of where the content is located on your site. It is very possible they may not know the content was copied and a simple request will do the trick! Continuing to follow up or keep your alerts running is a good tactic to prevent this from reoccurring.
If you cannot locate contact information, use BetterWhois, which will provide you with domain ownership of the URL as well as contact information.
If an initial email request does not work, your next step should be to contact the hosting company for the website to request that the infringed content be taken down. In this case, you’ll want to have proof. Using the Wayback Machine, you can find past views of your site to prove that your content existed first, or you can provide a link to the Google Cache to show that your content was discovered before the website that copied your material.
Another option is to take screenshots of the copied content, as well as saving the source code in order to compare it to your original.
Cease and Desist
If you have reached out to the website owner and the hosting company with no response, it may be time to consider contacting your legal team and constructing a formal cease and desist letter. This will inform the recipient that they are legally required to take down any plagiarized content or further legal action will be taken.
If your content has been copied, don’t worry! There are options to keep your creative content in its original form. If you are concerned about the potential of this happening or reoccurring in the future, consider discussing filing for copyright protection with your legal team to keep your information safe!
Interested in further information regarding duplicate content? Contact the experts at Rocket55 and let us help you with your next web project!