Have you had your blog content stolen? Whether this is the first or 50th time, content or images, you CAN take action to protect your business. Here’s how.
When you find out you’ve had your blog content stolen, it sucks.
There, I said it.
I am dealing with this YET AGAIN so I’m writing up the steps I take. We’d all rather be working on tasks to grow blog income, so these are the steps I use to get it taken care of quickly. Note: if you’d like this as a checklist, I’ve included for free in the Resource Library (sign up here).
I am not an attorney and this article does not constitute legal advice. Neither ND Consulting, Sarah Nenni-Daher, nor any business entity operated by Sarah Nenni-Daher will be held liable for actions taken based on this article.
There might be partner links used in this article which means, at no additional cost to you, I might receive a small commission.
How Can You Tell if You’ve Had Blog Content Stolen?
Do you know how to determine if you’ve had your blog content stolen? Let’s do a litmus test – it’s only a couple of questions…
Step 1: Do you have a copyright ON your blog content?
Ask yourself: did YOU write it? Did YOU take (or create) the images?
If the answer is yes, you’re done. In the US, you have a copyright on your content without having to do anything at all. Isn’t that nice?
Step 2: Was stealing the content malicious or just an honest mistake?
Your answer doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law with regards to stolen blog content. Surprised? Most people are.
The law doesn’t allow for ignorance as an excuse. If a new blogger unintentionally violates your copyright, the letter below usually does the trick to put them on the path to learning how NEVER to do it again.
Step 3: Educate yourself.
If you’re new or don’t quite understand the nuances of online content, copyright, trademark, and fair use, I suggest picking up this legal resource for bloggers written by a blogging attorney.
What NOT To Do When You’ve Had Your Blog Content Stolen
If you’ve had blog content stolen, the first step is to take a deep breath. IT. SUCKS. Really, it does. You worked hard on it. It’s yours and they’re big, stinky, poo-poo heads.
Now let’s take a deep breath and do not blast them on social media. We don’t need to get our tribe all riled up ‘in our defense.’ This is OUR business and we shall conduct ourselves professionally. It’s hard, but it is the right move.
Note: If your PHOTOGRAPHY was used without your permission, you can choose to follow this process OR you can request a license fee. It’s your choice. This is just a reminder not to go all “mama bear” without first attempting to get paid.
Steps to Take for Stolen Blog Content
The process of how to report copyright violations is relatively easy on the surface. You need to do a bit of work, they need to do a bit of work. Usually, that’s all it takes.
You can get this as a checklist in the Resource Library to put into your blog binder or PDF files to easily find later. If you’re not a member, get ALL.THE.GOODIES. by signing up for once-weekly emails.
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Step 1: Before You Take Action
Take some time to do the following research before sending the cease and desist notice. This WILL help expedite removal of your stolen blog content AND can also serve as a basis for legal action later. I usually put about 15-20 minutes into this first step.
- If your BLOG IMAGE is stolen, do a quick reverse image search on Google or use TinEye. Document the URLs.
- If your BLOG CONTENT is stolen, type in your content (a phrase or short paragraph) into Google’s search bar. Look it up on Copyscape to see if it is anywhere else the search missed. Document URLs.
- Take screen shots and/or use Wayback Machine to document the stolen content was live. You will have proof of the infraction, even if they remove it.
- Do some quick snooping on the offender’s social networks (including LinkedIn). If you find your content there, document URLs. You can report each and every share to the social network on which it was posted. Note: DO NOT report Pinterest pins without first looking up how to ensure you will not have your valid pins removed, as well. Hint: you want to choose “Strike” and not “Remove All.”
- Is the offender running ads? Indicate a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ here. We’ll take action on this later.
Step 2: Take Action
- Look up the offender’s domain’s host on Who Is.
- Send your cease and desist letter and wait 48 hours.
- Get a cease and desist template from Law Trades.
- Contact an online attorney to do this all for you (contact Valerie@DelGrossoLaw.com who runs Biz.Love.Society., a free legal resource repository or Hashtag Legal.
- File the DMCA takedown notice.
- Report social shares to corresponding networks. Note: if you find multiple videos on YouTube from a single user, report the channel AND each video.
- (Optional) I send a note to their host via the host’s contact form. In it, I detail the copyright infringement, the official DMCA filing, and, if applicable, the refusal of their webmaster to acknowledge the issue.
- If the offender is running ads (of any type or provider), report their AdSense violations.
Step 3: Protect Yourself
- Get stolen content removed from search engines. This step makes sure the stolen blog content is removed from search once it’s been taken down. This gives the valuable search juice back to the rightful owners (start the process by selecting “web search” from the first set of options).
- If this happens to you a great deal, there are services like Pixsy (their sole job is to work for you to protect your intellectual property).
- Be sure you have your usage policy clearly displayed on your site, policy, and/or contact pages.
Additional Reading and Resources for Bloggers
- Read about your rights (US+, copyrights, etc.)
- Understand “fair use.”
- Copyright and Trademark for Bloggers
Discovering you’ve had your blog content stolen can be a kick in the stomach! If you follow a consistent set of steps to protect yourself, your content, and your income, you can deal with it legally. Please pin this to help all bloggers navigate the world of stolen blog content!