Plagiarism is rife on the internet and it is illegal.

I hope you never experience people copying content from your website and placing it on theirs, but if you do here are some pointers on how to deal with the problem based on my own experience.

This is a huge problem in that your site could be seen as the one with duplicate content and banished to the depths of the search engine results.

I have recently dealt with 3 cases, all of which have required different courses of action. 2 cases were serious in that they have either just copied my whole front page, or several pages and the 3rd had copied partial content from my Online Business Ideas home page.

The normal course of action is to politely write to the webmaster and ask him to take your content down.

If this has no effect then you need to contact their hosting company and you can find this by looking up their domain name on Whois. Often the webhost will reply to you requesting you to send your complaint letter in this format:

1. an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright or other intellectual property interest;

2. a description of the copyrighted work or other intellectual property that you claim has been infringed;

3. a description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;

4. your address, telephone number, and email address;

5. a statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;

6. a statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your Notice is accurate and that you are the copyright or intellectual property owner or authorized to act on the copyright or intellectual property owner’s behalf.

The hosting company will then give the webmaster 2 or 3 days to remove the content and if this is not done the hosting company will suspend the site until the content is removed.

I have come across a webhost who would not deal with my request at all. In this case you then need to send a DMCA Takedown Notice to the webmaster. Here is a website that tells you how to send a DMCA Takedown Notice.

Again this may have no effect – in my case it didn’t so I just continually email the guy and have threatened now to report him to Google – here are the Google Guidelines.

To detect copyright infringement you can put your site through Copyscape. This page gives you a great explanation of how to handle plagiarism

Bear in mind that if you detect plagiarism through Copyscape those webpages will have already been indexed by the search engines.

Ideally, you need to try and nip it in the bud and catch it before the web page is indexed. You can do this if your whole page has been copied and you have StatCounter or Google Analytics on your webpages.

In StatCounter check the urls that appear in “recent came from” – you will even be able find urls that reveal they are working with your source code in their WYSIWYG editor and in their File Manager!! You can also find these urls in the WebePanel stats under “Total Referrers”. It is quite a shock when you click on them and your own website pops open with a different web address!

When I saw this, I wrote to the hosting company straight after emailing the Webmaster and the hosting company took action immediately and created a robots.txt file on their account to exclude files containing my content in order to prevent Google from indexing it. Then they asked for an explanation from the webmaster and a few hours later the content was removed.

You can go one step further and ban that webmaster from viewing your site by placing code in your .htaccess file which will include his IP address. Bear in mind though that you could be excluding a range of IP addresses. The code you add looks like this:

order allow,deny
deny from XX.XX.XXX.XXX (the xxx being the IP address)
allow from all

This code will return a 403 – Unauthorised error in your “Hits By Response Code” in the Statistics section of your WebePanel.

Hope these pointers do help you should you ever experience your content being copied illegally.

Related Posts:

Tagged with:

Filed under: plagiarism

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!