In this post,we will talk about DMCA takedown notices. I’m sure that, from time to time, you will find a site online that is using your content. Of course, you do not think that it can harm your own site. Well, yes, in most cases; it is safe for your domain. Still, you should be aware that your content can be stolen and how it is done. Basically, there are two ways to steal someone’s content:

  • Manually
  • Automatically, by using RSS feeds

MANUALLY

If you noticed only a few articles that have been stolen, then you don’t need to worry about your site rankings. According to Matt Cutts; it won’t hurt your rankings because even big news sites like BBC, Mirror and DailyMail usually use duplicate content.

NOTE: I’m not telling they steal it.Other sites are just used as a source or it was a quote, etc.

On the other hand, if you think that your competitor stole your visitors, then you have to find a way to fix that. Maybe ask them to put a link to the original source or completely remove the post. Even for this post, “DMCA takedown notice,” there are many duplicate pages online. Just type “DMCA takedown notice template” and you will notice that, too. However, when someone has a unique article and, in the article, there is a template that you can find somewhere else; it does not mean stolen content. Matt Cutts recommends to use different font and add quotation marks (“”) to that paragraph.

At the same time, when you have a lot of duplicate content, it may have a negative impact on your site’s visibility in Google. The Google bot does not know that your site has original articles. So be careful when you spot someone else using your own content.

AUTOMATICALLY

From my own experience, I can say that stealing content by using someone’s RSS feeds is very bad for your site. It means that almost all your content will be republished on low quality websites. For instance, a year ago I was faced with such a problem. You can briefly read about my experience here: http://forums.habanaija.com/forum/nigerian-webmaster-forum/947-haba-naija-how-to-stop-your-contents-being-stolen-via-rss-feeds.

Now, I can add more details to that story. HabaNaija is a resource for Nigerian people. It has its own blog with many different categories as well as a forum. This is not meant to be a promotion of HabaNaija. The main point is that the forum’s RSS feed was stolen by another v-bulletin forum.I cannot recall the name of this forum, but it used many different RSS feeds and had a lot of content.It did not did not write anything unique, however; just automatically grabbedthe content from our websites and many others. Interestingly enough, except for some queries related to keywords from our posts; that forum was even higher than our own. At the time, our forum was not as strong as it is now, but that makes no difference overall. Then, I noticed that each new post we published appeared on this other forum that belonged to someone else.

Now,the steps that we tookto fix that and to persuade them to stop pulling our RSS feed are as follows:

  1. We contacted their administration via contact form on the site directly. There was noresult.
  2. Added their IP address to our ban list so they can’t open the forum. There still was no result. They were most likely using different proxies.
  3. Contacted their hosting company. They responding by telling usthat they are not responsible for the website’s content. They just host them. So still no result.
  4. Sent DMCA takedown notice.That was finally effective.

Now, let’s move on to DMCA notice and how to correctly notify the hosting company regarding your content. If you are not certain of what a DMCA notice is and its’ purpose, simply visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act and you will find all of the information you need on this. All you must know is that all hosting companies clearly understand what a DMCA is and that they are responsible for the sites they host.

Below is the template you can use:

My name is ___________ and I am representing ________ company.  A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on copyright owned by my company: {your website}.

All content was copied onto your servers without permission. The original articles, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:

{your pages with unique content}


The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:

{Pages of the site they host}


This site {the site they host} does not have own content and all articles/posts are republished from my site.

“This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law, a service provider such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material, this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action, you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury, I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me, please contact me directly.

Thank you.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email

After that, you just need to find their hosting company contact information which can be done by using WHOIS services, and send your takedown notice.

From my own experience, I can say that this template was successful and, after only 1 day, all of our content was removed although the site still was online. Anyway, our goal was achieved and we were happy.

In the webmaster world, such sites are called scraper sites. I’d like to share with you a very funny tweet from Dan Baker. In February of this year, Matt Cutts asked users who notice a scraper site that ranks higher than original source to notify Google via this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Pw1KVOVRyr4a7ezj_6SHghnX1Y6bp1SOVmy60QjkF0Y/viewform.

Dan spotted one and it was Google that ranks higher than Wikipedia, original source.LOL:

scrapper_site

At any rate, that form does not guarantee you any immediate fix but, to be honest, I have not tried it out yet. If you have experience in using this form, please share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Once your content has been removed from a stealer; you should go to this Google’s page https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?rd=2 and create a request to remove that site/page from their index. They offer to create a request for different types of their products as follows:

  • Blogger/Blogpsot
  • Google+
  • Web Search
  • A Google Ad
  • Drive and Docs
  • Google Play – Music
  • Google Play – Apps
  • Google Shopping
  • Image Search
  • Orkut
  • Picassa
  • YouTube

Then, just choose the type of request you need. Usually, it is a “Web Search”. In a few days, that spammy page will be removed from Google’s index. It is not required procedure because, if your DMCA takedown notice was successful, the sites/pages must return a 404 error and soon, Google will re-index it.

As you can see from the list above, your DMCA notice may be about anything on your site and not just about content. You can send a notice if you find that someone has stolen your unique images or even used the same text in a Google Ad. I’m not sure how well it works with Google ads, but they do have such an item in the list.

Sometimes, you can find your content on sites that are much more popular than yours. It is very important because they usually rank higher than your site,which means you lose a lot of clicks related to that article. In this way, you should prove to the hosting company that you are the original source of that content. In, most cases, you can just mention the date of the post because almost all websites add this to their posts. It could be more difficult if someone has stolen your content in the same day that it was published. However, chances are good that you will not have this issue.

Evgeniy Garkaviy About Evgeniy Garkaviy
I'm SEO specialist and certified Adwords consultant. I have been working in Search Engine Marketing for over three year. In addition working in SEO, I love writing about the subject and contributing to forum discussion in forums about various aspects of Search Engine Optimisation from link building to content development. Read more about me here