Content Theft | What to do when imitation is NOT the highest form of flattery
I don’t care what people say, imitation is not the highest form of flattery, not in business.
Your content is your income and you should protect it as such, but some people just want to skip the hard work and steal yours. And I say steal because it is theft. Theft of your intellectual property.
Regardless of whether you spent late nights perfecting your content, asking 6 different friends for their opinion, then getting your Mum, your neighbour and that nice lady from the gym to edit it or if you spend hard earned $$$ paying a copywriter to deliver content gold for your website, IT. BELONGS. TO. YOU.
DOCUMENT IT ALL
Finding out your content has been stolen is awful, whether you’re a crier (don’t worry there is many of us) or the type to see red, realising your hard work has been ripped off hits hard. However, you need to start taking action immediately.
Take screenshots of everything they have posted that is your intellectual property, then start gathering your evidence. Show when it was posted to your site if possible, find your draft documents, find that serviette you made notes on at the café and bring it all together. If you used a copywriter go back through your emails and gather your email chains.
Yep tell them they have been caught, if you are more comfortable doing it on the phone, make sure you follow up your phone call via email re-affirming what was discussed.
At this point most people will back down. They may not admit fault (in fact they are likely to blame anyone else they can think of), but they are likely to realise they have been caught and remove any trace of your content from their website.
However, if they don’t….
MAKE IT OFFICIAL
Sometimes a polite nudge in the right direction just isn’t enough for some people. Time to let your thief know you aren’t going anywhere.
Get in contact with your local lawyer and have them draft a straight forward cease and desist letter. They will send it on to the offending party and just like that, they should head into a complete tail spin removing every last item of your content from their site.
But some people just don’t back down…so then we go fully nuclear.
THE WORK AROUND
Time to hit ‘em where it hurts and contact their website host. We were polite, then we were firm, now it’s time to get serious.
Using websites like ‘Who is Hosting’ or ‘Hosting Checker’ you can find out who is hosting their site and contact them directly. Send their host all the information you have, every single piece of proof evidence you gathered including that dirty napkin. Request their assistance with immediately removing your content from their hosting service.
They should either remove the stolen content (previously known as YOUR content) or deactivate their website entirely.
BRING OUT THE INTERNET BIG GUNS
Yep, I’m talking about Google. As we know, google is pushing HARD for people to generate great content and rewards you when you do with higher Google search ratings. If you try and bypass this by stealing content, Google is prepared to punish you big time.
Contact google and request that they de-index the site for copyright infringement using THIS form.
For more information you can read Google’s ‘Understanding content removal’ page.
DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR COPYCAT
Do not call them out on social media. Yes, even if you are worried your customers or potential customers might confuse them for the real deal while you deal with it.
Acknowledging them brings them attention they don’t deserve, its starts a conversation that doesn’t need to be open to public comment and even worse, you run the risk of looking petty.
Have you had your content stolen? How did you deal with it and what do you wish you had known at the time? Tell us about it below.