Content marketers are probably now dealing with what I’ve contended with for years — content thieves. In general, they take my work without apology, costing Target Marketing clicks and ad dollars. It’s just as serious for the newer content marketers, who share advice in hope of attracting and retaining customers. Instead, the thieves use the content on their sites and pull attention away from the creators. Here’s how to fix that.
“The moment original content is published online, whether visual or text, it is protected under copyright law,” says Nick Wooldridge, an attorney with a firm in New York. “A copyright symbol is not needed. This means that people can’t republish your content without your clear permission, unless they follow the rules under the ‘fair use’ clause of copyright law. Fair use says that people have limited rights to use original content as long as the use of the content is deemed ‘fair.’ ”
Wooldridge suggests creators of photos, copy and other content do the following:
1. Set Up a Cut and Paste Tool. This tool can work for good content consumers, too. The ones who don't steal entire blog posts and pretend to have authored them themselves. But when thieves steal content, a link back to it goes along with them. One software option is 33Across. These tools are not full copyright violation solution, as copy and pasters may still take entire content items, but it’s a start. They may also delete the link, so marketers still have more to do.
2. Document the Evidence. Grab a screenshot, he says. “Be sure to get a full-page screenshot, as well as the URL,” Wooldridge advises.
3. Contact the Offender. Try email first, then a “WhoIs” domain search if the address isn’t on the thief’s site. “Send the offender an email with a link to the specific content that the person has stolen,” Wooldridge says. “Mention the next steps you will be prepared to take if they don’t remove the content.”
4. Report the Thief. “If the offender doesn’t comply, submit a request to remove the content from search engines and/or contact the hosting provider,” Wooldridge suggests. The host is visible in the WhoIs results. “Website hosting services typically are more efficient in removing duplicate content than webmasters,” he says. Next, marketers will learn more about the last resort.
5. Get Legal. “A Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [complaint] can be filed against a site that has stolen your content,” the attorney says.
He suggests resorting to this action when thieves are getting high rankings for your content, the content is in use on a for-profit site or it’s in use for fundraising purposes.
Marketers who want stolen content removed from search engines can check out a six-step guide complete with images captured by San Francisco-based online marketing consultant Vladislav Davidzon for “How to Properly File a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Complaint,” published by Speckyboy Design Magazine in 2012.
What else do content marketers do about stolen content? How many consider theft a different form of sharing?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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