3 Effective Methods To Deal With Copyright Infringement In 2019
By John Negoita on Friday, Feb 7, 2020
If you are an online content creator for your blog or website, if you write content, create images or videos, your content was probably stolen at least once.
This can be very frustrating especially because the site publishing the stolen content without your permission might get all the credit you worked so hard to produce.
Not only that, but your SEO efforts might go down the drain and in the end you loose money.
Good news is that there are measures you can take against this kind of situations. Distributing copyrighted content without the author’s permission constitutes copyright infringement and it’s illegal.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 was designed to define the rules of copyright infringement as it pertains to the digital age. It outlines both the protections and consequences for internet service providers (ISPs), users, and copyright owners in the digital landscape.
In this article I will show you a few simple but effective methods to deal with copyright infringement.
Let’s get started.
1. Copyright Infringement - How To Spot It
How To Find Who Stole Your Content
First, you will have to find out if your content has been stolen.
How do you do that?
Finding Text Content Copyright Infringements
Just use Google. Here are just a few Google queries that you can use to detect copyright infringement for text content.
- intitle:“title of your content” to search for pages that have your content’s title in the page title
- inurl:keyword to search for webpages that have a certain keyword in the url
- -site:yoursite.com to exclude your website from the search results. Otherwise your site will show up when you search for your content.
- OR you can use this operator to combine multiple queries. So the query will find results matching either one or another condition
Let’s say you are a photographer and you wrote a piece about “A Photographer’s Journey From Beginner To Pro” example.com/photographer-journey-beginner-pro
To find if your content has been stolen you would do a Google search like this:
intitle:"A Photographer's Journey From Beginner To Pro" OR "A Photographer's Journey From Beginner To Pro" OR inurl:"photographer-journey" -site:example.com
If you want to know more about Google search operators, check out this content marketer’s cheatsheet.
Alternatively, you can use Copyscape which is servivce where you can input your URL and it will search for pages that that copied your content.
Finding Image Copyright Infringements
Can someone use a picture of me without my permission?
Can someone use an image created by me without my permission?
To find if your images have been stolen or are distributed without permission you can also use Google. Google has had for quite some time the ability to search similar images.
Simply go to Google, switch to image search. Either drag and drop your original image onto the search bar or click the Search By Image icon and input the URL of the image or upload the image you want to search. Google will try and find identical or similar images to yours. You will have to spot which images are copyright infringements.
Watermark Your Photos
If don’t want or don’t know how to deal with copyright infringements for photos and images, the best solution is to add a watermark to your photos. You can use graphic design tools like Photoshop, Gimp or even online tools like MockoFun.
I love MockoFun because it’s online and they have loads of pre-made templates for watermarks. Check out this complete guide on how to watermark photos online using MockoFun.
You can easily place your logo or name over photos that you publish online. This will discourage copyright infringements for your images and will also help you when reporing a copyright infringement as evidence that an image belongs to you.
How To Get Notified When Somebody Steals Your Content
I use Google Alerts which is a free service from Google in which you can enter queries like the one above and the service will notify you via email when a match has been found.
2. How To Report To Google A Website For Stealing Content - DMCA Google Notice
Once you identified the stolen content and the website that is posting it without permission you can file a DMCA notice to Google.
There is a DMCA Google service, but it’s not too friendly imho. Anyway, this is the most effective way to stop the copyright infringing material to spread through Google.
Depending on the type of copyright infringement, Google has multiple forms that you can use to submit your DMCA claim.
DMCA Google Notice For Web Results
If you want to file a DMCA report for Google web results go to: DMCA Google Notice For Web Results
These reports act like legal DMCA takedown notices, so Google is forced by law to take action.
You will have to fill in your name and state that you are the copyright holder or legal representative for the copyright holder. Describe what the copyright infringement is and then very important:
- place one or more links to your original content
- place one or more link to the infringing page
The good news is that most of these DMCA takedown notices are handled swiftly by Google and it takes about 24 hours for them to remove the infringing result from their search results.
DMCA Google Notice For Images
If you want to file a DMCA report for Google Image search results go to: DMCA Google Notice For Web Results
The data you need to put in is similar to the DMCA Google report for web search results. The only difference is that, instead of the link to the infringing image, you will have to copy/paste the image search result link. Simply right click on the infringing image search result and copy the link.
YouTube Copyright Infringement Complaints And Other Google DMCA Takedown Reports
Copyright infringement claims extend further than text and images. If you produce other types of content like videos or software and this content gets re-distributed without permission via Google products like YouTube, Google Docs, Google Drive, Fusion Tables, Blogger, Google Photos, Google+ Photos, Picasa Web Albums and Videos, here are the links you can use to file a DMCA report with Google.
- YouTube Copyright Infringement Notification
- Report alleged copyright infringement: Google Photos, Google+ Photos, Picasa Web Albums and Videos
- Report alleged copyright infringement: Google Docs, Google Drive and Fusion Tables
- Report alleged copyright infringement: Blogger
- Report alleged copyright infringement: Google+ (effectively April 2019, Google+ has been closed down, so this tool will also probably be removed)
3. How To Deal With Content Copyright Infringement Outside Google
Reporting copyright infringement to Google will probably get resolved by Google removing the pages with the stolen content from the search results.
But, the content will still be out there. What else can I do to remove stolen content from a website?
Besides hiring a lawyer and suing the site, here are a few other things that anybody can do.
Contact The Hosting Provider Of The Website With The Stolen Content
Learn this term well “DMCA Takedown Notice”. I’m not a lawyer, and in some cases hiring one could be the only way to resolve a copyright infringement case.
But, any person can request to have their copyrighted content taken off a website if it constitutes copyright infringement. Assuming that contacting the website owner and asking him to take down the infringing content has failed, here’s what you can do:
Use a tool for IP whois lookup and input the domain of the infringing website. This will give you info about the hosting provider that hosts the infringing website. Usually this contains a contact email address. Look for something like [email protected] and send them an email explaining the situation.
There are some requirements for the DMCA notice:
- Make it in writing (this includes both hardcopy or digital);
- Sign it (whether in writing of via electronic signature: just put your name) by the copyright owner or agent;
- Identify the original copyrighted work (or works) you claim has been infringed;
- Identify the material that is infringing your copyrighted work;
- Include contact information so the designated agent can reach you, if necessary;
- Include a statement your complaint is in “good faith;”
- Include a statement the information in the notification is accurate; and
- Include a statement that under penalty of perjury you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Hosting Provider / ISP DMCA Takedown Notice Template
Here’s a DMCA takedown notice template that I use for copyright infringement situations.
Subject: DMCA Takedown Notice
I would like to request the removal of files currently hosted on your servers due the copyright infringement.
My name is [your full name] and I am the copyright owner of the [describe copyrighted content].
The original content can be seen here:[place links to the original content]
I'm referring to the website/webpages displaying copyright infringing content:
[list of infringing website/webpages]
hosted on the server with the IP
My contact details are [full name, address, phone number and email address]
I have a good faith belief that use of the aforementioned material
is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agents, or the law
All information in the notice is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I am the owner of an exclusive right that is believed infringed.
SIGNED: [your full name to act as digital signature]
The hosting provider / ISP will probably respond to your complaint in a couple of days and hopefully will take action. If they don’t then you have to contact a lawyer and see what else you can do about them.
Fortunately, there are also other steps you can take to remove copyrighted content from the web.
File DMCA Complaints To Free File Upload And Sharing Services
Very often, websites that steal content, especially software content, ebooks, etc. post it on free file upload and sharing services. There are a lot of these services.
Usually, the copyright infringing website will place the files on multiple such services.
Can I do anything about that?
Yes, you can.
All these file sharing services are obligated by law to list on their websites a link to instructions on how to file a DMCA complaint for copyright infringement.
File Sharing DMCA Abuse Email Addresses
Most of the times they will list an email looking like [email protected] or [email protected].
I don’t particullary like these sites (you might imagine why), so I will not list their links. Here’s a list of file sharing sites and the email addresses where they receive DMCA notices:
- RapidGator [email protected]
- LittleByte [email protected]
- TurboBit [email protected]
- NitroFlare [email protected]
- PreFiles [email protected]
- NovaFile [email protected]
- ZippyShare [email protected]
- UsersCloud [email protected]
- ZoFile [email protected]
- FileBlade [email protected]
I have personally used these adresses for successufully reporting DMCA copyright infringements.
DMCA Takedown Notice Template I Used For File Sharing Services
I would like to request the removal of a file stored on your websitedue the copyright infringement.
1. My name is [full name] and I am the author of the work contained in the files distributed by your website.
2. Original work:
[link of the oringinal file]
3. Infringing file:
[link in the file sharing website]
4. My contact details are [full name, address, phone number and email address]
5. I have a good faith belief that use of the aforementioned material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agents, or the law
6. All information in the notice is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, I am the owner of an exclusive right that is believed infringed.
[full name] [date]
How Can Copyright Infringement Affect Your SEO
Copyright Infringement Will Reduce Your Income
If you are monetizing your content, then for sure copyright infringement will be a huge problem.
Obviously, if there are a lot of websites stealing your content and offering it for free, you will get less visitors to your website.
One big SEO signal that Google uses is search result CTR. So, the more clicks you get on a search result, the higher the ranking for that page will be.
Now, consider this,
Which search result will get more clicks? One that offers stuff for free or one that doesn’t.
This is why it’s important at least to be aware of the fact that people are not always nice. There are a lot of websites that make money by stealing other people’s work. As unfair as it might sound, those sites are more popular than yours just because they are offering commercial stuff for free.
You will never be able to cut your loses down to 0, but if you keep an eye on things then you will be able to limit them.
Copyright Infringement Will Reduce Your Traffic
Even if your content is not commercial, so you are also offering it for free, still copyright infringement will potentially affect your Google ranking.
First, because Google seems to favor sites with more content. Because the infringing website is probably stealing content from others too it will for sure have more content than you and publish more frequently.
This means that they will rank higher than you.
By filing DMCA notices for those sites you can instantly boost your rankings. I know this from experience. After finding not one but 4 sites that copied content from my website (all ranking above me), I filed a Google DMCA report. In 24 hours the pages were removed from Google search results and I jumped 4 positions up.
Please note that search results on page 1 get 90% of the traffic for a certain keyword. From that aprox 60% go to the positions 1 to 3. So a bost of 4 places up only for one keyword can mean double traffic or even more for that keyword. And that is only for one keyword, and you can imagine that the infringing pages take traffic for more than one keyword.
Conclusions Copyright Infringement And SEO
Fighting against copyright infringement is not easy, it requires work, but you can do it. I hope you find the information in this article useful. If you think this article is missing anything or you want to provide feedback drop me an email at john[at]freeitsolutions.com
Please feel free to quote pieces of the article, but provide a link back to this.