Creating content for the Internet is a challenge. On the one hand, without constant content creation, websites lose traffic and can become irrelevant. On the other side of the equation, some unscrupulous webmasters and bloggers regularly seek fresh content from other sites, recycling it on their own pages. Not only is this blatantly unfair, but it could be costing the copyright owner lost revenue from advertising and sales. Fortunately, there are a few different steps that content owners can take to make certain their material is not used without permission.
Taking A Proactive Approach
With the size of the Internet ever growing and new blogs popping up every day, it is very likely that your content will be used without your permission at some point. As there is no agency that handles complaints for copyright theft on individual pages, a proactive approach is often the most effective tool available to content creators who have seen their content stolen. Simply contact the webmaster and request that the information be taken down.
Ideally, the webmaster will simply comply with the request. Any contact between the two parties should be fully documented, and if the information is not already registered as copyrighted, it should be done so immediately. Although all content carries a limited copyright, further protection can be obtained through registration.
Using Legal Action
Assuming a website does not respond to a request to delete content that has been lifted from another website, it may be worth contacting a lawyer for assistance. Lawyers are adept at sending cease and desist letters, which inform site owners that they are in violation of the law. Further action can be threatened if the content is not removed.
Contacting Advertisers and Search Engines
Search engines should be notified of the presence of stolen content. Content owners have the right to request the deletion of results from such pages, under the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Advertisers should also be contacted, notifying them of the presence of stolen property on the pages in question. This will help reduce any revenues the webmaster may be making off of the stolen property.
Dealing with stolen content is not a fun job, but when tackled from all angles, it is easy to resolve the issue. With a bit of hard work and luck, the content in question will hopefully be taken down from the site. Even if no response is received, contacting advertisers and search engines will help disarm the site.