TOW: Someone Stole My Work

Unfortunately, due to the incredibly easy access to virtually any type of information you’d like to look up on the internet, stealing work can really be quite easy with a simple copy and paste. So what do you do in these types of situations? I know I’ve dealt with this in the past and typically just a polite “you’ve been caught” message has always sufficed, but what if that doesn’t work? What do you do next? The first thing I would do is take a snapshot of their content for further down the road if you eventually decide to take legal action, that is, if you even have that kind of money. Nevertheless, if you believe hard proof may be necessary later or, then saving the copied content to your computer would probably be a good call.

However, like I said before, usually a short e-mail asking for them to remove the content does the trick. Sometimes I won’t even get a response back from the offender, I’ll just notice that they took it down and that’s the end of it. If this still doesn’t work then the sending of a “Cease and Desist” letter may be what is necessary for a next step. I would try to find an address somewhere on the site, or at least an e-mail address to send it to. I think above all else, it is important to stay cool, calm, collected, and professional.

If at this point the content is still not taken down your next step should be to file a notice of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement with Google and the other major search engines. The process can get a bit complicated but it does ultimately remove the offending site from the search engine results. To me, this is the best option if the situation does escalate to this level. However, unless this copied content is some how putting you out of money, legal action may not be worth it. For one last shot you could try to contact the site’s advertisers, if it has any, and try to shut it down that way. Even so, not all of these ideas will be a hundred percent effective, but luckily these things will rarely ever expand past the first couple given solutions.