“I am not a lawyer. I have never played one on TV or anywhere else for that matter. No part of this post should be taken as legal advice, it is meant to be educational in nature only. That is all.”
So now we know that you are the victim of stolen content (part 1), and we know how to find the thief (part 2). What can you DO?
Send a letter to the site owner. Explain that you have found content that is being used illegally. Ask that he/she take it down. If they do, it is problem solved. The letter should be short and direct. It should also give a date to respond by. That date doesn’t need to be far down the line, a week is plenty. If they don’t respond or don’t take the content down, you have to move on;
Contact the hosting company. Hosting companies are deemed liable for copyright infringement in the US if they knowingly host improper content. Makes them much more willing to take down offending content or even offending sites.
First contact with a hosting company can be fairly informal, just stating your claim, identifying the offending site, and stating that you can prove that it has been done. Legitimate hosting firms are real willing to help you out.
If the host does not take fairly rapid action on your request, ask them (the hosting company) to file a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint. You have to provide proof of copyright (a copy of the material and proof that you wrote it before the offending site posted it) and the site itself. It’s pretty straight forward, and almost always works. Then next step is clear, if a DMCA complaint doesn’t get it done.
Hire a lawyer. It’s time to decide just how much that piece of content is worth. Not just dollars and cents, but emotionally. If the number is big, hire a copyright lawyer and file a case. Know that this will cost thousands.
Hint when hiring a copyright lawyer. As about ‘Fair Use’. If they can’t explain it simply and completely, find another lawyer.
If you write, and especially if you write unique content, it will probably be stolen at some point. I would wish otherwise for you, but that is the case. There are really quite a few things you can do prior to hiring a lawyer and scheduling court time. Try all the other options first.
This article has been significantly influenced by 2 excellent blog posts written by Olivia Rose on Kissmetrics and Lori Soard at Web Hosting Secret Revealed. I most definitely recommend them to you…
“5 Easy to Use Tools to Effectively Find and Remove Stolen Content.” 5 Easy to Use Tools to Effectively Find and Remove Stolen Content. Web. 14 Mar. 2014. http://blog.kissmetrics.com/find-remove-stolen-content/
“What To Do When Someone Steals Your Unique Site Content.” Web Hosting Secrets Revealed. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.