Content theft – How malayalam bloggers can deal with it

(Last Updated On: July 30, 2008)

Just came across this thread today. A classic example for malayalam bloggers on content theft, what mistakes we do and how to deal with it (or rather not to).

I have no inclinations to any of the parties in the picture and neither know either of them but, clearly this is a clear example of ignorance from both the parties.

The accused here is who is said to have copied content from malayalam blogs. And the complaint is raised by Injipennu.

If you analyze the situation, there are mistakes right from the start, so I’m not surprised to see it took off a wild flight and crashed down.

Mistakes from the bloggers side (of interest to us)

– When a content theft complaint is made, please use your original contact and genuine details and not a profile name/screen name.
Here, the blogger sent an email complaining about the theft in her screen name, which implies that even though her claim is true, the accused doesn’t have to reply to it. Because, the genuine details are missing. Remember that the accused is a larger reputed firm.

– Although it is good to send email requests on content theft, please collect all the evidence and send them along.
Here, had the lady sent the email with the evidences, things would’ve achieved a bit more clarity right from first. (Note that she had only sent the copied URLs and not the original source)

– Google is not whom such complaints should be reported to.
Google is not going to help you in this case, but there are other bodies who will.

– If you don’t get a satisfactory response from the company (accused), please contact a lawyer.

What are the steps to take when you find someone copying your content?

  1. Gather evidence.
    – Go to Google and type Find out where the article comes, click on the “cached” link (next to the URL) and it will take you to a page that tells the time when Google found your site.
    – Go to Google and type (Or give in the URL of copied content if you know). Find out the article and see the cached date for it too.
    – It’s great if the copied content was indexed by Google after yours, because that is the first and foremost evidence that your content was published first.
  2. Send a polite email to the author.
    Tell him the issue. Give the evidences and tell him firmly that if this is a mistake, please take the content down. When you sent threatening emails, it may go to the wrong hands and they may take you wrong.
    In this case, the complaint email was answered by a guy who probably didn’t have a clue about anything. It could be the copy writer who might have stolen the content, while the CEO may not have any idea about it.
  3. If they don’t give a satisfactory response.
    Send a DMCA complaint letter to the host. Send an email with the following details to the webhost.
    – Your full contact details.
    – The site in question.
    – The site and URL of copied and original content.
    – A signed copy of the email (Fax or Send it by post)
    – If you are sending to Google, send a copy of the complaint with your signature.
  4. If the accused website has AdSense, report fraud/content theft to Google.
    – Click on their AdSense ads below or top end where it says “Ads by Google”.
    – On the page that appears, there’ll be a text below that says “Give feedback on the site you just saw”
    – You can report fraud there by selecting “Report Violation”, and giving in the necessary details.

Additionally, you can use all the online tools, like this to find information about the host and the author, and contact them directly with the help of a lawyer.

Many a times, bigger firms like the one in the example will take notice of this and remove duplicate content, as it could come in without the care takers notice. A mere “Creative Common” license cannot help you in this aspect, as the validity of it with respect to law is very limited. It is only an agreement with a group that if broken can be “tagged” as violation, but you can’t sue anyone using it.

So essentially, it’d be good if bloggers make sure that Google indexes their content quickly and more often, so that you can show it as evidence against copy cats. If you fail in that, there’s very little the law can help you out.

It’s a pity that some firms (even claiming of 10 years experience in the industry) don’t realize the severity of content theft, and end up being like this.

Image courtesy – Tampa Bay