What DO You Do When Someone STEALS Your CONTENT?

Last Updated on: March 6th, 2019

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE STEALS YOUR CONTENT?

It happens. People steal content from you. They impersonate you. They re-post your content… and not always in a good way. Sometimes they even pretend to be you. That’s the WORST!

When you become successful online, things like this are bound to happen!

Here is my true story about what happened to me in January and February 2019 and what I did about it. 

You can follow the same steps that I did, if something like this ever happens to you.

I will also give you a few other tips on what else you can do, to both protect yourself and also what to watch out for… because dealing with this stuff is a real PAIN!

In this article:

1: HOW I FOUND OUT SOMEONE WAS STEALING MY STUFF

2: WHAT DID I DO?

3: THE ADVICE I RECEIVED

4: FILING WITH GOOGLE

5: MONITORING THE SITE WHERE THE STOLEN CONTENT WAS FOUND

6: MORE STOLEN CONTENT!

7: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE STEALS YOUR CONTENT?

8: OTHER ACTIONS TO DO WHEN FIND YOUR CONTENT HAS BEEN STOLEN

9: GET DMCA PROTECTED

10: DISCOVERING THE STOLEN CONTENT WAS REMOVED

111: STOLEN CONTENT IS AKIN TO PLAGIARISM

12: LET MY EXPERIENCES BE A LESSON TO YOU

1: HOW I FOUND OUT SOMEONE WAS STEALING MY STUFF

While replying to comments on my author site, I noticed that someone linked to me.

How?

I have things set up so that I must approve all comments and pingbacks.

I saw the following pingback:

Comment pingback notification

Naturally, I visited that page.

When I checked out the article at http://find-jobs-online.info/diversify-your-self-as-a-freelancer-and-earn-extra.html, I was appalled to discover someone was impersonating me!

I did not write that article!

That person also stole a bunch of my images to use in that post!

They really “looked” like they were ME!

However, the article was/is POORLY WRITTEN, and anyone who knows me KNOWS that I don’t write like that!

I WAS FURIOUS to make such a discovery!

Now, I know backlinks are important and I generally LOVE it when I find out that people have linked to my sites. But getting them this way is NOT good!

I also know that there are ways of finding out who owns a site (or, at least, who registered it or where it was registered). I’ve learned a thing or two in the last six years of blogging! (wink, wink)

I also know that you can report sites and articles wherein your content is stolen. I wasn’t exactly sure how to do this, so I had to do some investigating and research.

2: WHAT DID I DO?

First, I dealt with my anger. I was outraged! I then took screenshots of the entire article (as proof).

Secondly, I decide to deal with the site owner directly and see if I could resolve the problem.

So, I left them the following comment on that site:

This is the REAL Lorraine Reguly commenting here.

I DID NOT write this article! I write WAY BETTER than this!

Parts of this article, however, have been copied WORD FOR WORD from articles I HAVE WRITTEN and published online, on both of my sites.

I’m NOT IMPRESSED with this article, although I am flattered you took the time to link to so many of my articles and tried to pretend to be me.

I’m really torn between laughing at you and being angry at you. If you wanted to promote my business and my book so much, you should have just asked me to write something for your site! I would have gladly done that!

Please, please, please contact me so I can edit this article and turn it into something great! (I will edit this for FREE!) If you do not allow me to edit this, I am going to report you and this site.

My email address is [email protected] and I hope to hear from you SOON!!!

Third, I looked up the WHOIS information for that site. (The WHOIS Lookup Tool by ICANN is as official as it gets since ICANN is the organization that coordinates all of the domain names around the world.)

WHOIS info for the site that stole from me

Fourth, I found the IP address, too, from Who Is Hosting This.

The IP address of the site that stole from me

Fifth, I did a Google search for “how to report a website article that stole from me” and found a bunch of information.

Neil Patel’s article 5 Easy to Use Tools to Effectively Find and Remove Stolen Content

I also posted on Facebook and asked some of my techie friends for advice… Iftekhar Ahmed (a blogger-genius) and Alan Langford (owner of Abivia, a web-hosting company).

I knew I had to report this, even before I was told this by my friends.

(Sixth, I reported it.)

Here is what I posted:

My Facebook post

3: THE ADVICE I RECEIVED

Iftekhar told me to use this guide to help me: How To Remove All Copied Content From Google Search.

Alan said, “File the DCMA with Google, Bing, and the host.” He also told me to search Google for the term “file DMCA complaint.”

I found this, too, and I am not sure it is relevant: https://www.icann.org/complaints-office

And I found that you don’t have to do this “takedown” stuff yourself. You can search Google for “DMCA takedown services” and hire someone to deal with this for you.

4: FILING WITH GOOGLE

There are many steps involved in figuring out what to do and how to report stolen content and images.

First, I watched the video on Google’s article about Legal Removal Requests.

At the bottom of that page, I clicked on the blue part that says Submit a Legal Request, which directed me to this tool for Removing Content From Google.

I then had many options to choose from. I chose “Web Search.”

I then chose “I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above.”

I then chose “I have found content that may violate my copyright.”

I then chose “Yes, I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”

I was then shown the following:

two options

At that point, I knew I had to check out both options, as both applied to me.

First, I chose “Image/Video” and said YES to “The image/video is of yourself.”

I was shown this:image or video - instructions for this option

After reading the instructions, I did what it said (to click here) and was brought to this form.

I then checked “Other” and was given these instructions:

other - instructions for other

The interesting thing is that I was brought to the same form, regardless of which option I chose.

I filled it out on January 10, 2019.

This is what I tried to send them:

Dear Google,

I’m so glad that I was able to find this form because I need to file a complaint and make a request that a certain new site is taken down. At the very least, I’d like one link removed from the Internet, which is the one where someone is pretending to be me.

I know it’s a new site because I looked up the WHOIS info.

They used many of my images in their post, too, without my permission.

Although they linked to a bunch of things I actually wrote, the article in which I found all this is HORRIBLY WRITTEN! I fear it might ruin my reputation as a writer and editor. This is extremely important to me because my livelihood (my business) hinges on this!

I have two sites of my own: https://wordingwell.com and https://lorrainereguly.com.

To deal with this, I first left a comment on that post. At least, I tried to. Apparently, comments are being held in moderation by the site owner. (I also moderate comments on my sites.) My comment is not yet visible.

I left the same comment two days in a row.

On the second day, I looked around that site some more and found other articles that are probably stolen, including this one: http://find-jobs-online.info/what-are-your-profession-resolutions-for-2017.html

Given that we are now in 2019, it seems that the site owner is stealing things from other bloggers, too. That is why I think the whole site should be removed.

FYI, I have been chronicling my experiences with this and will probably turn this into a blog post at some point, to help others. You can see the draft (which includes the comment I left that site owner) at:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z3notaS7Ke1I64PXDmvwTtdFBPm8qnBDfMv8oF9cQwM/edit?usp=sharing

I’d like to know the outcome of your decision and I hope you will contact me soon.

You can reach me by phone at 807-256-2836, by email at [email protected], or via [email protected]

Thank you for your attention to this!

Lorraine Reguly

They only allow 500 characters, though!

I searched for an online character counter and used it to revise this to say:

Someone is pretending to be me and used my images in their blog post. Please remove it!

I have been chronicling my experiences with this issue at:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z3notaS7Ke1I64PXDmvwTtdFBPm8qnBDfMv8oF9cQwM/edit?usp=sharing

Other articles on that site that are probably stolen, too, such as http://find-jobs-online.info/what-are-your-profession-resolutions-for-2017.html

I think the whole site should be taken down. Please tell me the outcome of this.

When asked to provide proof of the stolen content, I listed:

A Blind Man’s Journey to Publishing a Print Book

How to Make Money Blogging by Doing NOTHING but using AdSense #BlogTrends

How to Succeed Even When You Feel Like Giving Up

Lisa Jackson Sent Me An Autographed Book!

Getting Recognition as an Editor

Editing Services

After I clicked “Submit,” I was brought to this page that said:

Proof of request submission

The link to my removal dashboard is https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/legal-removal-dashboard?hl=en-GB&pid=0&complaint_type=1

I also learned a bit about counter notifications and The Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

5: MONITORING THE SITE WHERE THE STOLEN CONTENT WAS FOUND

Every week, I visited the site where I found that stolen content.

I was disappointed to see it up there EVERY TIME.

To make matters worse, I discovered MORE STOLEN CONTENT in the meantime.

6: MORE STOLEN CONTENT!

On Feb. 24th, 2019, I discovered that more of my content was stolen!

I wrote this letter to the website owner:

Dear Anthony Clarke,

I want you to remove my content from your website.

You stole my article and my images from https://wordingwell.com/mental-health-entrepreneurship-success/

and posted everything at https://simplemlmsponsoring.com/attraction-marketing-formula/blogging/mental-health-entrepreneurship-success/

If you do not remove this within one week, I will be filing a report and taking legal action against you.

Lorraine Reguly

Email sent to Anthony Clarke

Anthony replied, informing he removed it.

I replied to him, explaining how to properly share others’ content on his site.

Email from Anthony

7: DISCOVERING THE STOLEN CONTENT WAS REMOVED

I was getting very discouraged and I was beginning to lose my faith in Google when, lo and behold, I visited the site on Feb. 26, 2019,

When I tried to access that page again, I got this message:

Server cannot be reached

I was SO RELIEVED!

The person handling my case at Google must have taken that site down!

YAY!

At that point, I did a happy dance. 🙂

8: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE STEALS YOUR CONTENT?

Do what I did.

Chronicle EVERYTHING, too, so you have an accurate record of what happened and when.

In fact, this is solid advice ANY TIME you are dealing with a legal problem!

You can follow the 6 steps I did.

But you can also do a few other things, which I will mention next.

9: OTHER ACTIONS TO TAKE WHEN YOU FIND YOUR CONTENT HAS BEEN STOLEN

You can set up Google Alerts. As long as you have a Gmail email address, you can use this free service.

I already had some alerts set up. I reviewed the ones I had.

You can search for copies of your pages using Copyscape. This is a tedious task, so I have not done this myself. However, before I publish a guest post on my site, I ALWAYS run it through Copyscape!

You could do some things in Google Webmaster tools (AKA Search Console), but I am not sure what, exactly, as I am not very techie. (Sorry.)

You could report spam via this link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport

Neil Patel says:

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to prevent your content from being stolen. However, there are some things you can do to protect your content and reduce the odds of it being copied and posted on another person’s website without your permission.

He also advises to:

Create a clear copyright notice and a Terms of Use page. They will let people know that the content is yours and cannot be used without your explicit permission. You can let people know in the Terms of Use if they can use portions of your content with proper attribution.

10: GET DMCA PROTECTED

Another friend of mine told me, “Always use DMCA protection to make sure you can legally take down the website.” He then provided me with a link to the DMCA site, where I learned that you can install a badge on your site to protect it.

So, I installed badges on both of my sites, mere hours after my discovery.

DMCA protection

11: STOLEN CONTENT IS AKIN TO PLAGIARISM

PLAGIARISM is a form of stealing, too. It is different from FAIR USE, which deals with general knowledge and doesn’t require citing sources.

For more information, read Plagiarism (VS Fair Use): What Bloggers Need to Know.

Plagiarism (VS Fair Use): What Bloggers Need to Know When Creating Content

12: LET MY EXPERIENCES BE A LESSON TO YOU

It sucks when bad things happen to good people.

It sucked that I had to deal with people stealing my content.

If you discover that someone has stolen your content, you can use my experience as a lesson in what to do.

That is one of the reasons I decided to turn this into a blog post. I want to help you!

Of course, I also want to know what to do the next time someone steals MY content… if they do.

Hopefully, no one will.

But, if they do, I’m prepared to take the necessary steps to get their site (or the stolen content) taken down!

And now, so are you. 🙂

 

12 thoughts on “What DO You Do When Someone STEALS Your CONTENT?

  1. Hello,

    This thing happens to many people, and they don’t take action
    I hope those people read this blog and take actions against this.

    Thank you !!

  2. Hi @Lorraine,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. People not only steal content but also the design and layout.
    Apart from this, I found you one of the most intelligent bloggers on my list.
    Thank you!

    • says

      Nikola, it was my reputation I was worried about! I don’t mind if a genius pretends to be me, but not an imbecile! LOL!

      Yes, it was a pain getting this content removed. I’m glad I was successful, however!

  3. Hi Lorraine, I’m so sorry this happened to you but I’m so glad you shared your experience with us and included a very helpful step-by-step guide showing us how you resolved this successfully. I have shared this helpful article on Pinterest and Twitter to help others learn from your misfortune.

    This really could happen to anyone, there are such unscrupulous people out there who want to profit off of the work of others. But you got your plagiarist kicked off of the Internet! Well done.

    I didn’t know about getting DCMA certified. I will look into that for The Wonder of Tech as that should help protect me in the future.

    Thank you, Lorraine. I hope this never happens to you again!
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently posted…Password Checkup – A New Google Tool to Check If Your Accounts Have Been Hacked

    • says

      Carolyn, thanks for sharing this. I appreciate it. I want to help others as much as I can. Having someone steal from you is a violation that is hard to deal with!

      Fortunately, I figured out what to do. And it all worked out in my favor in the end.

      The DCMA certification is easy to set up and free, too. I hope you protect your site because your site has so much valuable information on it and I would hate to see someone steal from you!

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