“You should be flattered that someone copied you.”
Many people say that we should be pleased when others think our work is good enough to copy, errr, steal. Unfortunately, copyright infringers do nothing positive to help authors & their presentation. At My ParenTime’s Family Community, we follow up on every single incidence of copyright infringement. There are people who don’t care that others are stealing their work — if this is you, feel free to do nothing. That’s your choice of course. But we feel it’s necessary to protect our brand and all the hard work we have put into our creations. Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers, and the information provided is for educational purposes only.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office (in general), is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”
What could you do if you find out your work was stolen?
Depending on the amount of work that was stolen, and how it is being used, you could either send a DMCA-compliant email to the website owner, or the webhosting company (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). You can find our sample DMCA-compliant letter here. Be sure you include the 7 points below, and all the information you need in order for the other party to research your claim.
- Date and time, including AM or PM, and time zone, that the material was found.
- Physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. (sign the letter)
- Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed or a representative list if multiple works are involved.
- Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing that should be removed or access to disabled and information reasonably sufficient to enable the online service provider to locate the material (usually a URL to the relevant page).
- Information reasonably sufficient to allow the online service provider to contact he complaining party (address, phone number, email address).
- Statement that the complaining party has “a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or the law.”
- Statement that the information in the notice is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
When corresponding, it’s best to polite while being direct, and request what you would like to see happen (C&D – cease & desist/removal of information; have the information changed, etc). The majority of the time, you’ll receive a reply with a satisfactory resolution. If you don’t hear anything from the website owner, the next step is to contact the webhosting company.
Send your DMCA-compliant email to the webhosting company and explain that there is an issue of copyright infringement on their servers. There has only been one time thus far where we have not received a satisfactory reply from a webhosting company, but after numerous emails and phone calls back and forth, we finally reached a satisfactory solution.
We keep a list of all of our copyright infringement issues online, as a way of documenting. We like to try and give people the benefit of the doubt — it’s unfortunate, but many people believe it’s ok to take whatever information they please and reuse it as their own.
How could I find out which webhosting company a website uses?
We’ve listed a domain search website below in our resources. All you need to do is put the infringing domain URL into the WhoIs search box, and you will be able to see information for their web server. Put the web server URL into the domain search box to find that website’s webhosting company and their contact information.
What if there is no contact information or incorrect contact information in the Who Is?
The next step here would be to report a false WhoIs to the infringing website’s registrar, and also let them know that this website has infringed on your copyright. We’ve listed resources below to help you find the contacts of a website. After you put the infringing domain name into the WhoIs search box, you will be able to find that website’s registrar.
What can I do if I don’t receive a reply from either the website owner or the webhosting company?
If you have contacted the website owner and the webhosting company, and are still met with resistance, there are still things you can do. This list is not complete — we just wanted to give you a few ideas.
You can set up a page and display all the websites that are infringing on your copyright. We started logging our copyright infringement issues online in 2001 as a way to keep track of them. We chose to keep the infringing websites private as a courtesy. But there are numerous website owners who have no problem whatsoever displaying the URL of a website that has infringed on their copyright.
Contact major search engines. You can contact the major search engines and try and have the infringing website banned from searches. You could also contact Google if the infringing website participates in Google AdSense. Send a DMCA-compliant email to: Google, Inc., Attn: Google Legal Support, AdSense DMCA Complaints, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043. You can also Fax a DMCA-compliant letter to (650) 618-8507, Attn: Google AdSense Support, DMCA complaints. You can find out more information about Google AdSense here.
Sample DMCA-Compliant Letter on BaileyBeGood.com.
Wordless Wednesday: Mad Words Wednesday Post on BaileyBeGood.com about numerous blogs’ images hot-linked without permission. (Site has since been taken down.)
5 Free Copyright-Related Steps Every Blogger Should Take Today, from PlagiarismToday.com
My Free Copyright Provides digital copyrights for your works
Creative Commons Provides free licenses for your works
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