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Content Theft

The Web is sometimes a little bit of a Wild West environment, and one of the bad things that can occur is that another publisher (a spammer) can copy your content and republish it on one of his own sites. This is very easy for infringers to do. They simply “View Source” in their browsers and take whatever they like without regard to copyright, or send a spider to collect all of your pages in one fell swoop.

You can locate copyright infringers pretty easily using Copyscape, if they’ve lifted some of your page copy. It’s much more difficult if they’ve limited their sticky fingers to just your design.

There are six major options for dealing with an infringer:

  • File a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) infringement notification.

  • Contact the infringing company’s CEO, head of marketing, legal counsel, or whomever you feel is most likely to respond.

  • Notify the site’s hosting company, if it is not self-hosted.

  • “Out” them on your blog, or if your blog is not that popular, get someone with a popular blog to out them.

  • Have your lawyer send them a nasty-gram.

  • Do nothing.

Doing nothing is not a great option if you’re serious about protecting your intellectual property rights. At the very least, you want to show you have made an effort to protect your IP in the event ownership comes into question in other scenarios.

A phone call to the infringing company is inexpensive, and it can work. Sometimes publishers who use contract writers are not even aware that they are infringing. But this ...

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