What to do if you’re getting as sick as I am of having your blog copied

  1. Get used to it. I still get a little pissed off whenever another case comes up, but a little less each time because it’s becoming so frequent. Latest case: A “travel” blog scraped and copied yesterday’s Dresden bloggers’ weekend post word-for-word.
  2. That being said, don’t pass it off as something you can do nothing about, or worse, think it’s some form of flattery. One comment I once received was, “gee, I wish MY stuff were being copied.” If everone had that attitude, blogging would be doomed.
  3. Develop a routine so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel each time. I have a form letter on file ready to fill in and fax off to Google Adsense just in case the thief is dumb enough to use them. Considering its mammoth size, Google has been surprisingly quick and unbureaucratic in getting them to pull my content and their advertisements from offending sites.
  4. Go to The Blog Herald and read their post on the Five Content Theft Myths.
  5. Or save the following. It’s what Google sent me when I complained the first time this happened.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. For example, “The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on (URL to your post)”

2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing upon the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above. You must identify each page that allegedly contains infringing material by providing its URL. Make sure it is the URL of the thief’s post.

3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit Google to contact you (email address is preferred).

4. Include the following statement: “I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing webpages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”

5. Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”

6. Sign the paper.

7. Send the written communication to the following address:

Google, Inc.
Attn: AdSense Support, DMCA complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View CA 94043

OR Fax to:

(650) 618-8507, Attn: AdSense Support, DMCA complaints

It’s that simple. I admit it’s not the whole solution, because it only covers Adsense, but it’s a start. I haven’t zapped them all, but if I get a few, it’s worth it.

© 2007 lettershometoyou

35 Responses to “What to do if you’re getting as sick as I am of having your blog copied”

  1. November 20, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I have a silly question, if they steal blogs to make money with adsense ads, why not register for adsense yourself and then not put the code on your blog. Seems to me that way no one else can register the blog, or is that too simplistic. I’m pretty much a neophyte here…ciao

  2. November 21, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Hi rositta –
    The question isn’t as silly as you make it out.
    The reason I can’t put Adsene ads on this blog myself is because it’s on wordpress.COM. If I had my own blog hosting – and used wordpress.ORG software or any other I choose – I could register with Adsense and put their ads here no problem.

    They aren’t stealing the whole blog, btw, just post-by-post. The content is lifted and then stuck into their format.

  3. November 21, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    well it ain’t there anymore…

  4. November 21, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Cathy, you are the bearer of good news! Must be some sort of record. Less than 24 hours after sending the fax, it’s gone.

    I notice they’re still carrying Google ads though. Google should zap them.

  5. 5 MountPenguin
    November 22, 2007 at 8:39 am

    That’s interesting information about AdSense. Looking at that content theft scum site, they seem so be specialized in lifting content from wordpress.com blogs – maybe a word or two to the wordpress.com people might be useful.

  6. November 22, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Not again! You seem to be really popular.

    Putting your mad writing skillz aside for a minute, I’m wondering why they (whoever “they” are) keep lifting content from your blog. What attracts them? Is it totally random, or do they go after specific topics or blog platforms or how does the whole thing work?

  7. November 22, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    M.Penguin: I don’t think wordpress can do much about it, I’m afraid.

    christina: It’s not that they love my writing or this blog – I think they go for the tags and categories you put in.

  8. November 23, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    This is all very interesting so one last question, how do you actually find out that someone has splogged you?

  9. November 23, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Good question, and a whole post’s worth. If blogspot is anything like wordpress, your dashboard will have a bunch of stats and info, including who is linking back to you. If your original post contains any link back to another post on your blog – and I try to weave one in every time, though sometimes it’s impossible – then the link to your blog will show up on your dashboard via the copied post.

    There are otherways. go to http://www.copyscape.com and type in your URL. You may be surprised.

    You can also do what’s called a Google Alert. Take the three most popular posts on your blog, or the most recent – and find a string of four to six words together on each post that are most likely to be found nowhere else. Go to Google and look up their products and you should find Alerts. Fill in the blanks. If anyone copies your post, Google will send you a link to it by email.

  10. November 24, 2007 at 12:19 am

    What some are experiencing is theft – plain and simple. What motivates the thieves is profit – plain and simple. And no blogger that I know wants to provide a source of income for lazy parasites who refuse to write their own material.

    What’s more? No attempts to rationalize or justify stealing blog contents phases me in the least. Theft is theft.

    The thieves have a false sense of security. They assume that because bloggers are on free hosting here that they can’t afford to take legal action. They are wrong and the sentiment against them these days is so thick that you could cut it with a knife.

    What needs to be done is known to us. All the steps are laid out. Simply go to the WordPress forum and type DMCA into the searchbox.

    The most effective one is to click the dickens out of the google adsense ads on the splogs with our stolen content on them and then to click the little report to Google link and follow through by making a complaint. We can also follow through with reports to the blog hosts about the thieving and, if these are not effective, then we can make DMCA complaints.

    I have a hosted wordpress installation with not a single advertisement on it. I do not visit blogs covered with advertising more than once. And I certainly do not link to them.

    I have Google alerts. I check Technorati and Google every day. I’m capable of doing whois searches so there is no splogger out there scraping my content that I’m not aware of.

    I belong to several social networks and some have “voting”. I visit the blog of every blogger who sends me a “friend” invitation and if it’s what I call a prostitute blog I vote the blog down and influence all of my actual friends to do the same.

  11. November 24, 2007 at 1:38 am

    Thank you so much for your information, have a nice weekend and enjoy those nice German Christmas markets, we don’t have that here…ciao

  12. November 24, 2007 at 5:43 am

    great comment and also worthy of a post on its own. I admire those who can find the time to take part in the social networking aspect of blogging, and didn’t realise that was also a way to keep the thieves at bay.

    rositta: there’s one opening in Dresden next week that’s been going on for more than 500 years!

  13. November 26, 2007 at 1:14 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much. Usually those sites are called scraper sites. They rank low on Google’s PR ranking and can usually get banned from the search engines entirely.

    They can also get bumped for duplicate content ban. There are a few more things you can do inside the Google pages for duplicate content. I think they’ve already taken away the page, but I wish plagiarism would be attacked harder on the net.

    Good luck! (You can also try to encrypt your page so it can’t be copied at all.)

  14. November 27, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Hey thanks for the linking trick to see if you are being copied, that’s a good idea. Copyscape comes up with far too many results to sift through, and you need to buy a membership if you want to see all your matches anyway.

  15. November 27, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Wow. Had no idea things could get so ugly.

    Thanks for turning it into a chance to share resources and tips, though.

  16. November 27, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Molly and Mr. R – very happy to oblige. Do check out the Blog Herald as they have another related item on this.

    Copyscape has its faults, but it’s better than nothing.

    expatraveler: it’s the principle of the thing more than anything. They are putting ads there with the expectation of making money out of something that you and I produce. It’s just not right.

  17. December 1, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Never would ever ever even begin to consider scraping your content, Ian, or anyone else’s for that matter — but there is a small confession to be made: Just two or three visits to your blog, and already I’d rather like to just download your whole brain directly into my head, word for eminently readable word… Thanks for thinking & writing : )

  18. December 1, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Hi domestikgoddess, thanks for dropping by!

    No downloads available. Will you settle for one post at a time?

  19. December 3, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Excellent post, information and comments! I’ll be linking to this with a post I’ll write in the near future!

  20. December 3, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks for this. I’m pretty vigilant about doing searches with my blog content words and usually find my posts excerpted somewhere. Usually I can send a note and ask the person to credit me and link to my blog and it’s done. Unlike a professional travel site, my blog is usually cut and pasted by amateurs who say things like, “I read this the other day and it’s great.” Nice compliment but I NEED the credit to retain the copyright. I usually send a short note and it’s taken care of without a problem.

    Other times I have to clear my throat, mention that I’m an attorney who is protecting my copyrighted material and ask that we avoid the cease and desist letter followed by the lawsuit. That usually works.

  21. 21 wheresroxy
    December 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks – I’ve recently run into my first case of this and though it appears to be a splogger, it still just ticks me off… I’ll be doing a lot of reading here to get it all straightened out.

  22. January 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Hello Ian in Hamburg, I have one more question for you. What if anything can be done if someone copies the name of your blog? This person has been lurking for some time an suddenly she has a blog with the same name. I find this incredibly annoying, any advice…ciao

  23. January 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Hi rositta,
    I don’t think there is any way to stop someone from taking the name of your blog. Let’s say someone wants to call her blog Letters Home and puts it up on Blogspot. There’s really not much I could do except perhaps ask the blogger to grab some originality.

    I also notice your blog name “The View from Here” gets a lot of hits on google – but they’re not your blog. Like this guy:

    and here http://mike-french.blogspot.com/

    and yet another: http://gunfightersview.blogspot.com/

    They all have different URLs, of course.

  24. January 7, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks for your reply…hoping to come to Dresden next September, it’s on my list of cities in Germany to visit…ciao

  25. January 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Well, if you’re passing through Hamburg, let me know, OK?

  26. 26 pKay
    March 22, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for the http://www.copyscape.com website. I am very new to this so I highly doubt I will be getting copied anytime soon, but it’s good to keep in mind for the future🙂


  27. March 22, 2008 at 8:55 am

    It will happen sooner than you think! The first time I noticed it was only a couple of months in. Glad to hear this has been a help to you.

  28. April 1, 2008 at 1:44 am

    your sentence: “get use to it” — is true. If your going to have a blog, some content will get stolen, its more a nuisance… its not the end of the world.
    Until its no longer worth trouble for people to create splogs, they will continue to do so.
    I think i will continue to to fight back once and a while, just to frustrate a few bottom dwellers. If we all do it once in a while maybe we can make it to much trouble for some to act so unethical.
    thanks for the informative post.

  29. April 1, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Thanks for letting me know, Chris. This question comes up on the WP.com forums quite regularly, but every time I put in a link to this post as part of my response, I feel I’m engaging in shameless blog promotion. But if someone like you gets some help from it, I feel it’s worth doing.

  30. February 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Ian ~ Not shameless blog promotion at all, but help. I just got my first dose of this today and I’m not happy. I spent days on my latest, and within four hours it was up on what appears to be an Italian soccer site. Who knew?

    Anyway, there are google ads all over it, so I’ll attempt to sort this all out and see what I can do. It was an excerpt linked back to my site, but without my name. I just am beside myself, but at least there are resources to help deal with it. (Found this through the WP forums).

    I’ve had copyscape for months, and do occasional URL checks and phrase searches, but was beginning to think it never would happen to me. HA!

    • February 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm

      That is such a drag, Linda. These sploggers are a pain, but you can get action from Google. I must admit that I haven’t had to follow my own instructions posted here for quite a while, so if you find anything that needs updating – the fax number, or other info, let me know, OK? And keep after Google until you get results, ie the ads and / or your writing off that site!

  31. February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Hi, I found you because you replied to a question I posted on wordpress about this website which I shall not name to give it even more traffic scraping my blog. My blog is a niche blog about divorce that I absolutely slave over called Divorce Saloon. It was very irritating to find that this website was coming on as soon as I updated my blog and stealing my work and putting it on their splog and making money off my labor. That is slavery. It’s totally not cool. Got me so mad, I left a nasty post on my blog for them. And guess what? THEY SCRAPED THE NASTY POST TOO!!! I mean, I cursed them out totally, really lost my cool, and they scraped even that. So I think this is some sort of bot. It can’t be human.

    Anyways, I am taking some of the steps you and others suggested, so let’s see what happens. By the way, I have Google adsense on my blog. Is that a bad thing? It almost sounds like folks are saying that if a blog has adsense, it’s a bad thing? If that is the sentiment, may I respectfully disagree? I mean, the amount of work a pour into my blog is unbelievable. What I make from Google adsense is miniscule. But it gives me just a little tickle, that ever so often, I get a small check from Google adsense which I use to buy myself a latte or something. It’s my only reward and the occassional nice comment from a reader. Please don’t tell me that having adsense is bad and that it lowers my blog. I really just can’t accept that ipse dixit.

    In any event, thank you all you bloggers for all the work you do. Let’s stay on top of these scrapers, though. This is not cool what they do, as I wrote here: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/new-york-stealing-content-from-divorce-blogs-is-not-cool

    Sorry for the “F” bomb but I was just absolutely livid.

    Blog on, ya’ll!

    • February 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Hi divorce saloon – what I mean about the Adsense ads is this: if someone else is stealing your stuff, and putting Adsense ads around the stolen material, then you can and should get ahold of Google using the steps described in this post. They will have the ads taken down. It can take a bit of time, so be patient. Remind them if you get no action after, say, 72 hours.

      Please let me know if anything has changed though, because I haven’t tested it in more than two years.

      Whether or not you put Adsense ads on your own blog is your own business.

  32. July 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

    We can try following ways to get instant traffic. 1)search engine submission : Submit … d) forums Try posting links all related forums.

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