Content Theft – What To Do?

Earlier today I came across one of my posts (verbatim) on someone else's website.
The website owner had previously been in contact with me requesting permission to republish my content, which I was not willing to do. They assured me that they would respect my wishes, but they obviously didn't.
It also begs the question whether any of the content they are publishing is their own or if they are ripping off other blogs without their owner's knowledge.
What is the best course of action in this kind of situation?
It's not an automated splog polling an RSS feed source. It's clearly a case of them visiting the site and doing a copy and paste of my content into their site.

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21 Responses to Content Theft – What To Do?

  1. Donncha O Caoimh May 26, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Well, you could try and convince them to take down your content, but that won’t be easy.
    You could check into Google and try to have their site removed from the index.
    Or you just ignore it, I’m sure you’re getting a lot more mileage out of your content than they are.

  2. Jonathan Bailey May 27, 2007 at 3:19 am #

    First off, I am very sorry to hear about your problems with content, I can definitely relate. I’ve shut down well over 500 plagiarists in the past five years, all stealing my content on various sites I’ve run.
    If you wish, I could have a look at it and help you find the best course of action. There are many options including filing a DMCA notice with the host, one against the search engines, sending a cease and desist letter or notifying advertising networks.
    Just send me an email if you are interested. I’ll gladly see what your options are at the very least!
    Never stop fighting!

  3. Lar May 27, 2007 at 8:28 am #

    Hi Michele,
    why not try the “softly, softly catchy approach”?
    Put a link (with rel=nofollow if need be) at the bottom of your content saying something like “while this article appears here in its original form, it has been syndicated with permission at
    Then ask the syndicator to put a message at the top of your syndicated content, saying “This article’s original format appeared at…”.
    Perhaps this guy assumes (wrongly) that because you use RSS, you’re implying that your content is free to be used elsewhere.
    An interesting conundrum.

  4. Ralph May 27, 2007 at 9:15 am #

    It’s just the sheer cheek of people who will happily rip off your content which took you time and thought to create. It’s morally and ethically indefensible. If the other site is generating revenue off the back of your content then you may have cause to take it further. Are they in the same jurisdiction? I’ve had this happen to me in the past and a cease and desist letter threatening litigation and unspecifed damages has generally done the trick.

  5. michele May 27, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    Lar – I already told them that I did not want them to republish my content. I said they could cite me if they wished, but not republish it in its entirety. I am not going to do an about turn on that. He can’t make any assumptions of intent as we actually swapped emails on the matter a couple of months ago.
    Ralph – The other site’s advertising rate card is very impressive. If I were to sell even a fraction of the space at those rates I’d be driving my dream car already! They’re not in Ireland, but they are in the EU.
    Jonathan – thanks for the pointers. A couple of the options you mention might work, though complaining to the host will be a waste of time.

  6. Jonathan Bailey May 27, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    Before you write off contacting the host, check and see if they are EU or U.S. If they are either, then they have laws that require them to re move such content once notified.
    It’s always worth a shot, the worst that can happen is nothing.

  7. michele May 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm #

    The host is the perpetrator

  8. Adrian May 27, 2007 at 6:53 pm #

    As long as it’s not passed off as original composition, he/she can cite, with full legal indemnity, 98 per cent of what you’ve written, even using all your own phrases, if organised in a particular way. Take the following (and note that if your complaint isn’t valid, you’ve written some first class libels yourself in here):
    [His intro]A blogger has become frustrated at another blogger repeating his content.[End of his intro]
    Michele Neylon wrote that he had across one of his posts (verbatim) on someone else’s website.
    The website owner had previously been in contact with him requesting permission to republish my content, which he was not willing to do, he said. They assured him that they would respect his wishes but they “obviously didn’t”.
    Neylon said that it also begs the question whether any of the content the website is publishing is its own or if it is ripping off other blogs without their owner’s knowledge.
    What is the best course of action in this kind of situation, he asked.
    It’s not an automated splog polling an RSS feed source, he said. It was “clearly” a case of them visiting the site and doing a copy and paste of his content into their site.
    But from your own post, it sounds like it was indeed just a cut-and-paste job?

  9. michele May 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm #

    thanks for the input. I wouldn’t have an issue if they cited me as the source, as in your example. My issue is with them copying my post in its entirety and publishing it as their own. I’ve emailed you links to both the original and the copy

  10. Stewart Curry May 28, 2007 at 9:39 am #

    You obviously don’t want to name and sahme – is there a reason for that?

  11. michele May 28, 2007 at 9:54 am #

    Unlike some people I prefer to give people a chance to fix the problem before I complain about them directly. I contacted the owner of the site that is infringing my copyright as soon as I found out about it. I had already been in contact with them previously. I was very annoyed about the affair, as you can appreciate, so I wrote about it without mentioning the specifics. I also wanted to give the offender opportunity to reply. They haven’t so far, so I will be taking the matter further.

  12. Jonathan Bailey May 28, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    That’s one of the interesting things about hosts. Very few people run their own servers and host their own connection. They might claim to be their own host and it might appear to be so, but it is unlikely. There’s almost always someone higher.

  13. michele May 28, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    Believe me. There isn’t anyone else. The only people above them would be their upstream providers, who only provide bandwidth.

  14. Niall May 29, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    Dilbert seems strangely appropriate for this 🙂

  15. Stephen May 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm #

    Who is it? 🙂

  16. michele May 30, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    I will probably reveal who they are later today.

  17. michele May 31, 2007 at 1:24 am #

    See my more recent post

  18. Dave Davis June 1, 2007 at 2:21 am #

    Submitted to digg. I don’t expect it to be dugg, but digg results tend to show up for navigational queries on a domain for a few weeks after it’s been submitted.

  19. Eoin June 1, 2007 at 5:09 pm #

    It’s a breach of copyright, with all of the consequences following according to the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000.

  20. michele June 1, 2007 at 5:40 pm #

    Is there an EU equivalent?

  21. Dave Davis June 4, 2007 at 5:33 pm #

    There you go. A navigational query of “” shows 6 of the top 10 results in a negative light.
    I for one do navigational queries when considering advertising on a site. Who wants their brand associated with that?

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