What to do When Someone Steals Your Stuff

by | Jan 22, 2015 | Social Media for Authors

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POSTED when someone steals B 01222015 It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. You write a great article either on your blog or as a guest post, and one day you find it on someone else’s site with no credit to you whatsoever. In the case of what happened that prompted this piece, an article I wrote was lifted and tinkered with *slightly* and then reposted onto someone else’s site. What do you do if that happens? Well, it’s certainly a hassle but it’s one you should consider following up on because stealing someone else’s work – especially stealing it and repurposing it, is not right and certainly a copyright infringement.

When you discover this, the first step is to contact the site as I did after I got an email from someone at Joel Friedlander’s site, The Book Designer, to tell me that they’d discovered that this piece: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/07/amazon-algorithms/ was reposted here: http://publishingpush.com/blog/understanding-amazons-algorithms/#comment-630

After my initial contact, they added me to the bottom of this piece as a “resource.” I emailed them again, reminding them I’d written this and to please cite me as the author. They wrote back, said they had – and they hadn’t. As this point it just became a game of chicken so I decided to take this a step further.POSTED when someone steals A 012222015 - blog_pin

Your first plan of attack is to find out who their domain is registered with which in this case is GoDaddy. I found that information by going here: https://who.is/ and plugging in the URL. That will also pull up owner information, etc. that could be helpful to your case. Once you have that, go to the domain company and file a complaint. Here is a link to the complaint form on GoDaddy, and I suspect that most domain services have a similar form:


Next, you want to file with Google. Their process is a simple, online form that you can find here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice?hl=en&pid=0

Once that’s done you wait for them to make their determination and let you know if the website has been contacted and what the outcome will be. What I can tell you from past experience is that both domain companies and Google take a very hard stance on trademark and copyright infringement so they tend to act quickly.

Yes, it’s a bit of work to do this but we must not allow people to steal the work we’ve created. Resolving this for issues related to piracy, etc. isn’t always possible but when it is, you should take action.

I will post a follow up to this (updating this blog post) to let you know what happened.

Good news – here is the follow up: http://amarketingexpert.com/winning-plagiarism-battle/


  1. Jennifer Mattern

    I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with a content thief. That’s never fun. But I wanted to make a quick suggestion.

    Generally you wouldn’t contact a site’s domain registrar with this kind of complaint. You should start with the host. They’re the ones with control over the actual content on the site, and they’re often not the same company as the site’s domain registrar (generally a good idea to keep them separate).

    While you can find a site’s host via WhoIs records if you understand DNS records and know that the domains listed there aren’t necessarily the host’s own domains (you might have to backtrace them as well), it’s much easier to use a site like WhoIsHostingThis.com. Again, it’s not perfect, but it will more often than not give you the correct host (and it frequently helps you identify root hosts if the site went through a more obscure reseller).

    If you’re worried about the stolen content outranking yours (and it does happen, especially if your site is new), you should always contact Google first — not after contacting the host or registrar. If the content has been pulled before they see it, you sometimes have to wait longer for the search results to disappear.

    As another tip, which I covered in a guest post for Kathryn Aragon (http://www.kathrynaragon.com/identify-content-thieves/ ), you might want to consider filing a complaint with their advertisers as well. That works especially well if they use a large advertising network. Running ads on stolen content generally violates their terms, and you can have their entire ad accounts suspended over it (and many networks let them run ads across multiple sites).

    Over the years I’ve found even the threat of this to be highly effective. Give them notice that you’ll hit them where it hurts — search engine traffic and ad revenue — and it’s amazing how fast some of these thieves will take down the infringing content. And this works not only for blog posts, but also for sites stealing and republishing your e-books.

    Better yet, this approach can be more effective when dealing with overseas thieves whose hosts aren’t subject to the DMCA. Their ad networks and search traffic often still come through U.S. companies.

    Best of luck in dealing with this!

    • amarketingexpert

      Jennifer yes thank you! That’s what I did – in fact I have a follow up on this. I’ll post it shortly… they pulled down the post. Really stoked!

  2. Grace Brannigan

    Great article and solution. And great comment by Jennifer Mattern. Thank you both.

  3. Ruby P. Johnson

    I once took a class where we had to provide a detailed synopsis of our book and then the instructor would take it apart. It shocked me that I saw a book published later that year with the same plot. It was if the author followed my synopsis and outline to write the book. The only thing that changed were the character’s names.
    Since I hadn’t published the book I really didn’t have any recourse at the time. I must say I was careful about what class I took online after that.



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