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How to react when your online content just got pilfered

In the world of online marketing, content is king -- which makes it particularly problematic when you find out that your original work has been pilfered and is being passed off as somebody else's. It also lowers the value of your work while simultaneously unjustly enriching someone else's search engine rankings.

In other words, you need to put a stop to it. So, how do you do it? Follow this guide

1. Send notices

As soon as you discover your original blog or other work being passed off as somebody else's, you need to send a notice stating that the material is in violation of copyright laws and a demand that it be removed from the site within 24-48 hours to avoid further action.

Who should you notify? Consider all of these:

  • The blogger or poster who has copied your work
  • The parent company that is hosting the blog on its site
  • The site's webmaster
  • The owner of the website's domain

Online tools like "Whois" are useful to find out information about the owner of the site. It's best to send identical emails to all of the above because it may be difficult to determine who has the power to remove the content the fastest. Plus, it's always good to hope that at least some of those people weren't aware that the content was lifted from somewhere else.

2. Notify all important third parties

At this point, damage control is very important. You want to make stealing your work as useless as possible. If the work isn't removed within the time limit you set, contact the following:

  • Google - The site's "Removing Content From Google" page can assist you in removing the plagiarized content rand keeping it from climbing higher in the search engine results than the original work through a takedown request
  • Notify advertisers - Google Adsense can help you point out a site that should be removed from Google's indexing process due to intellectual property theft

3. Take legal action

If there's money being made off your work illegally, you may want to take your case to court and pursue damages.

There's no easy process for dealing with copyright infringement. It's an ongoing battle that's best won through diligence and effort on a constant basis -- but it's worth it if you want to be the person who profits from your labors.

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