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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    DMCA Complaints Can Work
    Over the past week I had the "fun" of submitting my first DMCA complaint due to stolen content. A site sell affiliate (not surprisingly) copied about 20 pages of my sites content. After I heard nothing from the webmaster, I submitted a DMCA complaint to the host. Took about 1 week, but the site has been fully removed which was nice (I was only expecting about half the site to be removed - which was my stolen content). I also filled out the AOL/ODP DMCA complaint form which led to the site being removed from the ODP too - which should hopefully prevent the site from popping back up in the SERP's anytime soon should the person decide to launch the same site at another host overseas (where DMCA complaints are unlikely to work).

    This whole incident brought forward the need to COPYRIGHT your website. While if you have a typical shopping mall type site copyright may not do much good since you probably don't have much unique content, if you have a content site then make sure you copyright your site sometime in the near future - even more so if you site has many photos like my own. By copyrighting your site, you then have the ability to sue for damages for copyright infringement.

    As it turns out, copyrighting your website is pathetically easy - and pretty cheap, too. I initially thought I would have to burn my entire site onto a CD (all 4000 pages) and send it to the copyright office with the necessary forms. As it turns out, a nifty little online service will do it for you for $99 - and that cost includes all fees. The service spiders your entire site, burns it on a CD(s) and submits it with all paperwork to the copyright office. Copyright date is effective immediately, but you won't be able to collect damages for 6-9 months - the time it takes to receive official notification from the copyright office.

    So, the moral of the story is, if you have a content site, make sure you copyright your site to protect your work and have the ability to collect damages in the event a DMCA complaint for whatever reason does not work.

    For reference for people, here's some handy links you may want to have in the event you need to file a DMCA complaint.

    How and Where to file DMCA complaints to the search engines and major directories:

    http://www.seologic.com/faq/dmca-notifications.php

    Online Service to Copyright a Website (I'm sure there are others, but this is the one I used). Note, they have an affiliate program but I'm not a member and no affiliate link is in the url!

    http://www.benedict.com/

    Anyways, hope this helps someone out who has a content site and finds bits and pieces of it mysterious appearing on other websites.

    Jim

  2. #2
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    Yes, the DMCA is good for this sort of thing, and as long as the site is hosted in the US then you can do just that - I've had sites taken down on US hosts when the "copier" is based outside the US, as am I.

    DMCA Complaints to Google can also work well, especially if the copier's site is ranking well in the SERPs.

    I have to say that it's very satisifying when the WHOLE site gets taken down by the host. The copier is a LOT more likely to learn their lesson that way. Although even then, so many of them continue to insist that they've done nothing wrong.. but a week or so without a web site is a great way of showing them the error of their ways.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  3. #3
    A Real *and* Darn Cool Member! lstolze's Avatar
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    Very interesting! Thanks for the info.

    What do you do if the thief is outside the US? I guess you are screwed at that point... My site has been ripped by someone in France. Tried saying something to Google, to which they responded they can't do anything. So they can't do anything, but they'll be the first to knock my site out of the index for dupe content.... Nice. I tried to email the site owner, of course their address is non-existent. So they not only have a copy of my site intact on their server, but they also made their own site using my template. The funny thing is, the thief was so stupid, that all the mouseovers and image links are still mine. LOL! So you mouse over some pic of a woman's bad skin (it's some sort of cosmetic surgery/spa shop) and it say "MERCHANT X".

    Gotta love it!
    ~Lisa - Brilliant Mastermind, or Nut? You decide!

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    If the thief is outside the US, know this:
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/piracy/faq.cgi#QID272
    http://www.totse.com/en/law/justice_for_all/claw4.html

    And hire yourself an experienced attorney that specializes in intellectual property.

  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimh009
    By copyrighting your site, you then have the ability to sue for damages for copyright infringement.
    Confirming this.

    If you want to sue pursuant to:
    penalties: http://www.chillingeffects.org/piracy/faq.cgi#QID285
    punitive: http://www.chillingeffects.org/piracy/faq.cgi#QID527
    You'll need to register your copyrights as jimh009 has stated.
    Without it, you'll never get into court.

    We dont want to go to court, but if the DMCA fails, this is your only recourse besides accepting being a victim.

    Everyone should know how to copyright your work and do so:
    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#hsc
    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#noc

    Most should give serious consideration to rgistering your copyright as well:
    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#cr
    Click this link and see this statement... Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimh009
    Online Service to Copyright a Website (I'm sure there are others, but this is the one I used). http://www.benedict.com/
    I use c-Site through GoDaddy. Very cheap - works well. BUT it does not have a wizard for site capture like the one jimh009 described. However, Adobe 5.0 and later has a cool feature for grabbing and converting an entire website to a single pdf file (one allowed method of submission for copyright registration applications).

    They have a 10MB limit to the file upload process - I have a 25 page site that came out to be ~500kb as a pdf (surprisingly small) - yours will vary.

    And if you don't have a copy of Adobe (~$200-300), go with jimh's choice - prepping the data for submission is actually the bulk of the work if you make it hard (the other methods of submission (besides jimh's wizard or my adobe idea) involve coding and tons of cutting and pasting or scripting - plus changes to make code safe to be received by a gov't office... don;t even try to comprehend "safe" by gov't definition).

    If you have large sites, the copyright office allows you to submit the first 25 pages and the last 25 pages instead of the whole site (I have no idea how you figure out which pages are first and last - my sites all compress under 10MB when slurped into pdf).

    If you wait, you cannot register AFTER an infringement and then sue. You must register before the date of infringement to be able to get into court.

    Lastly, I ain't no lawyer - get one - my advice is WORTHLESS without one.

    If affiliate marketing is a business for you, not a hobby - then TCB baby, TCB.

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    My attorney squashed 3 more copycat sites for me in the last 30 days.

    I use CopySentry / CopyScape to get reports to me of copies. I send them (and the hosting company) 1 DMCA. If not resolved in 1 week, I turn it over to my attorney.

    Anyone ever need a good intellectual property and copyright attorney, this is my guy:
    http://floridalaw.leadcounsel.com/

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