For weeks I’ve been trying to take care of this annoying problem. A blog (legal-attorneys.info) has been stealing my posts (and other bloggers too, I observed) for months now. I noticed this when I received a link trackback notice on my WordPress dashboard. It looks like the blog is running on an automated blog, copying and stealing posts from certain blogs.
If your blog posts are being copied by another blog too, here are the steps that you might want to take to tackle this copyright issue.
What to do when your blog posts are being copied/stolen
(1) Contact the owner of the site/blogger. If it’s a legitimate site/blog, you’ll normally find a Contact link somewhere there. In my case, I couldn’t find any. Proceed to step 2 if this is the case.
(2) Find who hosts the website/blog. I used whoishostingthis for this purpose.
(3) Contact the webhost about the incident and provide some proofs. In my case, I found that the web host is server4you.net.
In my case, they do not comply. At first they replied with:
Dear Sir or Madam
Many thanks for the information you sent us.
Our staff has investigated your complaint and checked your data. There are several indications that your complaint is well-grounded.
Therefore, we have initiated further steps to eliminate its cause. Due to organizational and legal reasons, however, we cannot state any further details. Thanks for your understanding.
I thought it would be over. After a couple of months though, nothing happened and that stupid blog were still copying my posts consistently. So I sent a few more emails asking for an update but they didn’t reply.
(4) Send a proper copyright notice (DMCA – Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Thanks to a DMCA template from Problogger.net, I wrote one to them. So if you are in my position, send a proper letter like this:
Date: 7th December 2010
Ladies and gentlemen,
This letter is a Copyright infringement Notice as authorized in the US Copyright Law – paragraph 521(c) under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The infringing materials have been appearing on a webserver which IP has been assigned to you, thus you are the responsible of the materials which appear on this server.
1. The copyrighted materials, which belong to me and appear illegally on your server, are the followings:
2. The materials which violate my copyright are situated under the following URLs:
3. My contact information is:
Michael R Aulia
[EMAIL ADDRESS] is a working e-mail address and is the preferred contact method
4. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
5. 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.
Michael R Aulia
(5) Block the IP address of the thief
Even after sending a formal letter like that, they still didn’t comply. They actually replied with:
Thank you for supplying us with this information.
After having checked the details supplied in your communication, we have come to the conclusion that internally we do not have the capacity to deal with this issue. We ask that you please contact your local authority to follow up this matter.
But they are the hosting provider! They have ALL the capacity to warn or terminate the account! So yeah, whatever you do, do not ever sign up for anything at that dodgy server4you.net hosting.
Since they are not located in the United States, I guess they have no obligations to comply. The only left thing to do if you are at this stage is to block the IP address of the bot (I found it on the comment’s administration panel):
Not the most elegant solution, but this is the only way to stop it. I can do this through CloudFlare.com, a third party service that caches your site which happens to have an IP blocking feature as well. I’ll write a post about CloudFlare some time in the future but I would be interested to know if there is a manual way (though htaccess perhaps) to block this spammer.
Have you experienced a similar case? Share us your stories!