Last month I wrote a couple of posts titled When Has Content Theft Gone to Far? and Tips to Deal With Content Theft where I chronicled a website that was stealing a couple of our posts. A couple of days ago I actually noticed a website that has attempted to completely replicate our site, going as far as to buy the same theme and attempt to hack it similarly, was using each of our WordPress pages (even left references to Hack WordPress on accident in the pages), and has been going through and manually republishing our posts individually and adjusting links to their internal copied posts.

Obviously this not only goes well beyond the syndicated blogs that steal content or at least post excerpts, but it even goes well beyond stealing a couple of our posts. In this situation, this blogger is attempting to replicate the entire identity of this website.

I have to admit, when I first saw this, I was a little heartbroken. I can’t even describe the amount of work put into not only writing the posts you see, but researching and testing plugins, updating old posts so they stay current, etc. Is it even worth it when stuff like this can happen?

Fortunately, this blogger had a contact form, so after I cooled down, I contacted him and requested that all of our copyrighted content be removed. Here was his response:

I am the author of xxxxxxx.com. I think i don’t need a license to use your copyrighted work because the copied work is a factual work rather than a creative one.

However, I am planning to give credit to all authors whose works i copy, so i can give you a credit.

Please contact to me about credit you want!

Obviously this was not going anywhere, so I responded and asked again, but I also began researching because there has to be more we can do to protect ourselves from content theft.   That is when I ran across some posts explaining How to File a DMCA Complaint.

Unfortunately this requires a little work on our part because you have to draft a letter and send it to the blogs advertisers, web hosts, etc. to get their accounts banned.   Based on a few posts I’ve seen on it, it seems to be a fairly successful method, so I will be filing a few of these complaints here shortly.   I will also be notifying Google if the site becomes indexed to make sure they are banned from Google, and I hope to write a follow up post once I hopefully get some results.

Have any of you filed one of these complaints before?   Did it work?

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Connect with Kyle on Twitter or Google+!

  1. Assad says:

    Kyle, I read your post and feel regret on your behalf. Not that I share the same fate as yours but I know how it feels. I found one post 100% copy & paste at another blog but since I don’t know how to deal with it, I just let it go.

    In your case, this is absolutely insane. I hope the owner deserves the worst. Good luck!

  2. Josh says:

    Unbelievable… I certainly hope filing the complaint works for you… let us know!

    I just don’t understand what these semi-literate losers are thinking when they do stuff like this…

    It’s like the Chinese mentality of spending equal or greater amounts of time and effort in replicating someone else’s work when it could just as easily have gone into an original project.

  3. Though I can definitely understand your frustration with sending a DMCA notice, the process is only difficult the first time. Once you get a good stock letter and a DMCA agent contact list, which I have one on my site if that would help, the process only takes a few minutes.

    Generally though, it isn’t worth going after the advertisers with a DMCA notice since they technically aren’t covered under the DMCA. I typically just target the hosts unless I have reason to believe that the ad network might be cooperative. If that’s the case, I follow their procedure, which sometimes does involve a DMCA notice (for reasons not clear to me or anyone else).

    If the host fails to help, I would then target the search engines so you can at least get them out of the major indexes.

    Finally, if there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know. I am happy to assist if I can!

  4. dave says:

    you are copying articles from other websites and you are complaining about others what a funny guy you are

  5. Assad says:

    I’m setting my nerve on this. Maybe this blog is the one you are referring to? http://blogtut.com/

  6. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Josh – That is what I was thinking. I mean, this isn’t some program. This guy is manually copying posts from me, Daily Blog Tips, and a couple other blogs. Though his focus seems to be on duplicating this site based upon the theme setup, the page structure (though he deleted some yesterday it seems), etc.

    @ Jonathan – Thanks for this info. I figured some others had been through this before and maybe already filed one.

    @ Dave – Thank you for the anonymous comments. What posts have I made that are copies.

    @ Assad – Yes, that is the site, though I see he’s adjusted the pages to look more original (though the setup is still a mimic of how mine are setup). I contemplated listing the domain, but I didn’t want to send him any traffic.

  7. Richard H says:

    Kyle, I think posting the site is a good move. The negative publicity will do more than the few site visitors he may get. I see he has a whopping 10 subscribers already though, so you may be up for some stiff competition.

    Best of luck in your challenge. Anything I can do to help, just say the word.

  8. Leland says:

    Wow, this is terrible. I’ve had people steal articles from me (with no attribution) and partially rip designs – but never had anything quite like this happen to me. Best of luck, Kyle.

    Another good article at Blog Herald.

    In these articles I read they mention DMCA “templates” – but never actually tell you where to find them. Does anyone know a good source of these?

  9. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Richard – Thanks for your continued support. WordPress bloggers got to stick together. ;)

    @ Leland – I’m not sure on the templates, but that article I linked to provides a DMCA letter example.

    @ Josh – I think people can take and republish things like code, but he is reproducing my post word for word with the exception of changing our internal links to his copied post internal links. My posts are filled with my “voice”, my writing style, and my opinions, so they are definitely covered under the copyright laws.

    It will be interesting to see if his web host cancels him. I just checked and he doesn’t appear to be indexed in Google yet. If he ever is I will petition Google to have him removed and hopefully that will work.

  10. Josh says:

    Yes I would say he has made a few modifications now, I don’t know what effect that would have on a DMCA… but I guess ripping off work is enough…

    Curious though, have you had a look at any copyright laws in detail?I’m presuming his claim is absurd…

  11. Assad says:

    @Richard – It is very easy to create 10 subscribers. Perhaps all of them are himself? Who knows? I believe more and more subscribers going to be his ‘loyal visitors’ pretty soon.

    @Kyle – From my observation, the owner doesn’t bother on the content but more on earning from AdSense. In fact, I found another blog (perhaps from the same person?) that published exactly this post. You may find it at wp-wordpress.com…

    Desperate guy, eh?

  12. Zhu says:

    I can only offer moral support ut I say: go ahead!

    I felt really mad when I read the guy’s answer. No respect whatsoever… I mean, people can make copyright mistake, I’m sure I did (although I was never told that I had) and I’m sure we all did. But there’s a gap between taking a bullet design out of list and putting it on a website and copying a whole site.

    God I hate these people. Sorry for the rant!

  13. Hayes Potter says:

    I have actually had the exact same problem when I first started blogging, but then I didn’t know what to do except ask the person to stop. They did after I caught them using an image I made that was fully copyrighted.

  14. Phani Kumar says:

    I hope the complaint works for you. You can also send a spam report to Google (http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html) You need to select the duplicate site/pages check box.

    The below link might be useful for you.
    http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/07/dealing-with-website-plagiarism-when.html

  15. Leland says:

    @Kyle: I see that now, thanks.

    Just wanted to mention – does anyone else think it’s ironic they have a CopyScape banner up on the site?

  16. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Assad – Yes, WP-WordPress.com is one of those scraper theft sites that steals the feed, which is a little different situation. They link to us, send a trackback, etc. (though I don’t like it and asked them to stop as well)

    @ Zhu – I can see how someone might make a mistake, and I admit I held out hope that because this person actually had a contact form, they would be reasonable and remove our content. Unfortunately, after being presented the facts, he suggested I submit my DMCA complaint, which doesn’t make sense because he could lose his hosting and it could create all sorts of other problems for him.

    @ Hayes – Sounds like you ran into someone that was doing so intentionally. It is great you were able to get it resolved!

    @ Leland – I actually noticed that and found it ironic as well. :mrgreen:

  17. Tony says:

    Kyle,
    You have fill a DMCA complaint, however i haven’t been banned from google, webhost, etc, because i don’t need a license when my use is fair use.
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=213296

  18. Ruchir Chawdhry says:

    Filing a DMCA complaint only works if the site in question in hosted in the US… And some (or most) spam sites are not.

  19. Michael says:

    I haven’t filed a DMCA take down notice before but I probably will next time I notice someone stealing my content. I sure hope it works because those guys need to be stopped.

  20. Darren says:

    That sucks Kyle. You’ve put a ton of work into the site, only to see it cloned with no explanation.

    Ironically, I was just told by DreamHost this week to file a DMCA complaint after reporting multiple sites that hosted zip copies of Mimbo Pro. The sites were shut down but I still haven’t filed the complaint. The other sites were all in China and I think a DMCA complaint wouldn’t apply.

    The web sure makes it easy for the lazy/uncreative thieves of the world to get away with stuff like this.

  21. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Tony – I will reiterate. Please remove this sites content from your site. You aren’t just stealing from me personally, but our other authors and everyone that has contributed to the growth of this site as a WordPress resource.

    @ Ruchir – It doesn’t only work if hosted in the US, but you are more likely to find success if the hosting company is within the US borders. Most web hosts are good people and want to do the right thing, so there is no harm in trying.

    @ Michael – I hope you never have to! If lazy people would instead honor copyrights, etc. it wouldn’t be needed.

    @ Darren – I’m glad they were removed without you even needing to do this. Ironically, I just noticed this same scumbag is now illegally giving away the Revolution theme. I also noticed he is stealing from Daily Blog Tips (though I’m honored to be in the same company I guess).

    The laziness of these people is incredible. It never seems to end…

  22. Kyle Eslick says:

    Update: It looks like the thread at DigitalPoint has since been removed and hopefully the user has been banned from there as well.

    Hopefully the noose is tightening on this guy. He isn’t in Google’s index either.

  23. Katy Castro says:

    Did anyone notice that the banner the guy is using in his sidebar to promote and link to his site is LinkWorth’s banner? It’s the purple and blue one. I thought it looked familiar so I hit up a couple of big sites real quick and sure enough same banner is displayed for LinkWorth’s Combo Account at ProBlogger.

    Just goes to show you how far his theft extends…

  24. That sucks that someone is scraping your stuff like that. A few months ago, I discovered that someone was seriously scraping my stuff on WordPress Garage, and I wrote a post with a collection of things you can do to detect scraping, stop it, and protect yourself in the future. Check it out here.

  25. Kyle Eslick says:

    @ Katy – Great detective work!

    @ Miriam – Yes, that is a great post! Just to clarify though, this is not scraping. Scraping is where they use your RSS feed to steal your posts, leaving the post unchanged (including your internal links, etc.).

    This loser is manually copying/pasting our posts into his text editor, then changing them to link internally on his website and representing them as his own while leaving everything identical except the links. He had over 100 posts 4 days after registering the domain name, 75% of which were from this site. :(

  26. He’s manually redoing the posts?! I missed that. That is seriously disgusting.

    The web can be such a dark, cruel place. This is almost the least of the bad stuff going on out there. Oh well.

  27. Vaskor says:

    I just followed the same process with filing DMCA complain to Google and it worked fine. Posts which were stolen from my blog were promptly removed. So, yeah, the process works. The only thing that is nagging me is that I don’t see a way to prevent those splogs from stealing from others. Yes, my posts were deleted, but all other posts stolen from other people are still there.

  28. Melanie says:

    I have contacted dream host today showing them very clearly that a chinese site they host has taken a whole blog post of mine- original pics and words. All my emails to this site bounced back.

    http://www.365we.com/index.php/group_thread/view/id-32373

    They refuse to do a thing without a DMCA document. It is plain common sense that this is my info- the person has even linked to my original site.

    They aren’t dream hosts at all- they are nightmare hosts who are exposing the whole of blogland to theft.

  29. SRH says:

    I don’t have a problem with anyone linking to my blog, but cut n pasting content without consent is wrong. I my earlier days I may have done it, but only from sources that I help promote as an affiliate for a web store.
    We have a website, not a blog that is the continual target of a competitor. Recently he went too far and ripped off our entire site concept and strategy. He now looks like an identical service. He was also bold & crafty enough to grab a bunch of text specific to our product s & service, but made minor alterations to avoid copyright infringement, however that is still defined as plagiarism and constitutes infringement (check with a lawyer). My site is my primary income and this guy is stealing from me.

    I too filed a DMCA complaint against his host and they took the site down quickly. He replied back that he was going to sue me for taking his site down , HA! Good luck! his $5,000 legal services retainer and his alleged damages will be down the toilet. We are now considering spending about $10,000 in legal fees to file an injunction to stop this pirate.

    Use the DMCA with care and be sure you have a good case before you wind up on the wrong side of the gun.

  30. Audrie Weiner Bloom says:

    i have a similar situation. I have a website that I allowed access to an acquintance 4 years ago to post a time sensitive pdf I was receiving on my website. I changed all the passwords after that time as I did not want to give authority to anyone to go on to my site again. I missed a password change and the acquiantance went into my site and exported my members list with emails and then changed my content! I did not find out for days. Had a member upset as they thought I had sold my members list. Would a DMCA? work here . Let me know.

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