As we’ve seen, catching a plagiarist is not overly difficult. The tough part can come from knowing what to do next. Once you’ve found your blog post or article copied on someone else’s site, how should you handle it?
Email or Leave a Comment for the Content Thief First
Sometimes a blog or website owner is ignorant of copyright laws. There seems to be a misguided belief out there that goes something like “If it’s online, it’s free”. Which of course is not at all true but some people don’t quite understand that. So I tend to start with a firm but polite email that goes something like this:
“Hello! I noticed you enjoyed my article on lavender essential oils however this article is copyright protected and cannot be republished elsewhere. I am available to write an original article for you for $75 per post if you are interested. Either way, this article needs to be removed within 48 hours. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Blessings, Angela <><“
Things to Include When Contacting Content Thieves
I always include a link to my original post to prove copyright ownership. If it’s a post that I’m willing to allow to be reprinted I’ll add a sentence after the second sentence that says, “The reprint fee for this article is $150 if you’d like to keep this article on your site. I’m also available to write an original article for you…..”
Be sure that your request for them to remove the article is NOT a negotiable statement or question. “Would you mind taking it down?” is not a request, it’s a question. Which the content thief could answer with a “yes I mind taking it down” and they’ve answered your question. So be sure you’ve actually said, “I need you to take my article down” or else you’ve never actually requested your article to be removed.
What Happens if They Don’t Take Your Article Down?
If the person who stole your article or website post doesn’t take your post down within the alloted time frame you need to move on to a DMCA complaint. This is a serious thing and should result in the plagiarist being de-indexed from Google as though that post doesn’t even exist – protecting your hard work and blogging efforts. You can file a DMCA with Google here.
I also will contact the advertising networks, hosting companies and domain registrars if there is no response. And I track down an email address (WHOIS is a good resource) and send invoices via Paypal. Usually what happens is I get ignored and then they get the invoice from me and take down the article.
Do Content Thieves Ever Actually Pay?
Yes. Usually 3 out of 10 people will apologize and take the post down, pleading ignorance of the laws. An additional 2 out of 10 will take down the post after first contact but never say anything to me. 3 out of 10 will wait until I send an invoice and THEN take it down without comment. 1 out of 10 requires a formal DMCA before taking action and about 1 out of 10 will either pay the reprint fee or hire me to write a replacement article for them.