A leading web host says that 10% of businesses who responded to a recent survey had been the target of content theft over the past 12 months. What should you do if your website content has been stolen by a third party?
According to Fasthosts, nearly 40% of business owners admitted to feeling envious of a competitor’s website. This finding, alongside the ease of which copy can be copied and pasted on the web has given rise to a near 90% increase in the number of content disputes reported by the web hosting company’s Abuse team. In many cases, businesses accused of content theft were unaware of the legal implications of lifting material from third party websites.
Given the growth in website plagiarism problems for small business owners, we look at what you should do to protect yourself:
What if someone copies your website content?
At Bytestart, due to the high number of articles we have on the site, we’ve experienced hundreds of cases of website copying. We use a handy online tool called Copyscape, which can help you identify other websites which appear to be using the same content as you. You can either use the ‘free’ search, or sign up and run regular scans of your entire website for a few cents per URL.
On occasion, we have identified other sites which have lifted entire articles from Bytestart – we have found that a firm email asking the site contacts to remove such material usually does the trick. Explain that the content is owned by you, and ask them to remove any content you identify as being plagiarised within 48 hours.
If you find that your material has still not been removed after you have made reasonable efforts to contact the owners, you may need to contact the third party’s registrar or web host. You can do this by performing a ‘whois’ enquiry at easily or another domain name firm. For UK domain problems, you can also do a look-up at Nominet.
Simply look up the domain name information, and you should find out which company is the ‘registrar’ for the offending domain name.
On the one occasion we have found it necessary to contact the registrar, the offending website was closed down immediately and permanently by the web host due to copyright infringement.