Nearly every blog owner has had an experience with a scraper. As you may already know, scrapers are people (or bots) that “scrape” the content from your blog for publication on their own sites. This is clearly illegal and a violation of copyright. Yes, even if you only approach your blog as a hobby, you own the copyright to everything that you write and publish. This includes the text, any pictures you use, and any videos you upload. So, what can you do about it? Will you sit idly by as other people profit from your work?
In the past, I’d try to contact the violating blog owner, informing them of my wishes. For some sites, this worked. For many others, my requests would either be ignored or there would be no contact information available on the site at all. In this way, it is much more effective to contact the blog’s hosting company and request that the material with your copyright be removed. This falls under what is known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the same act that removes copyright material from YouTube and other similar sites. If Paramount can do it, so can you.
First, you’ll need to find out where the site is hosted. If you received a trackback/pingback, it will usually contain hosting or IP information. Otherwise, you can try a free service like Who-Hosts.com. Second, you’ll need to send a DMCA notification letter to the hosting company. Upon receipt of this letter, the hosting company will usually remove the allegedly illegal content. If the other site owner feels that the content has been unjustly removed, they can submit a request to have it reinstated. At that point, you’d need to elevate your level of legal action. I can’t help you at that point.
I can help you with a sample DMCA notification letter though. Here’s one that I sent via email the other day and it worked like a charm.
This letter is in notification of a DMCA violation by one of the websites hosted on your servers.
I believe, in good faith, that material posted at (violating domain name here) is in direct violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, illegally posting content that it does not own or have the right to publish. Under the penalty of perjury, I state that I, (your full name), am the copyright owner of this content.
I wish that this content be removed immediately. I do not hold (name of hosting company) legally responsible for the infringing content, but do request that the content be removed from its servers.
Original content to which I own the copyright:
(list of URLs to content on your site that was scraped/copied)
Locations of the illegally located content:
(list of URLs from the scraper’s site where your content is posted)
If there is anything else that you need, do let me know.
This sample letter (and the information in this post) is for reference only. I am not a lawyer, so if you have any specific questions, I recommend that you contact an attorney for further assistance.