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What To Do If Your Website Is Stolen

Jul 25, 2008
It would basically be a webmasters worst nightmare finding out that your site has been copied by another organization, and then to make things worse, finding out it ranks more highly than your original. While stopping others from copying your website is still quite difficult, if you discover that someone has, then there are numerous ways to deal with this situation and in some cases even have these copycat websites shut down.

The reality is that anyone can copy certain facts, but you need to understand that work that is subject to copyright can not be plagiarized. Basically copyright is a means of preserving the creators right to assert their intellectual ownership of any kind of creative work. A creative work can be defined as an original work written or created by its owner and protected under copyright law. In the simplest terms, the stealing of any written matter is termed as plagiarism. If you are unsure how to determine the difference, a good guideline is that ideas and facts can not be copyrighted, but if you are lazy with the copy and past option then you might be in trouble. By all means reuse facts, but a quick Google search or similar will give you plenty of information on citation and this is worth reviewing when you are using anything that is a copy and paste.

If you are the one that has had your web content stolen, then the best option is to start by finding out who owns the domain on which it is posted, and then find out where the site is hosted. These days there is a fairly centralized list of domain registrations, and by getting the details of the person who has registered the domain name as well as his email address, then you are well on your way to catching the culprit. A good place to start if you are searching for the details of a domain name and user is via sites or services that provide easy and ready access to this information, such as sites like GoDaddy.com or Whois.sc.

Armed with this information, the first step you should take is to write a firm email stating that there is content on their site that has been copied from yours, and that you wish it to be removed immediately. If you dont receive a suitable response, then it is worthwhile writing another email pointing out the legal implications, make sure you keep copies. If you find that this does not work, then the next step is to contact the web hosting company, who should help you with guidelines or procedures to follow to prevent the site from publishing what they have plagiarized.

A further option is to contact the domain registrar. This procedure is more or less the same as the process of contacting the web hosting company. While this is a relatively easy task, it can be tedious to keep following things up. If however, things still are not resolved satisfactorily, then you can contact the legal department of search engines. In particular if you contact search engines where your content may be featured and notify them that there is an online plagiarism dispute.

Finally, your last resort would be to contact the copycat web sites credit card processor. If you can obtain these details, then contacting the legal and fraud department of the credit card processor may mean that you locate a helpful financial services employee that will be able to help. With the help of the search engines and the credit card processor, it is possible to have the copycat site tagged as disputed until such time as they dont prove the content on their site to be legal and legitimate. Any webmaster who really knows what they are doing will understand that this is simply not worth the time and effort, and would surely at this stage be ready to pull anything even remotely likely to be plagiarized.

Taking these steps to ensure the integrity of your site will bring good results. Yes, it may be a little time consuming and tedious but in the end you are in business to succeed, and the blatant use of your content by another competitor should make your blood boil! If you find that it happens, then these few tips will help you to keep your site original and ensure that your content remains your own, serving to market and develop your business as it was intended to, not to help someone else wanting an unfair advantage based on your efforts.
About the Author
Deep Arora is an Internet marketer with over 7 years of online experience and he teaches internet marketing from his blog at HowIDid.com. Check out his blog for some amazing techniques today..
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