Your content marketing program is taking off. You’ve spent the time, resources and effort required to develop original, compelling stories, videos, podcasts and photographs and it’s starting to pay off in terms of website traffic, enhanced reputation and sales enquiries. Good for you.
Then you notice that someone, a competitor even, is ripping you off! Someone has taken your original content and is using it online as if it were their own. How frustrating!
Just last week an organization wholly-unconnected to a recent client project presented Thornley Fallis produced videos as their own work. It happens all the time. But what can do?
First of all, you can’t do anything if you’re not even aware it’s going on. Be vigilant. In our case we knew within 24 hours that our videos were being used. Google Alerts are a great free tool that can help. Set one up with with some text, surrounded by quotation marks, from your post. You’ll get a notification direct to your inbox if some scrapes or copies your content.
Once you’ve identified a plagiarist, you need to contact them right away. The contact information is usually available on the website. If it’s not, use the WHOis a database to identify the site owner find contact information. Then send a note asking them either to remove the content or to attribute it appropriately with a link to the original post. Be polite, but be firm and clear about what needs to happen.
In our recent case, attribution was quickly given to Thornley Fallis as the video content source and producer. On past occasions in similar circumstances, offenders have just removed post without protest.
If however, the situation is not rectified, consider filing a complaint with Google which could result in the offending website being de-indexed. And, you might even contact advertisers on the site; they may want to stop supporting plagiarized content. Using plagiarized content is against the terms and conditions of most major ad networks.
If none of these tactic work, a cease and desist letter from your lawyer to the company that is hosting the site usually works. Owners of datacentres rarely choose to go to court over content posted by their customers.
Make sure you post a copyright notice on your website and notification that you will not tolerate plagiarists. It’s a simple way to deter scrapers.
This article was originally posted on Thornley Fallis.