Chasing those who infringe on your copyrighted blog material [updated]

A few of us have had blog posts stolen, in whole or in part. So far, I have had one person’s blog shut down, and have recently filed a complaint against another. Here’s how I did it. [8/25/08 Ed. note: The second blog has been shut down!]

Let me be specific about how to file a complaint, figure out WHERE to send the complaint, and then show by example my two filings and results. (As my brother said, you just don’t know when to let go… 🙂 )

First, your complaint must comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Specifically, the 5 items of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. I have cut-and-pasted the required questions that you must answer below.

Notification of claimed infringement

For WordPress blogs, send a complaint to Automattic based on the information provided there. See next section for other websites.

The less summarized version of the 5 questions appears below (from the US Copyright Office) – it is basically the same stuff you need to forward to the abuse or copyright email of a service provider.

<start quote>

If an infringement has occurred a copyright holder may send a written notification of claimed infringement to the designated agent. This must include the following (512(c)(3)(A)(i-vi)):

(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

<end quote>

Here is my first complaint

A couple months ago, I found an entire post of my stolen by another WordPress blog. The copyright infringer even added some typos – perhaps to make it harder for me to find?

Here is my submission. As a result of this, the blog in question was suspended. This is MUCH EASIER if the blog in question is the same provider as your own (WordPress and WordPress for example).

Hello

Content from my wordpress.com blog has been copied by another wordpress.com log. The author of that blog added misspellings and very few changes, but the content is mine as you can see if you compare the two entries with links below.

On June 2, I requested through a comment on that blog that the offending post be removed, but it has not been. Again today (June 6) I requested removal via another comment (no email address to contact is provided). Since the site has had new posts during this time, the author has seem my comment. My comment today was not published, so it seems the author has actively blocked me from his site now.

My blog link:
https://emilyfirstgirl.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/review-what-is-dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder-from-empty-memories/

The offending link (Diseases Blog):
http://mefisto08.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/review-%E2%80%9Cwhat-is-dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple/

<my real address>
emilylonelygirl@gmail.com

I believe in good faith that the use of the content that I claim to infringe my copyright is not authorized by law, or by the copyright owner or such owner’s agent; and (b) under penalty of perjury, that all of the information contained in my Infringement Notice is accurate, and that I are either the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf.

Electronic signature
<my real name>

The blog was suspended in 1 day.

So how do I know who to contact?

This can take a bit of searching. But you must get the ISP – Internet Service Provider and then get the email address to report the abuse. There are two ways I have used to do this – there are probably easier ways, but I’m no expert.

Method 1) I became aware of both infringement events because the blog in question did a traceback or ping to me that ended up in my spam comments folder. I regularly check spam because a few legitimate comments get in there.

In the comment info, the user’s email and IP address are listed.

Take the IP address and go to a site that will do a traceback. I personally like What Is My IP Address. When you go there, it will automatically tell you your IP address, and a map of your location that is sometimes close. Below that is an option to Lookup IP Address. Paste in the IP address from the comment. This will give you the ISP (service provider) for that person’s computer (note, the IP address can change over time, so it might not be exactly the user’s IP. But even so, I believe it will always point to that person’s ISP).

So now that you have the name of the service provider, put the name in a search engine and find that website. There is generally some area that includes some sort of Acceptable Use Policy, which should contain a legal statement about stealing other people’s work. Somewhere in there is email or contact info for reporting abuse. If you can’t find it, send it to whatever contact point is listed, with a clear subject line about reporting copyright abuse by one of it’s subscribers. Or try Method 2.

Method 2) This second method can sometimes better identify the email address where to report abuse.

Get the name of the website – not just the blog, but the company. For example, my blog is emilyfirstgirl.wordpress.com. Then take just wordpress.com, because that’s where you want to report the abuse.

Next, do a WHOIS search. WHOIS is a public listing of specific information about each company. Network Solutions is the company who manages this for all website. Here is the WHOIS search site. Put “wordpress.com” in the search box and search by Domain Name.

For most websites, you will see a bunch of useful information (THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE FOR SPAM, MARKETING, ETC!!!). It shows you stuff like domain servers, registrants, etc. Scroll down to the part that mentions the Current Registrar, IP address, location, etc. SOMETIMES this block of information will have an email contact to report abuse.

For wordpress.com, it doesn’t. So, take the next step – click on the IP address where it mentions ARIN.This IP is the “main” IP address for the registrant. In THERE should be contact information for abuse.

If you scroll down, you will find the AbuseEmail contact information – for WordPress.com, it is abuse@layeredtech.com. (If you don’t see one for abuse, then send it to all the emails listed.)

That’s where you send your official request with answers to the above questions. Again, use a stark subject line. I used this: “Reporting copyright violation on website where you are WHOIS”.

(Note – sometimes all the registration information is hidden because there IS a service to hid this information from the general public…so then back to Method 1.)

A New Case

A few of us have found our content on this website: http://mentalhealth.thehealthsite.info.

Part of my review of the Willard Suitcase Exhibit is here. This case is not so bad – it ultimately links to my site under a fake username.

This is his post:
http://mentalhealth.thehealthsite.info/2008/08/08/review-the-willard-sui
tcase-exhibit-online/


This is my original post:
https://emilyfirstgirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/review-the-willard-suitca
se-exhibit-online/

I submitted the same type of complaint to his service provider, The Planet: The Global IT Hosting Leader. Use this information against this particular blog above. Apparently many people have complaints against this blog site.

Their legal page is here: http://www.theplanet.com/legal/.

You email your complaint here: copyright@theplanet.com

[Ed Update] Today I received the following email notifying me that the copyright material has been removed:

To Whom It May Concern:

Please note that our
customer has represented
to us that the
content referenced in your
attached complaint has
been removed and/or
disabled.

Legal Response Team
The Planet

[08/25/08 Ed. Note] Not only has the content been removed, but the entire blog has been taken down! Yes!

Emily

References

http://chillingeffects.org/

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10 Comments»

  secretshadows wrote @

I was really interested to see the link to the mental health site that stole one of your posts, and the link is not working.

You have done a lot of research and I commend you for standing up for your rights. Recently I have done some things as well to protect myself and my site.
~Secret Shadows

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Secret Shadows

Gool – it doesn’t work for me either! It is one of two things. Either the server is down or the site was actually taken down! We’ll check back later to see which.

Emily

  secretshadows wrote @

Interesting…….

  behindthecouch wrote @

Oooh scary stuff. I’ll bookmark this one in case something happens to my stuff but I don’t think I’ve been blogging long enough to get on anyone’s radar!

I’ve just put the creative commons code on my blog. That’s meant to cover you a bit too.
(creativecommons.org)

BTC

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

BTC

Thanks for the reference – I checked it out. I am kinda confused about the whole thing – it seems the same as a regular copyright but just gives away more rights. Or perhaps it makes it more obvious how the work can be used. I was surprised to see how many countries are supporting this, but I wonder how enforceable it is. We will have to see. I added to my blog as well.

Thanks
Em

  Tigerweave wrote @

All the links you posted that were stolen from your site are not active or blocked.
Looks like it worked.
Excellent!

Good on you, Em.

I can’t understand why people simply don’t acknowledge where they got it from. But hey, I find creating my own order of words, and expressing my own thoughts so effortless, I can’t imagine bothering to rip someone else’s words off instead of my own.

Anna.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Anna and all –

I am truly surprised and excited that the law worked in my favor, not once but twice!. Not a fluke!

About stealing – I think many blogs are just automatic regurgitations of other people’s work. There seem to be automated engines that grab anything that looks interesting and putting it on a page. If you look, most of those pages have no “personality” – they are like a laundry list.

My best
Em

  asrais wrote @

At least 3 of my posts have been stolen such as the mental health info site.

I don’t really care that much. It’s obvious from the site that they aren’t putting up original content.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

That’s good it doesn’t bother you.

It always bothers me. A trigger perhaps…someone taking something personal from me without my permission. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what caused THAT particular trigger.

[…] Disclaimer: Read now and again before flaming Looking for Attention, Baby Talk and Fakers in DID Chasing those who infringe on your copyrighted blog material [updated] Forums, Blogs, and Internet Libel Meet Emily: the harassing, attention-seeking manipulative stalker […]


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