I learned this morning that a number of my blogging friends have discovered that a site is publishing entire posts from their sites. Three years ago, I ran into this same problem on my original blog, PixSylated. So, for the benefit of those who’ve just discovered that they’ve been ripped off, I’m republishing my story about fighting a web pirate in 2009. It was a quick fight. Within 24 hours the site was taken down entirely.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides very clear steps on what you should do. SOPA and PIPA are entirely different creatures. The DMCA has been alive and kicking for over 12 years.
To file a DMCA Take-Down Notice, you have to contact the ISP that hosts the offending content. Every ISP has their DMCA procedure buried somewhere on their site. Look for “Legal” in the page footer of the ISP’s homepage. If you follow the steps precisely (as defined by the ISP), a US-based ISP has no choice but to take down the material. If several offenses are reported, it is possible that the entire site will be taken offline.
Finding the ISP that hosts the offending site is the key. I detail the steps and provide search links below. For me, it started with a WhoIs search to determine the IP address for the offending site and then a search for the host of that IP address.
If you have additional resources or insights about fighting web pirates, please add them as a comment. The more that we all know about this, the better the web will be.
— Originally published on PixSylated.com (used here with permission) —
PhotographerMentors.com Steals Blog Content From Leading Bloggers
By Syl Arena on January 28, 2009 – 9:52 am
I truly believe that our world is a better place because of the open exchange of ideas and information that happens through blogs. For me, that’s why the theft of blog content is such an insult.
Blogging is hard work. Remember that “blog” rhymes with “flog” and “slog”. To build a blog entirely on the content of others is #1 illegal and #2 lame.
This week a number of bloggers who cover photography around the world discovered that their content had been posted in its entirely and without comment or analysis on PhotographerMentors.com. In addition to a post from PixSylated, I found posts pirated from David Hobby (Strobist), Joe McNally (blog), Scott Kelby (Photoshop Insider), Rob Haggart (A Photo Editor), Chase Jarvis (blog) and many other great bloggers.
The Right Ways To Use Others’ Web Content
The blogosphere is woven together with links and references from one post to another. I love it when other bloggers provide links to my blog. Links are an important component is search engine optimization (“SEO”).
There are sites like StumbleUpon, Technorati, Delicious where readers can post links to or bookmark favorite posts. Here’s a snapshot of a post back to PixSylated on StumbleUpon. I’m always grateful for Stumblers and others.
There are sites like
Photo News Today Planet5D that aggregate short snippets of content from blogs that cover imagemaking. PNT Planet5D always provides direct links back to the original sources. [note: as of January 26, 2012, PNT is no longer online. As shown below, Planet5D has a similar news aggregator — that blurbed one of my stories this morning. I’m always grateful for this type of coverage.]
The common factor among all of these sites is that #1 they did not extract my posts in their entirety and #2 they provided open and numerous links back to the original posts.
How I Discovered That PixSylated Had Been Ripped Off
I discovered that PixSylated had been ripped off three ways:
- Kerry Garrison at CameraDojo kindly sent emails to a number of bloggers after he discovered that his blog had been ripped off by PhotographerMentors.com.
- it popped up in my daily report from Google Alerts.
- the offending post showed up as a pingback to PixSylated.
How I Fought PhotographerMentors.com
Thanks to the encouragement of Kerry at CameraDojo, I pursued this theft with a vengeance. The more people who push back against stolen web content, the faster the issue will be resolved. The more people who know about it, the less likely it is to happen again (at least by the same guy).
1. I tried to contact the blogger directly through a link or information from his site. No surprise that there was nothing on the site that would help me here.
2. I did a WhoIs search at GoDaddy (search link here) to find out who owns the URL.
3. I sent a takedown demand to the contacts listed in the WhoIs search. The guy who owns the site wrote back “My apologies. The material was removed. I thought only an excerpt was posted but was wrong.”
4. I determined the IP address for PhotographerMentors.com by using the IP search tool at Network-Tools.com.
5. I determined the ISP from the IP address by using the same search tool at Network-Tools.com.
6. I pulled up the legal page at website of the ISP for the offending site — turns out it was
ThePlanet.com. [note: as of January 26, 2012, this URL now forwards to SoftLayer.com– their legal page here).
7. I followed the detailed instructions for filing a DMCA complaint (“Digital Millennium Copyright Act”). Be exact. If you miss one step, the ISP can ignore you. Give them all the info in the form they require and they have to respond promptly.
8. I emailed the details of my complaint to many other impacted bloggers along with a link to the material stolen from their sites and a request that they also file a DMCA complaint with the ISP. Several did so immediately.
9. I blogged about my experience to let even more people know.
11. I emailed every blogger I know and asked them to spread the word. Photo Attorney was one of the first to join the cause.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Resources
If you find that your site has been ripped off, check out the following:
Follow Syl On Twitter
- Free download: "The Photographer’s Guide to Publishing Photo Books" from @photoshelter and @BlurbBooks: https://t.co/getbvatsIU, Aug 9
- Charming video about the first cell phone photo in 1997 > https://t.co/sfEkbwLKhy, Jun 29
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