Content theft is a significant problem, as any blog owner who’s had their site scraped can attest. While it happens often, there are steps IP owners can take to prevent theft and have offending content removed from websites and SERPs. The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) offers protective services that include plagiarism scanning, image watermarking, and more. Below are several tips on filing a DMCA takedown notice.

What is a DMCA Takedown Notice?

The DMCA is a U.S. copyright law that covers intellectual property. An IP owner can file a DMCA notice with the offender’s web hosting company, and they can tell Google that illegally copied content has been indexed. To fight against online piracy in this way, the IP owner can first try to contact the site owner to ask them to either take the content down or acknowledge the rightful author.

Abuse of DMCA Takedown Notices

Although the DMCA takedown notice is a useful tool in stopping IP theft and online piracy, it pays to be careful when filing a complaint with the search engines. Some less-ethical site owners have abused the process to try to get competitors removed from the search engine results pages.

Checking for Plagiarism and Preventing Content Duplication

Intellectual property owners can use multiple tools to determine whether their content has been copied. Simply enter the site’s URL to search the internet for plagiarized content. Services such as Copyscape offer premium and free ways to do this. Site owners can make it harder for offenders to copy content by:

  • Including copyright notices at the end of each piece of content

  • Only showing post summaries in RSS feeds

  • Watermarking images

  • Adding the site’s name or URL to images

  • Installing a “no right click” plugin

  • Adding Copyscape protection to the site

  • Using a DMCA takedown service

While many people see online content theft and piracy as victimless crimes, the truth is that it can have devastating consequences for the owner of stolen intellectual property. By following the tips listed here—and by using a DMCA takedown service when necessary—intellectual property owners can protect their products and their rights whenever they post content online.