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We’ve all heard the saying “content is king” and about the magic that is content marketing. Whether you’re a blogger, videoblogger, podcaster or ebook writer, you will have spent hours researching your topics and writing killer content, and you’ve probably spent your hard earned dollars on copywriters and graphic designers too. But do you realise that what you’re creating is intellectual property? That’s right, content = valuable intellectual property.
So if someone uses your content without your permission, they are infringing your copyright. This means they are stealing your valuable intellectual property. It is important to react quickly if this happens. There are a few different ways you can deal with the sitch where someone steals your content. Taking the content thief to court is not your only option. This is often the last resort as suing peeps is expensive and takes a huge amount of time and energy. Here are a few other things you can do outside of the courtroom to deal with a content thief:
Step 1: Write to the infringer
Write to the content thief to ask them to stop stealing your stuff. You can do this through the site’s contact form, email address, or post it to any social accounts they list. If the site doesn’t have any contact details, you can do a Whois Lookup search to find out who owns the domain. Explain to them your content is protected by good old copyright and because they don’t have your permission to use your content, they are breaking the law. Often this will give the content thief a real fright as they won’t have realised they were doing anything wrong, and they’ll quickly take the content down. Don’t threaten the content thief as this could do more harm than good.
Step 2: Dob them in to Google
Let’s be honest, we all heavily rely on Google to get traffic and business, which means the content thief does too. You can really hit the content thief where it hurts by dobbing their website or blog in to Google who legally have to take down the infringing content. You can report the content thief to Google yourself by filling out this form on Google’s website.
Step 3: Get a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter
If the two DIY steps above don’t pan out, hire a lawyer to write a cease and desist letter to the content thief. You will be able to find a lawyer who will write a cease and desist letter for you for a fixed price, so this step is probably more affordable than you think. I’ve written a number of cease and desist letters for clients in my time, and I think in almost every case the infringer has quickly apologised and stopped infringing. So your chances of success with a cease and desist letter are likely to be quite high.
Unfortunately there will be a few content thieves out there who think they can do no wrong and love a bit of drama, and a cease and desist letter might not achieve the results you’re after. If you strike one of these infringers, to protect your valuable IP you might have no other choice but to go the whole hog and file a claim against them in court. Just remember, most claims filed in court are not decided by a judge because they end up being settled before they get that far.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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