I work hard on my blog and recipes. So it makes me furious when my work is stolen and used by people who get thousands and thousands of likes on their social media pages and/or traffic to their websites.
But as angry as it makes me, I rarely take action. I don’t spend time policing for stolen content and if a friend lets me know of a stolen image they’ve seen or if happen to come across one, I don’t spend more than 2 minutes filling out forms to report copyright infringement. If it takes longer than that, I don’t bother.
WHY, you ask? Well, my theory is this. As annoying as it is to watch other people “making money” or increasing their following using stolen content, sites and social media accounts that adopt that approach are unlikely to have a long future. Let’s be frank – the kind of social media pages and websites that only share stolen content aren’t exactly the reputable kind, are they? They look dodgy. It’s certainly not a stable business model, building a following or traffic using stolen content. Someone is going to report them, the administrators of the social media platform will discover them eventually and their page will be shutdown.
So rather than spending hours “policing” for accounts that steal content and filling in endless takedown notices, I choose to focus my energy on creating content and growing my blog. That’s not to say I never report them. I do if it’s fast and I know how to do it. But I don’t if it takes more than 2 minutes. 2 minutes is my time limit.
Yes, it’s frustrating and hard to swallow the anger. But you just need a teeny bit of will power to direct that energy towards creating even more amazing content.
But if you do want to report stolen content, here’s a list of how to report them / issue takedown notices.
HOW TO ISSUE TAKEDOWN NOTICES AND REPORT STOLEN CONTENT
WHAT IS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?
Copyright infringement – stolen content – is when someone (or an organisation) uses your content in a manner that is against your stated policy on your website or without your consent.
If you create a recipe and take your own photos, you own it free and clear – it is your property. Most bloggers are fairly relaxed about allowing others to use one photo from their recipe as long as there is a link back to that recipe on their blog (or a link to my profile if it is shared on social media). Some blogs have more specific requirements, such as not only linking back to the recipe but also to the blog home page.
Your policy is totally up to you. If this is a topic close to your heart, I suggest creating a page which sets out your policy very clearly.
At this stage, I am fairly relaxed on this topic so I don’t have a page setting out my policy. Large reputable organisations and publications – like Today, Country Living – always ask for permission to use a photo. Many bloggers do so as well, when they do round ups. But even when I am not asked, I am fine about anyone using 1 photo as long as they link back to the recipe.
You own your content. So you can set the “rules”.
Facebook – fill in this form: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/1409697672616547
Instagram – fill out this form to report stolen content. Tip: It’s much easier to do this on a computer than on your phone because you need to provide the URL where the stolen content appears as well as a link back to your original recipe. Difficult to do on an iPhone!
Pinterest – fill in this form: https://www.pinterest.com/about/copyright/dmca-pin/
Twitter – fill in this form: https://support.twitter.com/forms/dmca
G+ – fill in this form https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?hl=en
WordPress – fill in this form: http://automattic.com/dmca-notice/
Blogger – fill in this form: https://support.google.com/legal/contact/lr_dmca?product=blogger
Tumblr – fill in this form: https://www.tumblr.com/dmca
Websites not hosted by one of the above 3 are more difficult. You need to issue the notice to the hosting company and that takes time and effort.
I recommend contacting the site owner first, using the contact form. My standard message goes like this:
“I notice that you have used my photo/recipe on this page on your site: [insert URL]. This content is copyright protected and I do not permit [my images to be used without a link back to the original source URL as well as to my home page]. Kindly either make this amendment or remove this image from your website.”
If you want to take it further, you will need to find out the hosting company of the website, create a DMA takedown notice then send the hosting company the takedown notice.
1. Hosting company – use Who Is to find out the hosting company of the website.
2. Create a DMCA takedown notice using DMCA Generator.
3. Send the takedown notice to the hosting company.
HIRE an EXPERT
If you really want to go all out, you can hire an expert to do takedown notices for you – DMCA. They have a money back guarantee, and you can pay for them to do the takedowns or you can do it yourself.
AS INFURIATING AS IT IS, SEEKING JUSTIC FOR STOLEN CONTENT DOESN’T GROW YOUR BLOG.
So before you bury yourself in hunting down and seeking justice for stolen content, as yourself whether that time and energy is better spent creating more awesome content or promoting your blog to reach new audience.