What can you do when someone blatantly plagiarizes an entire blog post?


It's nice when folks quote parts of your post with a link back. It's another thing when the entire RSS entry is duplicated verbatim, including my "Retweet" buttons and the "Please leave a comment" that still links back to my blog.

Duh! They didn't even try.

Is there any recourse for what is clearly a copyright violation? A recourse that doesn't cost more to implement than it's worth in damages?

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asked Mar 19 '10 at 02:00
16,231 points
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  • Jason - secretly you should be pleased that your work is so good it can be re-posted without even the slightest edit ;-) – Steve Wilkinson 14 years ago
  • Yeah.... except if there were typos you *know* those would be there too, but cute. :-) – Jason 14 years ago
  • and they don't need to try to pull your feed... its RSS so its automated... change your feed not to show the whole bit of content.. then they'll have to try. – Long Winter 13 years ago

7 Answers


Yes, there is an easy recourse. You send the infringer AND the hosting service a DMCA copyright infringment notice. Give the infringer a few days to remove the material. If he doesn't the web site host will remove the offending material for him (and probably remove his hosting account).

There is a standard format for DMCA notices and if you do not follow the format, some hosts will not remove the material. See: DMCA Notice This does work. See the Google explanation: Digital Millennium Copyright Act It's also free.

People copy websites all the time. The DMCA notice is the fastest way to get things removed. It usually ends up with the web hosting firm, and not the person stealing the information.

answered Mar 19 '10 at 02:18
Gary E
12,510 points
  • I din't know of this. this is great information! Thanks Gary – Mike 14 years ago
  • Nice, thanks. Follow-up: How do you learn who the hosting company is? – Jason 14 years ago
  • Usually running a WHOIS (ie from Domaintools) can get you the nameservers, hosted IP or technical contact. Depending on how advanced their usage is one of these three tools makes it easy to find the web host. – Alex Blom 14 years ago
  • Alex is right on target. There are easy web tools to trace down the hosting company. The DCMA notice works surprisingly well in most countries, even though it's a US law. (Don't bother in China, Russia, or some of the Eastern European countries.) – Gary E 14 years ago
  • +1 this was great info. I've had this happen to me more than a few times. – Nick 13 years ago


A bit more information for you:

Sample letter to the infringer Website Copyright Cease and Desist Order


You are in violation, as you are using a number of works that I own the copyright to. These appear on a site operated by you at <>. I have reserved all rights to this work, which was first published on <> on <>.

Your unauthorized use of the work in the link above is unlawful, pursuant to the federal copyright act. Permission was neither asked for nor granted to reproduce my Work, which constitutes infringement of my rights. In terms of the Copyright Statutes, I believe you have willfully infringed my rights under 17 USC §101, et seq. and you could be held liable for substantial statutory damages as high as $150,000, as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein. Attorney’s fees and costs can also be recovered. Moreover, copyright infringement is a direct violation of International Copyright Law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Your continued infringement entitles me to an injunction, and puts you at risk for associated damages.

I demand that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works derived from my work, and all copies of it, and that you remove any further works you may have stolen and that you desist from this or any other infringement of my rights in the future.

Accordingly, if you do not comply within 72 hours, I’ll have no other choice but to initiate contact with your site’s ISP or Web Hosting Provider along with each major search engine. Full litigation will follow.

Yours very truly,
[Sign and make sure you have the correct owner of the copyrighted material]

Sample letter to Search Engines Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement

To Whom It May Concern:

The following web content infringes my copyright pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as set forth in Section 512(c) of the United States Copyright Law.Thank you in advance for enforcing my rights, as the infringing material appears on a site for which you are listed as the service provider.

The Infringing Material

The copyrighted material referneced above is in the form of text that appears on [www.xxxxxxx.com] and it's various pages.

Details of Infringed Material

The following paragraphs, placed in quotes, were used as the search queries in <>. When a match was made to a site other than ours, we evaluated the extent of the copyright infringement. In all cases presented, entire paragraphs and/or pages have been copied. The attached spreadsheet provides examples of the copied text. We have retained but not submitted printed examples of each infringement.

Query# 1
Query # 2

The URLs of the infringing search results are as follows (With query numbers in parentheses):

BadCompany Inc
http://www.xxxxx.com/ (Query # 1 and Query # 2)
http://www.xxxxxy.com/[quoted query]
http://www.xxxxz.com/[other quoted query]

My Contact Information:

Phone Number
Email Address

Copyright Infringers Information

Copyright Owners Statement:

I, in faith, do believe that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear, under the penalty of perjury laws of the United States of America, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Yours very truly,

A Few Search Engine Contact Details: Google, Inc.
Attn: Google Legal Support, DMCA Complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Fax: (650) 618-2680, Attn: DMCA Complaints
Google DMCA:
http://www.google.com/dmca.html Yahoo! Inc:
Daniel Dougherty
c/o Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Email: [email protected]
FX: (408) 349-7821
Sent via: Mail
Yahoo Copyright Page:
http://info.yahoo.com/copyright/us/details.html Windows Live Search (Formerly MSN)
c/o J.K. Weston
One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052
PH: (425) 703-5529
Email: [email protected]
FX: (425) 936-7329
Send via: Email

answered Apr 13 '10 at 04:11
Sharon Drew
957 points


I'm actually dealing with this right now. Before resorting to a DCMA I've contacted the blog owner direct and politely asked him to credit me with the content & link back or remove it (and I've explained why I need this).

If he does not respond within 2-3 days I'll contact the host with the same (polite) request and ask them to forward it to the customer, with evidence & notice that I've tried contacting the content writer and a DCMA will be pending otherwise.

Hope this helps,

answered Mar 19 '10 at 04:18
Alex Blom
231 points
  • The measured approach might be better, thanks. – Jason 14 years ago


If you put your entire posts content into your RSS feed then that's what's going to output to feed readers, like Google reader (who monetizes against your feed)... which is not your website also... so why do you care that its being viewed somewhere else then?

You can limit your rss feed to show just the titles or even limited amounts of your posts... just do that and they won't scrape your whole post.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 18:21
Long Winter
271 points


I have to deal with content scrapers almost on a weekly basis. Having filed numerous DMCAs, I have written a blog post on how to deal with content scrapers Also check the DMCA template I use.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 19:56
Ankur Jain
566 points


Kinda skipped through a lot so maybe I'm not clear on the subject. But as far as I know, if they don't quote every single word, and only quote snippets and add in their own text, then it's not officially plagiarized. The law is you can change 20% of the content/image/product/item/etc., and it's theirs to keep so to speak.

Otherwise if it's the opposite of that, then yea the DCMA notice is the bomb of all bombs. It wipes them out, cleans them up and shuts them down. Good luck.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 16:45
Jodi W Von Oettingen
19 points
  • He says that his post was "duplicated verbatim", so the first part of your answer doesn't apply in this case. – Zuly Gonzalez 13 years ago
  • lol *duly noted* by the way what happened with Play Stations security ? Any idea how those guys got hacked ? I kinda thought they'd be pretty good at thwarting hackers, but heck if theres a will theres a way right ? – Jodi W Von Oettingen 13 years ago


It's hard to swallow, but it may just be worth letting it pass and accepting that these things happen on the Internet.

If it's just some spammer or automated process trying to pick up some Adsense crumbs, the chances are he will slip into Google supplementals and you will almost certainly outrank him on any relevant keywords. Google is very good at this stuff now.

If it's some guy really trying to pass off your work for personal gain, he won't really get very far in anything if he operates like this and can't even come up with an original thought for a blog post. Karma is good at this stuff now :)

answered Apr 13 '10 at 06:14
Benjamin Wootton
1,667 points
  • While yes, you can argue "it's just gonna happen", I do like the approaches outlined above with the DCMA notice and the "cease and desist" letters to at least take a shot at telling the writer and the hosting provider that an illegal act has been committed and giving them the opportunity to take corrective action. – Warren E. Hart 14 years ago

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