View Full Version : Webhost won't do anything about copyright infringement
06-30-2007, 04:13 PM
Surfing around a while back, I found that one of the most-visited pages on my website had been copied in its entirety and posted as a blog post on a porn site in a Eastern-European country.
(My page has nothing to do with porn - it's actually advice about SEO.)
I contacted the blog's owner twice, asking him to remove our copyrighted content, and - not surprisingly - received no answer either time.
So, I sent an email to the webhost, explaining the situation. I received an email back saying they'd check into it, take care of it, etc. After waiting a week or two & getting no action, I enquired again and was told they were "checking into it." Then, got the same line yet again a week later. Waited some more, enquired again and was told "we've asked the owner to take it down."
But it is still there, a couple months after I initially found it.
And the webhost has stopped answering my emails.
Now, this isn't the first time one of my pages has been copied . I've actually dealt with this type of issue quite a lot in the past, and have found that 90% of the time the website owner will remove the content quickly without need for further action. The few times I've had to file a complaint with the webhost, they have acted quickly as well.
But now that I've hit a dead end with the webhost, where do I go now? I doubt sending another cease & desist letter will do anything. They're in Eastern Europe, anyway & I'm in the USA. Is there anything else I can do?
Sure would appreciate your suggestions.
06-30-2007, 05:12 PM
It might take a while for anything to happen, but it could be the right (or perhaps simplest) answer here is to report the offending site to the SEs as SPAM. If they get de-indexed (which by all rights they should be) then they've lost any advantage your copy was creating them.
07-01-2007, 02:57 PM
Thanks, perhaps I will do that. Filing a DMCA complaint with Google is just such a hassle, sending the complaint via US Mail, etc. But perhaps I will do it.
07-02-2007, 04:24 PM
Denise, since, as I understand it, compliance with DMCA takedown requests is only voluntary by web hosts outside the U.S., Google may be your best recourse.
07-02-2007, 04:33 PM
How do you find out the webhost of the offending party?
Do I understand correctly that the webhost if based in the U.S. needs to take action to have the stolen copy removed per DMCA?
07-02-2007, 05:01 PM
Go to Netcraft - Search Web by Domain (http://searchdns.netcraft.com/) Just enter the offending domain name and you'll get the Netblock, which will be a link to the host or the host's data center.
I've had the same issue in the past when a web host ripped off my tags to get better search engine positioning. I don't know if it worked, but I complained to google. Since that time, we've dropped markedly from the engines. Used to rank Number One for the search term "web hosting" in the late '90's in a few major engines including Excite, which was the google of its day I suppose.
Good luck tracking the ungracious host. We never hesitated to pull infringing sites off our network.
07-02-2007, 05:02 PM
There are lawyers out there who will sue for you on a contingent basis. I do believe it is a $10,000 a day fine for the copyright infringement. I have seen it work several times first hand. I have seen them each time settle out of court for multiple thousands of dollars (I am sworn to not reveal amounts). This is considered tax free income by the IRS in the previous cases. Get a snapshot of the site each day that it is up and keep track of every step you have taken.
This is not legal advise. Consult a lawyer.
07-02-2007, 05:10 PM
Kevinper - are there contingent fee based lawyers with experience in copyright infringement that you can recommend?
07-02-2007, 05:26 PM
You can also try contacting the domain registrar of the porn site.
07-02-2007, 05:54 PM
I really wish I could recommend one for you. I do know of one who has, but I can't reveal his name and I don't know if he still is. I do know that this is big money.
I have read on the internet that one has to register their copyright in order to win or get money. I don't know the rules or laws, but a newspaper cannot register every single paper it publishes. Their must be somthing they do. A web site would, in my opinion, would be simular.
If they send a ceast and desist letter, and that solves the problem, I would imagine you would have to pay for that regardless.
I would search your local area on the internet and use your phone book and see what you can find. Once you find one, you are set. It is possible that another lawyer can recommend someone to you. They do hang out together (my brother is also a lawyer and I use to play football with assistant DA's and other attorney's.) They will know who needs the money.
I wish I could help more.
07-02-2007, 07:20 PM
There seems to me to be no way of enforcing copyright laws over international boundries without getting to an extremly involved.
It's time to rewrite the blog post, using enough various language change to avoid the spam issue and cut your loses
07-02-2007, 08:07 PM
I have a similar situation here in Thailand. Only I and a few other website owners are being stalked by a psycho. He has set up a negative website called, not surprisingly, NotStickmanBangkok.com (http://notstickmanbangkok.com/)
He started by attacking the Stickmanbangkok.com website owner over a perceived slight because he disagreed with the plug Stickman gave a bar, as opposed to the one NotStickman supported. NotStickman, by the way, is Keith Summers.
When I wrote a funny story featuring Foster Foskin an Australian and his adventures in Thailand and I used the name John Galt (yes, of Atlas Shrugged fame), Summers got his nose bent out of shape because he was also using the name and identified with the indignities suffered by the Galt character in Foster's story.
You begin to see the absurdity in all this.
However, Summers just will not stop his attacks on me and others, so I have tried to get his hosting company to close his site down. No such luck. The hosting provider ignored me both times I attempted it. Since then, I have decided to fight fire with fire and published a couple of attacks on Summers. He, of course, has retaliated with lies about my integrity. But as I said to Summers in my last article Challenge to Keith (ttp://www.aardarkzone.com/holtblog), I have quite a lot of dirt on him and people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. The battle continues....
All of us that Keith has attacked would very much like to see his website taken down...but how? Any suggestions?
07-02-2007, 08:59 PM
I have a client, business in Japan, who has been having issue with false negative (defamatory) posts on blogs etc that has cost him business. The site(s) in question have actually ripped off content (graphics mostly) from his site.
I've been looking into DMCA to have their content / posts removed or sites shut down. Most of the sites are hosted in the US.
Any ideas whether it's best to counter from the copyright or defamation angles? What's the process to send to both google and other engines like yahoo and msn to apply to have their content removed?
He's already spent several thousand dollars on lawyers but because the individuals are hard to find (they are international) the lawyers recommended to forget it. I'm thinking as the content is hosted in US, it may be possible to approach from that end and see if we can get the engines to remove the content?
Oh hosts have refused as they are friends of the site owners, still working on tracking down the datacenters on it and doing up cease and desist letters.
Any additional direction from anyone?
07-03-2007, 02:29 AM
These links May help you out:-
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (http://arbiter.wipo.int/)
Web Site Content Theft (http://sbinfocanada.about.com/cs/legalmatters/a/websitetheftjb.htm)
U.S. Copyright Office Summary of the DMCA (http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf) (PDF file)
Copyright Law of the United States of America (Library of Congress) (http://www.loc.gov/copyright/title17/)
Stanford Copyright & Fair Use (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/)
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA)
DMCA Information (http://www.tuxers.net/dmca/)EFF: DMCA Archive (http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/)
The Network Abuse Clearinghouse (http://www.abuse.net/) Intended to help the Internet community to report and control network abuse and abusive users. Since the best place to report abusive activity varies from one system to another, they are trying to keep a master database of reporting addresses for users throughout the net to use.
Copyright USA; U.S Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/)
Alliance against Intellectual Property Theft (http://www.allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk/)
Copyscape Search for copies of your page on the Web (http://www.copyscape.com/)
Electronic Privacy Information Center (http://www.epic.org/).
07-03-2007, 10:05 AM
Wow, thanks so much for all your comments.
Jamie, I checked the whois record (at Whois lookup and Domain name search (http://whois.domaintools.com) ) to find the nameserver the site was hosted on.
Suzanne, yeah it probably is voluntary since they are not bound by the same laws we are. Fortunately, in the past, I've found most foreign webhosts to be cooperative anyway. This one is a real jerk.
I wrote to a webhost in Germany once because one of their clients had stolen the whole text of one of my websites & copied it to my site. The website owner had told me to f*** off & claimed that he copied the text from a book! not a website (odd that he was willing to admit plagiarism) - but the webhost was quite responsive. (In a further twist, it turned out that the owner of the website in question was also an employee of the webhost!)
Kevin, that is really interesting about the fines. Wow. I had no idea it was so much.
I've had people rip off my pages before. The complete text of my webdesign site has even been copied on 2 separate occasions by other webdesigners! Guess I should have sued, my bank account would sure be looking good. :-)
I do know that copyright registration is optiona; it's not required in order to enforce one's copyright. Under US copyright law, a creative work is copyrighted the moment it is created whether registered or not.
However, if bringing a lawsuit, it will certainly prove ownership beyond a doubt. So if one has registered a copyright, a legal case will be a slam dunk.
On the net, there are also other ways of proving which website first published the material (Archive.org, the site owner's own records, webhost records, etc.)
qh4dotcom that's a good idea. I hadn't thought of the domain name registar.
Matteo, yeah, rewriting the page is a good idea. It's already been slightly reworked. It's just that I shouldn't have to do it. I just shouldn't have to do it.
TrafficProducer, wow, that list of links is superb. Thanks so much.
Dealing with business entities in other countries is just such a challenge.
Thanks again everyone!
cheers & gracias ~
07-03-2007, 01:05 PM
I just Googled "intellectual properties law contingent" and got a long list; no time or need to research them all right now, but this first URL that I looked at seemed promising:
IP Litigation Law Blog: Contingent Fee / Alternative Billling (http://www.iplitigationblog.com/cat-contingent-fee-alternative-billling.html)
07-03-2007, 05:01 PM
Here's an update - I went to check the blog again, and the entire site is gone.
There's just a parking page there now, advertising some nasty porn sites. A note at top explains that the domain name has expired.
The plagiarized page is history! Very pleased.
Now, I'm off to the ocean for a couple days of sun, fireworks & margaritas.
Happy 4th everyone!
cheers & gracias ~
07-09-2007, 01:16 AM