How to File DMCA Complaints for Stolen Content

Updated on February 28, 2017

Oh No! Someone Stole My Content!

What to do if Your Content is Copied

Because your articles are public and available for the world to see, there is a chance that someone might copy and republish them. It's understandable to feel frustrated when someone copies your work without your permission. However, since HubPages does not own the copyright to your articles—you do—you must assert your copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

If your copyright is something you want to actively protect, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Check your articles to see if a significant portion (beyond Fair Use) of their content has been used elsewhere online without your permission
  2. If you find a violation of your copyright, file a DMCA with the site where it is posted
  3. If you cannot find the owner of the site, file a DMCA with the hosting company
  4. If you cannot contact the hosting company, file a DMCA with search engines
  5. If these efforts are met with no response, consider taking legal action

More detailed instructions are outlined below.

Has your work been copied onto HubPages?

If someone on HubPages has copied and published your copyrighted content, please visit our Copyright Infringement page.

How to Check for Copied Articles

If you want to check to see if one of your articles has been copied somewhere online, you can use a site like Copyscape to find online duplicates. To use these services, all you typically have to do is enter the article's URL, and if its content has been copied and republished on other sites, they should show up in your query.

You can also take a sentence or two of your article, copy it, and paste it into a Google search bar. Be sure to bookend your excerpt with quotes so Google does an exact search.

Additional Considerations

The directions above also apply to photos and videos. To monitor the use of your photos online:

  • Go to Google Images, click on the camera icon inside the search bar, and paste a URL or upload an image to see where else it may have been used online
  • Go to www.tineye.com and upload the photo or file URL and see where else on the web the photo is being used.
  • Go to www.digimarc.com to add digital watermarks to your photos before you upload them to HubPages. This service will report to you if your images have been used elsewhere online (keep in mind that visible watermarks on photos go against HubPages' publishing policy).

Keep in mind that ingredients lists for recipes cannot be copyrighted, but the directions for recipes, as well as curated recipe collections, can.

How to File a DMCA Complaint

If you do find that some or all of the content of one of your articles has been copied and republished without your permission, you may file a DMCA complaint with the person who posted the content or the site hosting that content.

To file a notice of infringement with a person or site, you must provide a written communication, by mail/post, email, or fax, that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights.

To expedite the site's ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

  1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon (for example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on http://username.hubpages.com/hub/your-hub").
  2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above (for example, “The following page infringes on my copyrighted work: http://theirsite.com/Infringing_content”).
  3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to allow the person or website to contact you (email address is preferred).
  4. Include the following statement: "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."
  5. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, 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."
  6. Sign the paper.
  7. Send the written communication to the the person or website's mailing address, fax number, or email, with the subject line "DMCA Complaint." If sending an email, it is best to include the complaint in the body of the email and not an attachment, as many do not open attachments due to security concerns.

Finding the Right Person to Contact

There are three general stages when it comes to filing DMCA complaints:

  1. Filing the complaint with the person who posted the stolen content
  2. Filing the complaint with that individual's web host
  3. Filing the complaint with Google

Filing the complaint with the person who posted the stolen content

If you cannot find the email address for the website that has published your copyrighted content, you can utilize WHOIS to find the person associated with the site's domain. Simply type in the URL to the text box, then send your DMCA Complaint to the email address associated with that domain. You can also check with the United States Copyright Office to see if the site hosting your stolen content has a designated copyright agent.

Filing the complaint with that individual's web host

If you cannot find a site's owner or a designated copyright agent, you may be able to find a site's hosting service and file a DMCA with the hosting service directly. There are easy-to-find online resources that you can use to do this.

Filing the complaint with Google

If you do not get a response from the person or site with which you have filed your DMCA complaint, you may then file a DMCA complaint with Google (select "Web Search") and Bing (email dmcaagnt@microsoft.com) and try to get the page de-indexed. Once a webpage has been de-indexed, there is a very small chance that your stolen work will be discovered by others because there will be no way for online searchers to find it (unless they already know of the page and navigate directly to it).

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