Updated: Dec 4, 2020
So, you've worked long and hard on your website, or you found someone else to do it, and then you find out someone else re-created your website. Stole everything!
And I know you want to hunt this person down and give them a piece of your mind. But, before you call the cops, here are some things you can do to try reclaiming your content.
Some ways are easy, while others are more advanced. Just remember that I'm not a lawyer, and if you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer.
1. Take Screenshots
Don't contact the person who duplicated your site at first. Instead, take screenshots as a record of what they've done.
You can also use the Wayback machine to see what your thief's website looked like before looking like yours.
Then, take screenshots of your website as proof of the work you've done on your website.
2. Contact the Plagiarizer
With proof in hand, you need to ask the copycat to take down what they have stolen from you.
To find who this person is, you can visit "WHOIS.net" to see if their contact information is listed for "their website."
You can also find out if they have their contact information on the website they've "created."
3. Contact the Host of the Server
You can also contact the server host and ask them to take the site down.
Make sure to contact the server host by email to keep a digital paper trail. Keep your email professional and demand what you want to have done.
No need to tell them how pissed off you are.
And, if this doesn't work...
4. Take it to Google
There's something called the Google Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Submit a DMCA request to Google asking for the removal of the copycat site from their search engine.
You can ask Bing to do the same. But, there is a caveat. For you to get the site removed through Google, and not just have the site not appear on their search engine, you have to pay $199 for a DMCA takedown.
5. Get a lawyer!
This option will cost you more than $199, of course. The lawyer will need to issue a "cease-and-desist" letter to the copycat or hosting company.
If the letter doesn't work, a lawsuit is an order. This option is the most costly and time-consuming.
But this is necessary sometimes, especially for large websites.
To Protect Yourself In The Future
To significantly lessen the chances of this tragic event happening to you:
Take any weird website activity seriously.
Get alerts for any use of your blog post titles using Google Alerts.
Search for content in quotes you've written that you believe sound uniquely like you online. Doing this is a great way to find stolen content.
Use Copyscape to search for website pages that may have duplicated yours. Just know that for free, you can only search for one website page at a time.
Get DMCA Protection for free or for $10 a month.
Put a copyright statement on your website with the current year.
At the same time, know this -- if your content is online, people can take it. And, sometimes the person who is the copycat is a website designer.
So, be sure to ask your website designer for a guarantee that your text is an original.
Then, get this put in writing so that it is legally binding.
Has this ever happened to you? If so, please share your experience with our readers as to how you handled this.