DEALING WITH ONLINE COPYRIGHTS INFRINGEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH DMCA
This is an old article. Check the updated article on my new blog here: http://orbitingweb.com/blog/reporting-copyrights-infringement/
Copyright infringement is a very common phenomenon on the internet. The most common and most frequent copyright violations happening over the internet according to copyright infringement statistics is 'content duplication'. This is followed by infringement involving reselling of digital products. I will be discussing how you can deal with these types of copyright infringement cases. The article is a bit technical, but I have tried to keep it as simple as possible by adopting a step by step training module.
The following are the primary steps involved:
Part 1: Collecting InformationThe first step involves collecting information about the infringer, his hosting company, payment gateways etc.
Step 1: Finding and Noting Down Contact Details of the Infringing Website
a. ) Visit the infringer's website and see if you can find any contact details like a customer service email or phone number. Note these down.
b. ) Check the Whois information of the website. You can do this by visiting a service like http://whois.domaintools.com/. Enter the URL of the infringer's website and click search. You should be able to see the domain registrant's information provided the registrant is not blocking his Whois using a Privacy Service. In-case you are able to see the Whois, note down the following details:
c.) Try to get more information about the people or company operating the website by checking the backlinks, copyright information, privacy policies or anything that can give you a cue forward.
d. ) Find out if the website is using any kind of redirects and note down the URLs if any redirection is found. (You can check redirects using http://www.webconfs.com/redirect-check.php). If yes, find the whois information of the redirected domain and note similar details as above.
Step 2: Finding the Hosting Company that Hosts the Infringer's Website
You can find the infringer's hosting company by visiting a service like http://www.whoishostingthis.com/. Enter the URL of the infringer's site and click on search.
If the site is using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like CloudFlare or MAXCDN you will not be able to see the hosting company's details. Instead the CDN's details will be shown (CDN's name and IP address). In this case, contact the CDN with a DMCA notice and ask them to reveal details of the client. More often than not, the CDN will oblige to your request.
You can also try searching using other services like, https://www.webhostinghero.com/who-is-hosting/. This service is not very accurate, but I have found that it shows the host name in the ISP section even if the site is behind a CDN. In addition to that, it also tends to reveal the IP address of the site under the IPv4 Address section. You can then make a search for this IP address again using http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to confirm the hosting company.
Important Things to Note:
This is an optional step and is of not much use as ISP's generally do not respond to DMCA notices, but you can do this if need be. For example, there is a possibilty that the infringer is in a Country where you have friends who can track down the location of the company using local detective organizations.
Here's how you can find the ISP of the infringer, this is of-course only possible if the infringer has an email address located on his website or whois information:
a.) Send an email to the infringer asking for some sale related or website related question.
b.) Check the email headers of the reply mail to locate the IP address of the sender.
c.) Do a Whois check of the IP to find the ISP information.
d.) Note down contact details of the ISP. This is also the place of operation of the Infringer.
You can also use an email tracker service like ip2location.com/free/email-tracer to get more information. Important Things to Note:
Step 4: Finding Contact Details of Payment Gateways (if Any. Applicable in case of product infringement)
Find out which payment gateway/processors the site is using to sell products/services and note down the contact details found on their website. You can do this using the following steps:
Note: The following steps are optional, but can prove very useful, especially incase of digital product infringement.
Step 5: Collecting Information on Internet Visibility of the Infringing Website
a.) Find Page Rank of Website
b.) Find Alexa Rank of Website (current, weekly and monthly)
c.) Number of Cached pages in Google, Yahoo and MSN (Find cached pages using the command, site:http://www.sitename.com)
d.) Domain/Site age (Find out age of the domain using http://www.archive.org)
Step 6: Finding Info on what Promotion Techniques the Site is Using
a. ) Inorganic Promotion: Find a list of related keywords and check sponsored ads of google, yahoo and MSN to see if the Site Ad appears for those keyword queries. Note down all engines that display ads of the infringer.
b. ) Organic Promotion: Find out if the infringing site is ranking in top 100 positions for any of the related keywords.
What to do with this information?
This information will help you find out about the level of business you have lost to this person. This will also give you information about the ways the infringer's website is getting traffic. You can use this information to decide how exactly to proceed further.
Step 7: Finding Monetization Techniques Used by the Infringing Site
a) Check the Infringing site and find out if it is displaying PPC or other forms of Advertising
b) Locate and Note the source of the Ads (Ad source can be found by right clicking on the Ads and checking the Ad properties)
c) Find and note client ID associated with these ads
What to do with this information?
You can mail the Ad companies and urge them to suspend the infringer's ad account. This will certainly be a blow to the infringer.
Part 2: Sending DMCA NoticesThe below discusses how you can take action against the infringing website with the help of the information you collected in the previous step.
Step 8: Taking Action against the Infringing Site
1. ) Send a Cease and Desist email asking the infringing website to shut their operations within 24 hours.
2. ) If the infringer does not respond, send DMCA notifications to the following:
Send DMCA to search engines to remove the infringing website from search engine listings and disable their paid advertisments if any.
Use the following information for sending DMCA to the search engines. (For sending DMCA to hosting and other related companies, send an email to their legal, support and abuse department.)
For Google Inc:
You can send DMCA via the following URL after logging into your Google Account: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-dashboard
Visit the URL and click on 'Create a New Notice' link. If the infringing website is using Google Adwords to advertise then make sure to include this information in your DMCA notice so Google can disable their account.
For Microsoft Corporation:
For DMCA notices to get a website removed from BING organic search results, vist: https://www.microsoft.com/info/FormForSearch.aspx
For DMCA notices to get a website removed from BING Ad Network, send an email to: email@example.com
Or visit the following URL: https://www.microsoft.com/info/Search.aspx for more details.
For Yahoo! Inc:
Visit the following URL and click on 'Submit a Copyright Infringment Notice': https://policies.yahoo.com/us/en/yahoo/ip/index.htm
Important Things to Note for Sending Cease and Desist email:
Cease and Desist Email Formats
Sample Cease and Desist Email Format for Content Infringement
SUB: Legal Cease and Desist Notice Against infringingsitename.com From: Your Name, Legal Department, Company Name and Address
This is the legal department of (Company Name). We have come to identify that your website infringingsitename.com is illegally duplicating and reproducing copyrighted content from our site sitename.com.
Stop duplicating our content and remove all infringing pages immediately. If you do not abide to this in the next 24 hours of this mail receipt, we will have to carry out legal proceedings against you. We will also release DMCA complaints as per Section 512 with all major search engines, hosting provider and you Ad partners, Chitika Ads. So your site will be banned permanently from the SE database and dropped from hosting.
All content and images on oursitename.com is copyrighted by US laws and any kind of duplication or reproduction is illegal.
We want you to stop this infringement immediately or else get ready to be sued for damages.
Sample C&D Format for Product Infringement:
This is the legal department of (Company Name). We have come to identify that your website infringingsitename.com is illegally selling our icons as a part of a resale package the online location for which is
Other urls that display the product
We want you to discontinue this product and remove all our icons and icons of other sites immediately. If you do not abide by this in the next 24 hours of this mail receipt we will have to carry out legal proceedings against you. We will also release DMCA complaints with all major search engines, hosting provider and payment gateway Paypal. So your site will be banned permanently from the SE database and dropped from hosting. You will also be reported to all online crime control centers including the powerful internationally functional ic3.gov.
All our products are copyrighted by US laws and selling them illegally is a crime. Check here to see our scanned copyrights:
http://www.sitename.com/copyrights (if any)
We want you to stop this product within 24 hours or-else get ready to be sued for damages.
About the Author: Visit my blog OrbitingWeb.com to get in touch with me if you need any help in this matter.Glossary of Important Terms
Infringement: An unauthorized use of material (like digital products/website content etc.) protected by copyright, patent or trademark law. For instance, if A reproduces the copyrighted content present on B's website, without his permission, A is violating B's Copyrights. So B can sue A for infringement of his content.
DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act is an Act Passed in 1998, to bring copyright law up to date with digital/online media
ISP: Internet service provider or ISP is a company offering internet connection services. Every ISP assigns a static or dynamic IP address to the customer using which the customer's place of operation can be tracked
Dynamic IP Address: An IP address which keeps changed. For instance, a dynamic ISP IP address is an IP which keeps changing every time a customer logs on to the internet
Static IP Address: A static IP address is an IP Address which remains static and does not change. For instance, a static ISP IP address is an IP does not change irrespective of how many times the customer logs on the internet. In this case, the IP is permanently assigned to the customer.
Hosting: Also known as web hosting or website hosting is a business that offers sever space for websites to host/save their files so they are accessible online 24 hours.
Domain Name: Domain name is an unique name that identifies a website over the internet. Every domain name is associated with an IP address
IP Address: An IP address is a set of numeric digits separated by dots, given to servers and users that connect to the internet.
ICANN: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions
Domain Registrar: A "Registrar" (or "Domain Name Registrar") is an organization like Network Solutions that has control over the granting of domains
PPC Ads: PPC stands for Pay per click ads. In these types of ads the advertiser pays the publisher some amount of money for every click his site receives
Sponsored Listings: Sponsored Listings are listings that have been paid for. In the SERPs, sponsored listings are generally listed on the right hand side of the regular search results
Organic Listing: Organic listings are the regular search engine results that are displayed by the search engine for user queries. The position of these listings is decided by the search engines.
Inorganic Listing: Inorgainc listings are sponsored listings that are displayed by the search engines in a listing order depending on the price paid by the advertiser for the ad.
SERP: SERPs are Search Engine Results Pages which refers to the resulting listings that are shown when a keyword is searched upon.
Cease and Desist: Cease-and-desist is a legal term meaning essentially stop: It is used in demands for a person or organization to permanently stop doing something (to cease and desist from doing it).
Online Payment Gateways: A combination of software and hardware that provides an interface to process payments online
BackLinks: All the links pointing at a particular web page. Also called inbound links.
Website Traffic: The number of visitors that a website receives. Calculated on a daily or monthly basis
Page Rank: Devised by Google, it measures not only how many links point to a website, but the "quality" of the sites providing the links
Alexa Rank: Alexa is a ranking methodology which ranks websites based on the traffic they receive from the alexa community. A community consists of members using the alexa toolbar in their browser
Google Adsense: AdSense is an advertising program run by Google. Website owners can enroll in this program to enable text and image advertisements on their sites. These ads are administered by Google and generate revenue on a per-click basis. Google utilizes its search technology to serve ads based on website content, the user's geographical location, and other factors.
Google Adwords: A Pay Per Click (PPC) program of advertising on Google. The ads appear on the right hand side of the Google Search page on keywords / key phrases that you choose.
Plagiarism: The false presentation of someone else's writing as one's own. In the case of copyrighted work, plagiarism is illegal. Also referred as content duplication, wherein a website copies and displays content from another website.
Copyrights: A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by government to protect the particular form, way or manner in which an idea or information is expressed.
Reseller Hosting: Reseller hosting is a form of web hosting wherein the account owner may split up their allotted hard drive space and bandwidth and resell web hosting space offered by the Primary or Main Hosting Provider. The reseller does not own hosting servers, but uses servers offered by the Primary/Main Hosting Company
Archive.Org: A service which records and keeps an archive of all visible websites on the internet
Domain Registrant: A registrant is the person or company who registers a domain name. For example, Joe Smith (registrant) registers the name joesmith.com through 1stDomain.net (registrar) who in turn submits the name to the central database (Registry).
Name Servers: Nameservers (or Domain Name Servers) are the machines that perform the DNS function by providing the mapping of domain names to IP addresses.
Whois: WHOIS databases contain nameserver, registrar, and in some cases, full contact information about a domain name.
Private Whois: A private whois information does not allow the contact details of a website to be publicly viewable. To view such an Whois information, the registrar has to be contacted with valid reasons.
URL Redirection: URL redirection is a technique on the world wide web for making a web page/site automatically redirect to another webpage/site with or without the surfer's knowledge
Email Redirection: Email redirection is a technique in which email sent to an address is automatically routed to another email address