Blatant Thievery

My blog, Celebrity Cowboy seems to be a magnet for content thieves. Just today, I found the following:

What can I do to prevent this?



5 thoughts on “Blatant Thievery

  1. Deb,

    I don’t know if you misunderstood what I was saying. I’m not talking about sending cease and desist letters to the plagiarists, but DMCA notices to their hosts.

    It is a very different process. I’ve got the links and contact information to reach the hosts in my post above. It only takes a couple of seconds and hosts are much more cooperative as the DMCA gives them legal motivation to remove infringing work.

    Everything I mentioned above completely bypasses the scrapers themselves and targets the hosts and advertisers they work with. You’ll need a good stock DMCA letter, which are provided in the Stock Letters post, but the process is very simple, fast and effective.

    If you have any questions about it, please let me know!

  2. With my blog and content at About Weblogs, I usually send a cease and desist and that takes care of matters quite nicely. It doesn’t seem to be working with these sites, though. I think content thieves and scrapers probably count on bloggers not wanting to waste effort or funds pursuing them.

  3. The problem with posting such a warning is that some people might read that the wrong way. I’ve heard of cases where someone posted such a warning and then wrote a nasty letter to Google or Rojo because the feed, along with that comment, appeared in their RSS reader.

    Silly people, yes, but they still cause trouble. No one wants a nasty letter from a legitimate company.

    Adding links is a good strategy but it is not a substitute for protecting work. Though it provides some defense against search engine penalties, a high-ranking plagiarist can still beat down a low ranking writer and most humans don’t click links.

    The best thing, when practical is to still disable access to the feed for the scraper and look at options for getting the content removed.

  4. Why not take a look at what appears in your feed?

    Maybe add “This content originally appeared on and if it appears elsewhere then it has been stolen”?

    or make sure you have links back to your site in all posts?

  5. Deb,

    First off, I am very sorry to hear about your problems with content theft. After looking at your site and these it is pretty clear that you are the victim of a scraper. Looking at both of these sites, they seem to be taking your feed, along with a few other feeds, and creating something of an unattributed, illegal mash-up of celebrity news.

    The good news is that stopping this theft should be pretty easy. Looking at these sites, I would recommend a two (or three) part strategy.

    1. Preventing Future Theft

    First off, since you control your own server, I would recommend strongly that you add the following code into your .htaccess file.

    order allow,deny
    deny from
    deny from
    allow from all

    That *should* block those two servers from accessing your RSS feed and scraping your content. Most such scrapers host their tools on their server so it works the vast majority of the time. But please remember that if they are using software hosted elsewhere, say their home computer, it may not work.

    If you need any help editing your .htaccess file, I have an article on my site here:

    And another good primer can be found here:

    I am assuming that your server is Apache based (you appear to be) and that you have FTP access to the server.

    2. Complaining to Advertisers (Optional)

    If you are comfortable with the works being online for a little while longer, you can complaint to their advertisers.

    The Amazaweb site uses Google Adsense for most of their ads. You can find information on reporting to Google Adsense here: Adsense DMCA Information

    The Pratikg site is a bit trickier. They use Azoogleads for their advertising. Azoogleads is a bit more difficult because, even though their TOS forbids copyright infringement, they don’t have a designated place to report. It seems that all of their correspondence passes through [email protected] so I would email there.

    In both cases I would send a full DMCA notice. You can find the template for that in my stock letters post and simply fill in the blanks with a few sample links.

    Once again though, realize that advertisers may take a while to respond and, while you are waiting on them you can not take any further action. This means that the already scraped works will remain up for a time.

    If you aren’t comfortable with that, skip straight to step three.

    3. Contacting the Host

    The Amazaweb site is hosted on Lunarpages. You can find their DMCA contact information at the bottom of this page. For whatever reason, they require a fax, much like Google, but I would call the number provided first and see if there is an address you can email it to. If not, just fax it to the number they give.

    The PratikG site is hosted on 1 and 1 Internet. You can find their DMCA contact information in this PDF. They have an email address ([email protected]) that you can use to contact them through.

    If you send a DMCA notice to both hosts through the methods they recommend, the sites, along with your content, should go down or at least have your content removed. Just be sure not to get the hosts crossed and that your notice is complete, thus why I encourage the use of my templates.

    Once you file, they will have the right to file a counter-notice should they feel that their use is not infringing but, in the hundreds of DMCA notices I have sent, I have never received a counter-notice. That is because, as with this case, I’ve always made sure that my notices were valid and justified.

    If one of the sites comes back alive and your content is still there, you can simply refile your notice. However, it is unlikely that will happen.


    If you take those steps, odds are without about 99% certainty that the sites will no longer be scraping your work. If they do continue, post again and I will go over some other options with you.

    Overall though, I feel comfortable saying that this situation should be handled pretty easily. If nothing else, the IP bans should prevent those sites from taking anything else of yours in the future.

    I hope that this helps, please do not hesitate to post any questions that you have!

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