Building and running a website on long term needs dedicated money and effort. Besides writing the content, each article needs reviewing, proofreading and formatting before publishing. However, there are many copycats on the web simply copy and publish your hard worked content. Unfortunately, sometime Google will rank the copied content ahead of your site due to various reasons. If you find such a thief stealing your content, don’t worry and panic!!!
There are some copyright protection acts to take action against such digital thieves. In this article, we will explain with example how to file DMCA removal complaint with Google and takedown the stolen content from other’s websites.
What is DMCA?
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which helps to protect the original and copyrighted material from content thieves. You can read more about DMCA on this Wikipedia page.
When you find someone stole and republish your website’s content, there are two ways to handle the situation.
- Go to official DMCA services website to file a takedown notice and send to the website owner. This process is simple, though costs some money. It costs $199 per site for full assistance or $10 per month / $100 per year for sending do it yourself takedown notices.
- If you feel awkward in spending money to claim your own content then directly taking it with Google is a next option. We will discuss about this process in this article.
Google DMCA Removal Request
Google also handles DMCA complaints and allow webmasters to directly file a takedown notice. Google calls it a copyright removal notice and you can file it using the removal dashboard using your Webmaster Tools account.
- Google does not guarantee the removal through DMCA removal process.
- It takes up to 10 days in our experience for Google to accept or reject the request.
- After verification Google will instantly remove the pages without prior notice to the recipient or requestor. The requestor can check the status from the removal dashboard while the recipient will get the email after the takedown of the page from search results.
- All complaints are recorded in Lumen database and also shown in the search results publicly.
- When Google removes the page, the AdSense ad serving will be stopped on the copyright infringed page.
Preparing Before Filing a Complaint
Ensure to prepare the requirement points before complaining:
- Your URL where the original content is available
- Copyright infringed URL
- Copyrighted content up to 500 words length.
That’s it!!! You can prepare the data for each infringed page separately. However, when you file the complaint, you can choose to combine all pages in one notice or file separate complaints for each page.
How to File Google DMCA Removal Request Notice?
After preparing the details, go to Google removal dashboard and login with your Google account. The dashboard will show you the details of all previously filed notices if any.
Click on “Create a New Notice” to see the complaint form. You will see a warning message informing you to file a legitimate complaint and false complaints may results in heavy penalties.
Filling Contact Information
- Fill up the personal details like first name, last name, and the company name is optional.
- Select the copyright holder as “Self” and enter your email address.
- Choose the country/region from the dropdown. Ensure to select the country where you have facility to handle legal things in case of counter notices.
Filling Copyrighted Work Details
In this form, provide the details you have already prepared.
- Describe the copyrighted work – ensure to exactly copy and paste the infringed content available on original as well duplicated pages. This is the only proof for Google to take action and any deviation in this will result in rejection of your request.
- Authorized example of work – fill up your webpage URL where original content is available.
- Location of infringing material – fill up the URL of the webpage where stolen content is published.
Filing Multiple Requests
If you want to file multiple URL infringements in a single request, click on the “Add a new group” link.
- This will open another form where you need to fill the same details of another copyright infringed webpage.
- You can file as many as complaints in a single request.
However, we recommend filing each request separately. This is due to the fact that Google will process each URL in the request separately though you file a request with multiple URLs. When the recipient gets the removal notification of first URL, he/she can modify the content of the remaining URLs as he can see the Lumen database containing all the URLs in a single request. This will lead to rejection of remaining URLs, as Google will not find the copied content you have claimed.
Filling Sworn Statements
The last section is to confirm the details you have provided are correct and digitally sign the request. Finally, click on the “I’m not robot” checkbox to verify you are human and submit the request.
Tracking the Removal Notices
Remember, after filing the request Google will not send any notification to you. You need to manually track the notices from the removal dashboard.
- Removal dashboard will show each request as a link.
- Click on it to view the details of the URLs you have filed.
- After processing, you will see the status whether your request was accepted or rejected by Google.
- If rejected you will find the reason for rejection.
Confirming the Removal
The recipient will receive a DMCA removal notice when the request is successfully processed. He can submit a counter notice to oppose the rejection or choose to remove the content. At any case, Google will record all your complaints in Lumen database for reference.
In our example, we have filed the complaint for removing the URL related to adding scroll to top button in Weebly. This was successfully and the stolen content from the infringed page in weeblytutorials.com was removed from search results.
You can go to Google and search for “add scroll to top button in Weebly”. Scroll down to the bottom and you will see a DMCA takedown notice like below (there are 2 notices we have filed):
Click on the “read the DMCA complaint” link to view the Lumen database record of the complaint we have filed from the Google removal dashboard.
Recommended Process to Follow
In our case, we have found the weeblytutorial.com website owner simply scraps almost all Weebly related pages from our site. We have followed the professional process like below for more than 2 years telling the owner to takedown the copied content.
Send email using the contact form in the web page informing the website has infringed content.
Most of the time this will help, however in our case we have sent email to weeblytutorials.com owner on 2017. He didn’t remove the copied pages and on top of that, he continued to steal content and publish other pages.
We have formally filed a complaint with the web host OVH Hosting. Again, the web host confirmed they forwarded the information to the owner but can’t take action, as they don’t own the rights to do it.
Finally, we have filled Google DMCA removal after two years and also informed to the site owner.
You can also follow the same process to inform the owner before filing DMCA complaint.
Real Thieves Should be Punished
We gave almost 2 years time, our intention was to give time to the owner so that he can take necessary action. However, as his domain name contains the keyword “Weebly” the stolen content ranks higher than our own pages in Google. Also, he continued to publish stolen content including all images as he got confident that no action can be taken.
This directly affected our traffic as well as revenue as we offer many Weebly services. So we have decided to file the complaint as a formal action.
Why Did We File 2 Complaints?
As you can see in the above screenshot, for the keyword related to “Add to scroll buttons in Weebly” we have file 2 complaints.
- First we have filed a complaint containing 8 URLS as you can see below.
- Google approved one URL and the receiver got notification.
- He checked the Lumen database request containing 8 infringed URLs and took down the remaining URLs.
- Google rejected our request for the remaining 7 URLs with the reason “We were unable to locate the content in question”.
- As a real thieve, the owner of weeblytutorials.com republished the same content after few weeks of time.
- So we are forced to file another complaint and this time it was successful.
The problem in the Google DMCA form is that you can only provide 500 words of content as a proof. Google will check only that specified content for taking action. Second issue is that multiple URLs in a single request are processed separately. This leads to the situation like we explained above. Therefore, it’s a good idea to file individual URLs as a separate request.
Will Google Contact You?
As mentioned, Google will not contact you unless there are clarifications required. If required, Google will send you an email asking to provide the details.
You can reply to the email providing the requested details. This is the process however required whenever there is counter removal notice opposing the removal of URL from search results.
We run this website for almost a decade with an intention to provide information and make money. However, there are real thieves who steal the digital content. You can follow the above process to takedown the infringed content from Google. If that doesn’t work, you can either approach paid DMCA service or an attorney to file a legal complaint.
Whether Google will remove the URL or not it’s a good idea to follow honesty in our life. Yeah!!! Honest is the best policy, however you can’t expect it from the cheap people like weeblytutorials.com guy. They should be punished for stealing the content and wasting our precious time.