How to protect your content from scrapers

How I won the fight to protect my copyright from a feed scraper.

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Two weeks ago, I got notifications for pingbacks from a website. Though the domain name sounded like a valid web development related site, getting pings to multiple articles from it made me suspicious. Visiting the site, I found that it was nothing but a feed scraper. There was no information about the owner of the site, and the about page was just the default WordPress about page. All the posts were taken from other sites with no attribution given. WebMaster View RSS feed contains links to each article in article content itself. That’s why I got pingbacks.

After three days I got another wave of pingback notifications for my new posts. This time, I decided to do something about it.

First things first: Blocking the scraper

The first thing I did was denying access from their IP Address. Then I checked whois information. The domain owner was from Czech Republic. According to whois.domaintools.com he/she owns about 228 other domains. And the site is hosted with LeaseWeb.

Contacting the plagiarist and their host.

I emailed the domain owner and asked him to remove the stolen content within 72 hours.

Three days passed. Nothing happened.

Then I decided to contact LeaseWeb. I sent a DMCA notice using plagiarismtoday.com stock letter as a template. Again, nothing happened.

Contacting the Ad provider

I decided to try something else. The site was using AdBrite ads. I used AdBrite’s contact form to let them know about the issue.

And it worked. I got an email from AdBrite. They asked me to send a formal DMCA notice via electronically signed email. I did what they said. They replied back within hours saying,

Hello,

Thank you for contacting AdBrite. While AdBrite provides advertising and publishing solutions to many sites, we do not generate or control any content on our client’s site.

In order to process a complaint of copyright infringement, we will notify the publisher and your contact details will be provided to the publisher upon request to facilitate dispute resolution.

We have limited the publisher’s account until the copyrighted content is removed.

I checked the feed scraper’s site and saw that all the ads were disappeared.

Within hours, all my articles also disappeared from that site. :-)

How to …

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