My site has been copied word for word - what now?

Hi guys,

I need some help as to the right action to take against a site that has copied our content so thoroughly they even left in our company name!!!

We have had 15 pages of sailing itineraries, yacht charter and yacht information copied. I found the site through a random check of Google rankings.

I have their contact details (phone and email) so what do you think is the correct course to follow?

What about the search engines also? How will they view this infringement? Not to mention the whole duplicate content issue.

I appreciate any help you can offer.


Hi harpoon. Welcome to SitePoint! :slight_smile:

I have their contact details (phone and email) so what do you think is the correct course to follow?

Probably the best first move is just to make contact and point out to them that they should not be copying your content and that you would like them to remove it. Sometimes that is enough. You can gently point out that their actions are illegal and further action will be taken if the copied content is not removed promptly.

Next step—if the site isn’t taken down—is probably to contact their hosting provider and point out what’s going on. That may be enough to get them banned.

If that doesn’t work, get legal advice.

I’ve not been in this situation, but I thinks that’s the process that is often recommended when others discuss this kind of issue.

Hope that helps! I feel your pain. :frowning:

Hello again,

Sorry for the above post! I was in a bit of a panic!

I have now searched Google and the 'net for others in my situation and am now a little calmer.

I’ll start with the Cease and Desist email and whilst waiting for the response I’ll be getting screenshots and making DMCA applications.

Anything else would be helpful though.

Regarding the copied content… it was even an excerpt and a link back, we are talking 100% copy and paste. Damn cheeky ba*%$rds!!!

Chat soon,


The few times I’ve had to issue a takedown request, I didn’t usually have to go past the stern informal request. I might suggest going that route before an official C&D or DMCA takedown notice.

"I discovered that content from website X has been copied on your website at X, Y, and Z locations. Since the content was copied without the content owner’s expressed permission, I request that it be removed within X business days. If it is removed, I shall not pursue any further action. If it is not removed, I shall pursue a more official response.

Thank you for your understanding."

Or something along those lines…

You could look for others here I try not to look to often though - just pees me off!


I would first strongly suggest you check to make sure there has been no mixup of ip addresses.

Last summer I discovered what I thought to be an entire, duplicate site of mine made only to find out that my host mixed up the ip’s during a takeover/during server moves. Without notifying anyone. This was up to me to unearth, running into denial(s) by my host.

Secondly, as evident as it appears, I would not assume that this other party is the one responsible for copying your site over. This could have been done potentially by another party.

Thirdly - make sure the lock is on at your domain registrar to prevent transfer. If someone has in fact gone this far, they may not be deterred.

It sometimes helps to place easter eggs in the site code, to identify it as yours.

Checking on the ip, are they within the U.S or a third world nation where protective laws do not apply?


There are two ways to handle this:

Be nice, send them a legal letter, hoping they will take it down, if not persue it legally.

If you can’t do that, hire a talented hacker and you think of the rest ;).

All good advice, I’d suggest a stern informal letter first before something more official.

Also, is it content you wrote yourself? Reason I ask was we had a similar situation, but it turned out our client copied it from marketing blurb given to them by their suppliers. There I’d suggest a rewrite.

I would also say from an SEO point of you if Google recognises you as the authority source, you will get the benefit (how is their site appearing for keywords you are trying to rank with?)

Thanks for posting that link (now I’m peed off too)… I found a site that not only copied and pasted my content verbatim, they are actually selling a free utility that I developed.

I have to agree with Force Flow. The SVN takedown notice has a very good likelihood of success, and I have employed this many times.

you must look for the solution and first contact website owner to remove your copyright content/design and if he/she doesn’t remove the copyright owned by you then you need to contact his/her hosting provider and complain with proof, after contacting hosting provider if they dont take any action then you will have one option as i heard of a website where you need to pay some fees in order for them to take action for your copyright website copied to be removed from other party.

Hey harpoon71, is a tremendous resource.

Specifically, his “Stopping Internet Plagiarism” series should be exactly what you need:




here’s a step for step guide how to act with several useful links


Don’t let hackers handle on it. Try contact Google people about it before taking any actions.

Actually I have a simple 5 step program which does the trick (move to the next if each fails):

Step #1: Send them a friendly email asking them to take it down - give it 72 hours.
Step #2: Send a new email (more strongly worded) as a cease and desist notice (48 hours).
Step #3: Submit a DCMA takedown notice and give them 7 days to remove the content.
Step #4: Send a DCMA takedown notice both to their web host and to Google (to remove them from search).
Step #5: And if the above fails… call your lawyer and begin filing charges against them for the violation.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the input from everyone - and sorry for the lack of proper introduction in the appropriate area (I’ll head over now to do that).

What happened was an ‘agency’ wanted to display our sailing trips and excursions then pass on inquiries to us on a commission basis… which is fine, except the way they went about it.

Out of all the ideas above, we simply tried the ‘polite - cease and desist’ option and it worked. We even have a proper business meeting set up so we can work together properly on the situation.

My input to my business partner was that if he wanted to display our trips fully then he would need to ‘noindex’ those pages.

By the way - Copyscape showed them as copied and he even copied and pasted the section with our company name in - so it was beyond a doubt our info.

Thanks again everyone.


I remember one time I was looking at a map of my town when I noticed it had a street that wasn’t there. At first I thought it might have been a street that was at one time there, but was no longer there. But I learned that it was an intentional mistake made to help catch copiers.

Point being, if you don’t want to rely on a copier including your company name, you could introduce minor obscure errors into your copy to “fingerprint” them.

Be careful though, noticeable errors will make you look less professional.

it’s very rampant nowadays but on seo point of review it’s nothing the bot will credit the original owner of the post

That doesn’t stop it being totally illegal, credit does not equal permission and those people who operate those bots deserve to be imprisoned. :slight_smile:

AlexDawson’s 5 steps is a good bit of advice.

If you don’t feel that that website is a threat to your image/rankings, you might even try a friendly email asking them to “summarize” the original content and provide a link back to the original on your website… if that fails, follow through the the 5 step plan! :slight_smile: