You take another sip of coffee as you furiously type away at the latest batch of articles you received from your client. They’ve paid you for the first batch and you’re already on the third. The fact that they still haven’t paid for the second batch is niggling at the back of your mind, and as you submit the last article to them, along with your invoice (plus the overdue amount) that sickening feeling starts to develop in the pit of your stomach. You decide not to get too paranoid, however, this is something that is causing you quite a bit of frustration.
Disappeared With Too Many Traces
You put all your sleuthing skills to the test and manage to uncover a bogus profile on every site that you thought you could trace these people with, and it’s no surprise that they “live” in all four corners of the earth. With a hefty fee still outstanding, you wonder whether it’s worth booking a ticket to one of the locations, and throttling your money out of them even if it is at a loss. You also start thinking about hiring private detectives, write bogus summonses, or anything just to show these thieves how connected you are.
You Start Googling EVERYTHING
There is no limit to the anger and frustration you feel, and that silly little contract that’s sitting in your inbox does nothing. They’re bogus, fake, non-existent, and there is nothing you can do about it. You run Copyscape and you realize they’ve ended up using your articles, and you’re mad as heck!
Do You Have Your Document Flow Recorded?
It’s easy to prove ownership of an item that is published first but to sell it to a third party as a Word document is another story. Ensure that you save PDF copy of a document the moment you send your final draft to the client, as it can serve as a proof of ownership. Keep copies of all your correspondence with the client, as it will help in any action you deem necessary to take.
Remain Professional for as Long as Possible
- Try to make contact with the website owners to get them to remove the item in question. There is the slight chance that the website owner is innocent and may have dealt with a third party.
- If contact with the website owner doesn’t work, try to make contact with the host service.
- At all times try to mediate the situation as amicably as possible.
- If this does not work, consider following the DMCA process. Although website might not be a U.S. based website, their servers or hosts might be and this could provide that much-needed hook.
What About the DMCA?
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There is nothing more disheartening than putting all your time and energy into a product, only to have it stolen by someone who doesn’t give a hoot. An extract of The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 issued by the U.S. Copyright Office, describes the act as:
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998. The legislation implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. These are the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The DMCA also addresses a number of other significant copyright-related issues.
It can take quite some time to read through all the technical terms and legal jargon. A quick way to get around this is to rely on professional services to get the job done. One such service is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act Services Ltd.
Dealing with content thieves can be disheartening and it takes courage to pursue this avenue. The more this is done, however, the more difficult it becomes for thieves to make money off unsuspecting creatives. Protecting content is vital and the follow through critical to ensure content remains safe.