Before I dive into this one let me make sure you understand that I am not a lawyer and I am not offering legal advice you can take to court. “Herb said this, your honor,” is not going to work. “Your honor, plaintiff states that on May 17th, 2020, Herb said in a blog post that he thinks…” Yeah, probably not a good idea. The other thing about it is that the research I did was on the United States of America’s Constitution and laws. I’m really not a legal expert of any sort.
I had an interesting e-mail exchange over a question about plagiarism and copyright infringement. What had happened was a person had written an original post on their blog. This is automatically copyrighted material. Any time you put a creative work into a tangible form that could be communicated to another person, you own the copyright. Including, but not limited to, a photo or video, even on your phone, a poem on a piece of a dried oak leaf, a blog post, any original work created by you. The next thing that happened to this person was that an advertising company took it and re-posted it, word-for-word, on their click-bait blog with the statement, “content material coming from” with a link to the original site. This is copyright infringement. It’s not plagiarism because they weren’t pretending that all or even part of the person’s work was their own but they did post it on their site without any sort of permission whatsoever.
I am not a big re-blogger. I think I have only even re-blogged something one time, and that was Author Sarah Angleton’s article about “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” (CTE) also known as “Punch Drunk Syndrome,” and how it affected her family. I thought was a very important message to get out. I don’t have the “Reblog this” button on my posts and I think most of my (real) readers are all class acts who would do things in the right way. It does make me suspicious of some of these newer followers whose sites have little or nothing on them but are mere SEO place markers.
So what should this poor blogger do? A good number of people I talked to were split. It has the advantage that yet another link to your site is out there for people to click but on the other hand, why should my name be associated with you and your firm when you don’t even have the integrity to ask me first if you can use my rightful property that I worked hard to create? Depending on what type of material and how much it’s worth (I’m only discussing a single blog post where the ultimate commercial value is little to none), here is my suggested course of action.
Another thing I would do is find out who the domain registrar is. I used Whois.net and found out the domain was registered through tucows.com. They are a large, fairly well-known company. E-mail them, explaining your dispute, and what you have done so far and request that they look into it or help you retrieve your stolen property from their servers. After a certain point the old marketing adage of “even bad publicity is still publicity) breaks down and somewhere along the chain, they are going to realize that you are noisy enough to make a real problem for them.