Intellectual Property: Will My Content Get Stolen?
What to do when content is stolen?
Your music, movie, book, course, podcast, blogs…content…will be stolen. If you are successful, it will be shared A LOT. It will definitely be given away.
Good news, you don’t have to guess what to do. There are steps you can take to slow intellectual property theft (piracy), solve your stolen content issue, protect content, and enforce your intellectual property rights.
It is worth repeating…your content WILL be stolen.
How does it feel hearing that?
I use to co-own what at the time was the world’s largest library of erotic images. We estimated that we were supplying 50% of all photos in men’s magazines in the United States and about 20% of photos in those types of magazines to the rest of the world. We had millions of photos, the internet was relatively new, adult content was hot, and when opportunistic and highly creative people realized that they could scan images from magazines and sell them on the web, we saw a growing business model and a faster moving problem called piracy.
In those early days, if you saw a banner advertisement or a dating profile, there was an 80% chance that the content was from my library. No one else had the volume or the relationships in the adult space. That was the good news and the bad news because as we started licensing content to adult websites, the problem didn’t slow down. I realized that we needed a way to know where every image was going to be in order to determine who was licensed and who was a thief.
The problem of intellectual property piracy hit so quick, that I was able to use Google image search to find our photo sets by the same naming structure we used to catalog the library. Page after page, hundreds and as time went on thousands of pages of our stolen images. We would narrow the list of pirated work and then see this website, that website, that had no license to use the photographs. That’s how I built target lists and then cases that turned in to US Federal Copyright infringement lawsuits in the early days.
In the early days, in many instances, it was people who we knew from adult trade shows. I was calling a lot of them to work out settlements. If I wasn’t able to, we would get more aggressive. Litigation was the last tool I want to reach for. Lawsuits are time consuming, emotionally taxing, and costly. In the end most will work something out anyway. It saves a lot of time if you can settle upfront.
I found a broker in the United Kingdom who was licensing our sets like they had permission to do that. That broker was issuing license agreements to everyone who bought my content from them. I never game them permission and we never saw a dime.
Not only did we have clear dirty pirates who I could spot, now we also had innocent infringer’s, adult website operators in the mix who thought that they had a legitimate content license. I didn’t want to burn companies who were victims of a con.
I share this with you because I KNOW what it feels like to be ripped off.
To see my business get hit. To see content, I helped create…abused.
So how does it feel? It sucks. I use that feeling as fuel to help educate and create change. So, whether it’s your content or my content I still get pissed. For me it’s a tool to do better for our clients.
But here is the good news, unlike me back then, you don’t have to figure out what to do. There are clear steps you can take to solve this issue called stolen hard work. We have the tools for you. And you can get as aggressive or passive as you like and still get results.
You can be as aggressive or be as passive as you are comfortable with and still get results!
Awesome right? Not awesome that your content is stolen but awesome that you can do something.
Knowing that you can do something now, here is a crazy thought…What if you do nothing for six months? Why? Every person who shares the file with another, every sale, every download is free promotion for your brand and product.
If 5% of 100,000 unlicensed downloads or shares types in your URL and your conversion ratio to additional products is 3% then thieves are potentially giving you 150 sales you didn’t have. Crazy right. Effective…quite possibly.
Ok you may be thinking, not what I want to encourage.
Ok, but know that this is possible.
We have employed this technique for clients in the music and film industry over the years to tease and start what looks like a naturally occurring viral sensation.
Once it’s in enough locations, people on the internet do what people do. They share for fear of missing out. Just know this is a possibility for you.
AND if you look it at like that, piracy doesn’t seem so daunting.
Every ounce of your being maybe screaming stop stealing my work. Ok, let’s stop it.
You know the site selling it, look for an email contact under their terms, or contact page, or DMCA Notice Page.
THE FIRST STEPS TO GET CONTENT REMOVED:
- Do a WHOIS lookup on the infringing site & copy every email you see.
- Look up their hosting provider and get their contact email for abuse.
- Use Domaintools.com or Robtex.com to get more information on a website and its operation.
- Go to IntellectualPropertyHQ.com, download our DMCA Takedown Notice, fill out the notice and email it to every address you found.
- Wait a week and check back. If it’s up, find the first notice, hit forward and send it again.
This will not get content removed in every instance. Some hosts just don’t care.
Some internet service providers take a, “it’s not us” approach. Be vigilant, send another notice every week and take a screen shot of the page or pages that show your content before you send every notice. Whether you take action or not, past sending notices.
KNOW that least you have the first elements of you need to as evidence for a lawsuit.
This is also why I preach the importance of registering your copyrights. That little step can help save you money and make you money down the road.
We will cover what you can do if none of this is working in another episode, but based on my experience, chances are this will work more often than not.
I hope this information helps you protect your content. I’m more than happy to answer questions inside of our free Intellectual Property HQ Community Facebook Group.
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