I Faced A Thief Online And This Is What Happened Next

Ever had one of those weeks where you can’t quite believe what just happened?

I had one of those this week.

And I wanted to share this shocking experience with you, so that you know exactly what to do if you ever face the same scenario.

It started at 11am on Tuesday morning. I got a message on Facebook:

online thief

On the surface it seemed an interesting and innocent request… So of course I investigated.

I found the person who sent the message on Facebook and from there discovered her website.

I had a quick scan, but before going too far I spotted a blog post “3 Reasons You Need A Sales Funnel” (all in German).

My heart jumped. “That looks familiar “I thought… So I started reading.  Didn’t take me long, all of around 30 seconds, to recognize the content.

It was my blog post.

The opening paragraph, the headings, the second paragraph, the third, fourth etc. and all the examples I’d used (albeit with creatively changed numbers).

The whole damn thing was mine.  But in German.

On someone else’s website. I was seriously peeved.

But also confused. She’d politely messaged me to ask if she could translate my sales funnel checklist! (The content upgrade that I’d included in the post). Now c’mon – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that’s wrong!

So I took a calm and measure response and replied suggesting she write her own content and remove the stolen post – reminding her that all my content is copyright protected. And then I waited. I waited 24 hours to see if she would remove the offending post.

But nothing.

Long story short, we exchanged a few more slightly odd messages and eventually I told her she had 12 hours to remove the post or I’d serve a DMCA notice. Thankfully that worked.

The post has now gone and I hope she’s learnt her lesson.

I certainly have and if you also write good content online I’d urge you to take the following basic steps to protect yourself:

  • Ensure you have both Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions on your website.  If you haven’t yet done this first basic step then get on the case right now!  Here’s a plug-in for wordpress. It takes just minutes to auto generate some very standard T’s & C’s to get you started.
  • Put links to these pages into the footer of every page on your website.
  • Include the copyright notice on the bottom of each page of content.
  • Include the copyright notice in your Terms & Conditions (the plug-in does this for you).

Now I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure these steps are just the basics.

Once you’ve done the above get a brilliant lawyer to write up your own bespoke copyright protection notice and terms and conditions.

And if this does happen to you?

Be philosophical.

I actually found myself feeling more flattered than angered.

It made me appreciate the work and effort I’d put into my posts and feel proud that it was good enough to be stolen.  I came to the conclusion that the lady in question had not maliciously stolen my post – I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

But I’m aware that there are malicious people out there and I know the ending might not have been quite so easily resolved.

And if that happens to you, read this brilliant article on what to do next.

Then move on, forgive and put your energies into creating another great piece of content.

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