Issues of plagiarism or copyright infringement can be difficult to resolve; especially when the offending party is located outside of the United States. In most of these situations, a copyright holder will file a DMCA Takedown Notice with the hosting company of the website where the stolen content is displayed. After investigating the claim, the hosting provider will generally remove the stolen or plagiarized content from their platform.
While it’s true that DMCA is a United States copyright law, most hosting companies around the world tend to follow similar guidelines and procedures in order to remove content that infringes on another’s copyright. But just because foreign entities may choose to mirror US laws, it is not guaranteed that they provide a similar takedown procedure. And we have heard of cases where foreign hosting companies have been unresponsive to takedown complaints that have been filed which can leave copyright holders feeling like their hands are tied or that the only option they have left is costly litigation.
Using Search Engines as a Powerful Takedown Tool
In combatting plagiarism and infringement, copyright holders can take some element of control even when it takes place outside of the United States by contacting major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing directly to have the URL of the stolen content delisted from their platforms. Major search engines such as these account for the majority of traffic to websites—including to those in foreign nations. And, since most large search engines like Google and Yahoo are US-based companies, they are bound by United States Copyright law and will accept and act on DCMA notices that are filed to them.
Copyright Infringers Run the Risk of Being Delisted
If a search engine determines that a person’s copyright has indeed been infringed upon, they will then take steps to delist the URL of the page where the stolen material is found. In extreme situations, the entire website may be banned by the search engine altogether. This is obviously catastrophic for a website owner, as the site would essentially become invisible to users on the web.
The threat of losing web traffic or becoming delisted can be enough of a deterrent to stop the offender and the damage before litigation may ultimately be needed.
Still Struggling to Have Stolen Content Removed? Get Help!
While it’s always best if the copyright holder is able to work out issues of plagiarism or theft directly with the offending party, there are plenty of times when these attempts are only partly successful, or not successful at all. In that case, it may be necessary to talk to an attorney to discuss your options regarding litigation. If you need guidance or help getting started, please feel free to contact our copyright attorneys at 888-666-0062 to schedule an appointment.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.