They’re out there…waiting…and, then they strike! It’s those website pirates striking again. I first wrote about them on this blog at Website Pirates. They had copied my whole website, including my photo and identifying information twice. Well, they struck again — two more times. And, I’ve just discovered a fifth crook!
In case you’ve noticed and wondered why my posts have been sparse, the reason is those d*%$ pirates have also stolen my time. This has happened four different times now, with four different hosting companies. I suspect the person, who appears to be from China, is responsible for all four raids.
I’m writing about it to share what to do if this happens to you. There are several different ways to determine if your site has been hijacked. The website www.copyscape.com allows you to type in the url for a page on your website and it will show you any sites that have the same page. Or you can type any unique text from your site into google and see what other sites have the same text.
Then you need to find out who the hosting company is and send that company a letter that meets specific requirements. This is called a DMCAA letter. Just google DMCA and you’ll find sample letters. The hosting company is required to remove the site if it is copied once they receive the DMCA letter.
Three of the hosting companies that I contacted worked with me, even telling me what info I had neglected to include in the DMCA letter. One, however, dreamhost.com (located in California) was a different story. My opinion is that they didn’t want to let go of the money they were receiving from the fraudulent company in China. They made it extremely difficult to get the site removed–even telling me that just because my copyright info was on the homepage of the site didn’t mean that I owned the copyright on the other pages (even though there is copyright information on each and every page of the site.) They also told me that I had to hire a copyright lawyer to get the site removed. Not a good hosting company and not a very ethical one either, in my opinion!
Hopefully, you will never be highjacked by these crooks. But if you are, there is something you can do about it as long as the hosting company is in the U.S. If it is in another country, most don’t respect any laws. And your primary action will need to be contacting google and the other search engines.