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How to take down copycats with the DMCA

You spend hours creating your own content, you publish it on your site and someone copies it. Are you flattered? Perhaps. Until it starts to outrank you and steal your traffic.

how to take down copycats with the dmca

Why should someone else get the credit for your hard work? Google states on the Webmaster support that sometimes, they get it wrong.

In rare situations, our algorithm may select a URL from an external site that is hosting your content without your permission. If you believe that another site is duplicating your content in violation of copyright law, you may contact the site’s host to request removal. In addition, you can request that Google remove the infringing page from our search results by filing a request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

So, how do we make a complaint?

The first point of call is to contact the webmaster of the offending site and ask them to remove the page.

This doesn’t always work; if your content is driving traffic, why would they take the time to remove the page?

I’ve known webmasters who sincerely believe they’re doing nothing wrong.

If this tactic doesn’t work, you need to get in touch with Google.

Google will not remove the site but they will de-index the pages from the search engine results pages. If the stolen content outranks the original, this is enough to regain the position your content deserves.

“It’s Google’s policy to respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. Our response to these notices may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers. If we take action in response to a notice, we may try to notify the alleged infringer or the operator of the affected site.”

DMCA Take Downs (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

The act you need to know about is the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).

You will need the following information to hand:

  • Name
  • Company Name
  • Copyright holder you represent
  • Email Address
  • Country Region

Within the DMCA Dashboard you will then need to identify the original and offending content. You’ll find it here:

Be as specific as you can.


You will then need to sign a sworn statement. The information you provide is legally binding. Make sure the complaint is filled in correctly as incomplete forms may delay the issue of a takedown notice.

What will happen?

Google will investigate the complaint. If a copyright infringement is found, the webmaster of the offending site will receive a message in their Search Console requesting the removal of the content. The webmaster of the offending site will be able to make a counter claim.

You will be able to see the progress of any DMCA complaints within the dashboard.

In my experience, it usually takes two weeks for a URL to be approved or rejected. For more complex cases this processing period is longer.

When the site URL is approved, it will be removed from the search engine results pages. A DMCA takedown notice will placed below the organic results.


There will also be a notice created on the Chilling Effects site.

So now you know.