You worked hard to create an online asset that represents your brand in the best possible light and drives user engagement. You protect it with a copyright but, despite the protection, you discover that another company is using your material. What can you do?
According to Moz, there are four steps you can take to enforce a copyright. However, before you take them, the publication warns that you should make sure the company really is infringing on your copyright and not making “fair use” of your content. You should also note that the steps assume you intend to take advantage of the U.S.’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), which is only enforceable in the United States.
Contact the website owner
Many times, you can squash a copyright issue by simply reaching out to the offending website’s owner and asking him or her to remove the material. If the person is an innocent infringer, he or she will remove it right away, no questions asked. You may even receive a profuse apology. If the person intends to make big bucks off your protected material, however, you may have to move onto step two.
Send a take-down notice to the online service provider
If the website owner does not respond to your request, reach out to the online service provider, or hosting company, and ask it to disable the offending site. Most OSPs are willing to do so in exchange for immunity from lawsuits.
Send a take-down notice to the company that registers the URL
If sending a take-down notice to the OSP gets you nowhere (which may be the case if the OSP is located outside of the United States), try contacting the domain registration company. Many domain registrars are unwilling to tolerate copyright infringement and so typically respond quickly.
Send a take-down notice to the search engines
Finally, if none of the above steps work, you may have to send a take-down notice to the search engines. Each search engine has its own policies for dealing with copyright infringement, but ultimately the end result involves scrubbing the infringing site from the search results.