If you put your name out there, your words, your photographs, your drawing or paintings online, they will be taken by someone and used in a way you never intended.
How do you find out if someone is stealing your work, who they are, and put a stop to it?
There are a few simple steps.
If you are an author or a blogger, set up a Google Alert for your name and the titles of your books if you have any. If you are a blogger, set up Google Alerts for titles and keywords of your most popular posts. If you don’t know how to do this, click here.
If you are a photographer or artist, set up time at least once a week to search Google for your images. You can even set up Google Alerts for them, although if you post frequently on your own behalf, these posts will show up as well. If you are an author, set up an alert for your book covers. A common pirate theme is to take your book cover, retitle it, and sell it under a different name.
Once you have found the site your material is being used or sold illegally on, use whois.net to figure out who owns the site and how to contact them. Not all sites will be listed, but site owners have to pay extra to not be in the directory, so there will probably be some contact information available.
This is an official document asking the site to remove your material or compensate you for its use. If you need an example of one (that you can copy) you can find one by clicking here. If you do not receive a response (website owners are often counseled to remain silent) send the notice again. Set up your mail to receive a read receipt or use a program like Mailtrack that lets you know when your mail has been read.