Copyright Claim For Google Search

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A competitor has raised a copyright claim against one of my articles that had the same structure and had one heading and a line that was similar. The article I wrote outranked his article and he got pissed. He proceeded to raise a claim with Google.

I have since edited the article to remove all offending parts and even the structural similarity.

What could be the consequences of this claim? What is the usual response of Google towards something like this? Is google going to consider the fact that he could be vindictive because his website got outranked.

This is my first experience with something like this, so I am not sure how worried I should be about this.
 
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I don't know who published what first, but if it was you, send archive.org links back and counter claim against them. Either way, check the historic versions to see if they might have in fact copied you. Otherwise I would simply say you are following Google best practices as to article structure and that all content about a topic is going to be somewhat similar. Seems like this person is just trying to be an annoyance. Keep us updated how you get on (never experienced this myself).
 
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I don't know who published what first, but if it was you, send archive.org links back and counter claim against them. Either way, check the historic versions to see if they might have in fact copied you. Otherwise I would simply say you are following Google best practices as to article structure and that all content about a topic is going to be somewhat similar. Seems like this person is just trying to be an annoyance. Keep us updated how you get on (never experienced this myself).
He published first but i guess the writer didn’t do his job properly and the editor let it slide without cross checking. That could have been because the plagiarism report showed only like 2 legit hits from this site.

Everyone in the industry copies structure and what not.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for your response.
 

Ryuzaki

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You've changed the article. It's no longer offending. If Google chooses to continue ranking it on account of the algorithm seeing it fit to rank, the other guy can go cry into his pillow. Thankfully the typical negative SEO tactics don't hurt any more and possibly end up helping your site since some amount of those spam links will fly under the radar. Sounds like you've got nothing to worry about, in my opinion.
 
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You've changed the article. It's no longer offending. If Google chooses to continue ranking it on account of the algorithm seeing it fit to rank, the other guy can go cry into his pillow. Thankfully the typical negative SEO tactics don't hurt any more and possibly end up helping your site since some amount of those spam links will fly under the radar. Sounds like you've got nothing to worry about, in my opinion.

Thanks @Ryuzaki

That gives me a lot of peace of mind. Time to take his keywords.
 
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Update
————

Since my last reply on this thread, I have created content targeting all of his keywords. This time, I took the pain to ensure that there is no similarity whatsoever apart from his keywords. I am sure he was terrified because the keywords I targeted were his most traffic generating ones.

Today I woke up to a cease and desist letter written by himself (as opposed to a lawyer) giving me 30 days to take down the content or face legal consequences which would include damages and even his costs of litigation.

I am not located in his jurisdiction, so I doubt anything big will come out of it.

What is the appropriate response to such a letter?

I took the pain to compare each article again to ensure that he has no leg to stand on. Should I consult a lawyer to see if there is any merit in his claim? or do I send a response myself clearly rejecting his claim that there has been an infringement.

Would plagiarism extend to keyword ideas or covering the same products? If that is the definition, then every damn site in my niche is an offender.

My best guess is that this dude is crapping his pants because he is scared I will outrank all this top articles.
 
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I am sorry, but what kind of content are we talking about here? Is this like "Can dogs eat cookies" where your structure copies his? Or, are you talking about a product or service that he offers?

He is just trying his luck. I'm sure his argument has no legs to stand on in any court of law. IANAL of course.
 
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What is the appropriate response to such a letter?
"You nervous, bro?"

Would plagiarism extend to keyword ideas or covering the same products? If that is the definition, then every damn site in my niche is an offender.
No way. Websites rank for the same keywords even when they don't target them. How could occurrences so random fall under the category of plagiarism?
 
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I am sorry, but what kind of content are we talking about here? Is this like "Can dogs eat cookies" where your structure copies his? Or, are you talking about a product or service that he offers?
Former

He is just trying his luck. I'm sure his argument has no legs to stand on in any court of law. IANAL of course.
Yup. Getting a lawyer take a look at it regardless. Will keep you posted.

No way. Websites rank for the same keywords even when they don't target them. How could occurrences so random fall under the category of plagiarism?
Exactly. The dumbass sent a cease and desist letter with the list of offending articles but didn’t care to specify the offending elements. Probably because there’s none.
 

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Today I woke up to a cease and desist letter written by himself (as opposed to a lawyer) giving me 30 days to take down the content or face legal consequences which would include damages and even his costs of litigation.

First you never reply. Some random person sending you a letter doesn't mean shit. I can send you a letter today about me not liking your shirt, what's the difference? Even when lawyers write them up it's a scare tactic. They want you to cave cause you might be an amateur to the legal system. Serious people send lawsuits, not threatening letter, especially if it's not from an actual lawyer.

Different jurisdictions? They are fucked.

My question is how did the letter arrive to you? If by certified mail, then you need to talk to an attorney. If by fucking email, delete. And laugh all the way to the bank.

No serious person sends threats through email or text messages, or even phone calls.

Regardless of what I say, if he's got you spooked talk to a lawyer, and they'll charge you to hear the same advice. But it's more reassuring from them.

This should be fun.
 

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What is the appropriate response to such a letter?
Zero response. You don't acknowledge you received it. It's a phishing scam, essentially. "Is this guy dumb enough to respond, because if he is then he's dumb enough to be scared. And if he's scared I can extract money out of him for doing something I, myself, did to someone else."

Would plagiarism extend to keyword ideas or covering the same products?
No. There's legal definitions to all of this stuff. What can be protected when gathering publicly available data is the organization of that data, but not the data itself, which that person doesn't own.

An example is a database of every car and model and year of release ever made. That data is publicly available and not protected. What is protected is the fact that I collected it and organized it in a specific, useful way. The data isn't mine, but the method of organizing it is.
 
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Yup. I have decided to ignore his email altogether and continue to cut his site's legs off from under. The continuous annoyance from his end is only making me want to competitively fuck him.

Thanks for all the input guys. I really appreciate it.
 
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Okay so I ignored the takedown notice and this guy has no filed a dmca claim with the host.

The host has asked me to take down all the articles without any proof of actual plagiarism.

The reports dont indicate any plagiarism.

I asked them how they can pre-emptively ask me to remove the articles without proving the fact of the matter.

They are saying if anyone decides to file a dmca claim on the entire website, then the entire website will need to be taken down until the suit is decided.

What kind of shit is that?
 

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That's what happens when you use bullshit hosting companies. What's the hosting company so we know to avoid them.
 
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Are you going to move the website to a new hosting provider? Or, are you going to try and navigate your way through the situation with WPX?
 

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Are there actually reputable hosts that will just flat out ignore a DMCA?

Before we get our pitchforks out for WPX, let's familiarize ourselves with the DMCA process a bit more, maybe they are acting the same way all of our favorite hosts would. Maybe Knownhost, Linode, DigitalOcean, SiteGround, whatever, would have all handled this the same?

By design, in the DMCA process it's not up to the host to determine the veracity of the claim, it's up to you to say "this is bs" and counter-claim. In the big picture, we probably don't want hosts deciding when a DMCA is legitimate and when it's not, for a variety of reasons.

Then, the person making the claim either backs down because they're full of shit, or they have to sue you and risk all sorts of un-chill consequences for filing a false DMCA claim. They're committing perjury and you're in the "real deal legal shit" zone now.

The part that sucks, as OP is discovering, is that you have to take down the content before you can counter-claim their bitchass. If your host is in the USA, and even hosts in many other countries, they'll comply with the DMCA. Unless you find some sort of offshore host that'll ignore DMCA requests. But using that for a legitimate content site would be like trying to open a Gucci store on skidrow.

The DMCA process puts a lot of weight on the person making the claim, even thought it only takes a few minutes to file. It's srs biz to file a false DMCA so most people aren't dumb enough to do, and when someone is dumb enough to do it, your counter claim should be enough to get them to fuck off.

Usually, it goes like this..

"Hey, you stole my content." (DMCA'd)
"No, I didn't." (Counter'd)
"My bad, laters." (Rekt) or
"Yeah, you did." (Sued)


If you didn't copy their content, it would be wild for them to actually escalate a false DMCA claim. Like, you're dealing with a maniac in that case.

If there's any possible way that you did infringe on their content, like maybe you hired a writer who got a little lazy, that changes things and that's some talk to a lawyer kinda stuff. If you do the counter on your own, the guy who DMCA'd you will have your name, address, and phone number (just fyi).

Here's some additional info from Linode about how they handle DMCA takedowns that they receive. Has WPX acted any differently than this?

Here's another resource that everyone whose ever dealt with this or looked into it before has already seen.

Good luck OP, I'm rooting for ya. This type of stuff really sucks and can be discouraging. Chances are you'll counter them, they'll have 2 weeks to sue you, they won't, you'll get your content back up and it'll be a small bump in the road. Assuming that they don't actually have a legitimate DMCA claim, of course.