Successfully Fighting Astrology Content Thieves

No spam(Astroblogging) One astrology blogger friend wrote in our blogging group:

“This spam blog is now *stealing my traffic.* It’s one thing to steal content (which I know is just plain wrong) but when I search for the above keywords, the spam blog is #2 in the results for *my blog post* and I’m not even on the front page! ”

Spam blogs, the brazen hussies of the internet, have no shame in printing every word of your post as their own. These nasty little things are the curse and bane of every internet writer, but more so for astrology bloggers since our niche is small and it takes ever so much work to get our posts noticed.

Google has some strong words about spam blogging:

Spam blogs cause various problems, beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines, making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people’s writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own. And if an automated system is creating spam posts at an extremely high rate, it can impact the speed and quality of the service for other, legitimate users.

Needless to say, Google does not approve of spam bloggers but their response, “report it and we’ll get to it when we can” hardly makes anyone feel better.

Fortunately there are steps you can take to stop the spam blogger from stealing your content.

1.) Look up the host provider for the spam blogger. You can do this by going to any domain name seller like Godaddy, type in the domain name of the spam blogger, and follow the link to the WHOIS database. Even if the spam blogger has paid to mask his or her name and contact information the domain nameserver will be listed. If need be do an internet search of the domain name server and it should take you right to the hosting provider.

2.) File a DMCA complaint with the host provider. Wikipedia explains:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

Below is the DMCA complaint I filed with the spam blogger’s host provider when I had this problem. Note that I have removed the offending spam bloggers URL, but this information needs to be filed with your complaint.

To whom it may concern:

As required under Sections 512(c)(3) and 512(d)(3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. §§512(c)(3) and 512(d)(3)), I hereby give notification of possible copyright infringement.

1. The original copyrighted material is listed at the URL(s) below:

The astrology of finance: Bank of America to go bankrupt?

http://astrologyexplored.net/home/?p=2876

Astrological Society of Connecticut Lecture: Neptune in Pisces–From Collective to Personal Meaning

http://astrologyexplored.net/home/?p=2784

Learning Traditional Astrology at the AFA

http://astrologyexplored.net/home/?p=2861

Astrology and Mythology: Eros–Beauty and the Beast

http://astrologyexplored.net/home/?p=2714

2. The following URL(s) are infringing upon this copyright:

The astrology of finance: Bank of America to go bankrupt?
spam blogger/the-astrology-of-finance-ban…
IP Address
Astrological Society of Connecticut Lecture: Neptune in Pisces–From Collective to Personal Meaning
spam blogger/astrological-society-of-conne…
IP Address
Learning Traditional Astrology at the AFA
spam blogger/learning-traditional-astrolo…
IP Address
Astrology and Mythology: Eros–Beauty and the Beast
spam blogger/astrology-and-mythology-eros…
IP Address

Each of these articles were reprinted in their entirety without my permission on the URL listed above.

Additional Information:

Theseworks are whole and original with me predating the publication on the website.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Please expeditiously remove or disable all access to the infringing material listed above. Should you require any further information regarding this matter, please contact me at the address, telephone number or email address indicated below:

Digitally Signed,
Beth Riggott-Turnage

October 16, 2011

Home Address
Town, Zip
Phone Number
starrynightastro@aol.com

This seems like a lot of work, but actually since the spammer used automation to post my work, the link was automatically sent to my Word Press comment section. I copy and pasted the spammer’s info into an Excel worksheet then matched the spammers URL’s to mine. From there it was another easy copy and past into the DMCA complaint.

Within 48 hours I received notification from the host provider that their client took down the work and there has been no problems since.

Disclaimer: This work is not intended to substitute for legal advice. As with anything, if you have legal questions you should consult a qualified professional.

Image courtesy of laurelrusswurm’s Creative Commons license as detailed by Flickr.

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Beth Turnage authors Astrology Explored as well as being publisher of Astrology Media Press. Beth is available for private consultations. You can contact Beth at starrynightastro@aol.com.
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One Response to Successfully Fighting Astrology Content Thieves

  1. Anthony says:

    Great information, Beth! I have some mixed feelings about some copyright issues, but I am strongly against things like this where a person or group exploits the original works of another person or group in order to make a lot of money. I remember how Pirate Bay did that with music and movies, trying to turn themselves into freedom of speech heroes in the process. Those guys made millions in advertising dollars on the backs of talented artists who received less because of it (albeit some artists do like the sharing of their works for greater exposure, but in such cases I think it should more from direct p2p and sanctioned by the artist, rather than basically selling other people’s work in bulk for advertising dollars). I’ll bookmark your info to keep it in case I need it someday. Thanks! :)