So it has been brought to your attention that someone is copying your blog. The nerve! The audacity! The balls! How dare their lazy asses plagiarize your hard work. You immediately want to stop this. Your next steps will depend on a few things but first lets talk about copyright protection. Then we will talk about ways to skin a copycat.
What is a copyright?
A copyright is a legal set of rights that is designed to protect the things that people (e.g. authors, artists, musicians, programmers) create. It applies to all original works created under the jurisdiction of U.S. law. The work has to be a work of authorship and it must exist in a tangible medium of expression.
Works of “authorship” under copyright law include: Literary works, Musical works, Dramatic works, Pantomimes and choreographic works, Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, Motion pictures and other audiovisual works, Sound recordings, and Architectural works.
Yes, your blog is a work of authorship. Part one, check.
A “tangible medium of expression” means that the work has to be “fixed” to either an object, material thing, or audio version. You wrote your blog and posted it on the internet. Part two, check.
Once you post your blog to the internet you automatically have copyright protection. A work does not need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to be protected by copyright – once an original work exists in a fixed, tangible state the creator is entitled to copyright protection.
So your blog is copyrighted but did the copycat infringe on your rights?
Infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights of the author. Meaning, the work had to be copied and it is
substantially similar so that the copying amounts to an unlawful appropriation from the standpoint of the average member of the intended audience of the copyright work.
Think of Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, does it remind you of Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye?
Would an average internet surfer think the two blog posts were the same?
If so, we have a copyright-infringing copycat and we don’t like them almost as much as we don’t like snitches.
What is your next step? Maybe you want to resolve things amicably. You can do that by sending them a Cease and Desist Letter. I’ve written one specifically for this situation because I am a blogger myself. You want to fill out the form and send it in a trackable manner to every address related to the blog. You don’t need an attorney to do it for you.
If you got no response and the copycat has not removed the copied content you can then contact an attorney to precede litigation next steps. FYI litigation is expensive before you do this weight out the money you think you may be missing out on as well as the money you make from the blog.
Also, before you sue for copyright infringement you have to have a registered copyright . Although you have protections you cannot sue for copyright infringement unless you have registered the copyright with the Feds. You can do that here.
I hope this helps put an end to the foolishness.
Always secure the bag,