BG Pictures Photography | What To Do When Your Work Is Stolen
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What To Do When Your Work Is Stolen

02 Sep What To Do When Your Work Is Stolen

Given enough time and/or volume most of us will have material stolen from our websites and used somewhere else, usually on another website or Facebook. When that happens you first must determine the ultimate resolution that is applicable to the situation. This basically comes down to one of two things, either the offending party owes you money or you just want the material removed.

In the first case, you need to go through sometimes drawn out litigation. The PPA has staff on hand to help with this. Things get more complicated if the work has been published, and if you have not filed for copyright protection of the image(s). Simply holding the copyright, as you do by producing any work, does not give you full rights. But that’s another topic for another day…

In the 2nd and most common case, you simply want the stolen work to be removed and maybe tell the thief to…well…you get the idea. In this case I suggest two things. First, email the site/person with the following notice:

I am _____ owner of the work ____ you have stolen and are using on your site here ______. You are to immediately remove said work and any other you have stolen from my website. I have also filed a DMCA Takedown Notice.

Do not be nice, do not ask. This is a statement of notice not a conversation. If they reply with anything but ‘it’s gone’, ignore communications. If they really did remove it, count your blessings, you’re done – but keep an eye on them in the future. More likely, they will ignore you and this is where the real notice takes shape.

The first step is to find out who thier host is. This is usually very easy, using any number of whois sites or just your computer. (EDIT: a newer easier solution that works for most cases is to visit this site and enter the website you want info on: whois is a command and a term used to lookup what company is serving, or hosting, a website. For example as of the time I’m writing this, all my sites are on a host called AMS (used to be called canis hosting). You might be on GoDaddy, or 1and1, or bludomain, etc. you get this idea. An easy site to use is you just put in the offending site and it will give you it’s information.

What you are looking for is the section near the bottom called Name Servers. This tells you who is physically hosting the site. For example mine says

Every host will have a set of default mail addresses for just such an occasion. The one we are going to use is called abuse@. You send a DMCA Takedown Notice, which is a standard form, to abuse@ (whatever site you find in the name server). For example mine would be

Below you will find the form you need to customize and send in. You will then receive acknowledgement, sometimes automated, that it was received. They should take it seriously and if you use this form it will be processed very quickly. They will contact the owner of the site and if the content in question is not completely removed within 48 hours the site is brought offline by the host. The Takedown notice gets them working for you! Be sure to keep all correspondance and check back after the deadline they give to make sure it was taken care of. If not demand the site be taken offline immediately.



My name is INSERT NAME and I am the INSERT TITLE of INSERT COMPANY NAME.  A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.

An article was copied onto your servers without permission. The original ARTICLE/PHOTO, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:


The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:


This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.





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For Facebook matters it is usually very simple, use the Report button on any material and be sure to include everything they ask for, they have always been pretty quick to get stuff down for me.