What to do when your content is used without permission

Sometimes you find out that someone has reproduced your work without permission. There are scales of bad-ness here, ranging from plagiarism through to lack of attribution.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

What should you do when you find out?

The answer depends on a few things – if you are a world famous published author and public speaker, you may respond differently from if you are a blogger or a business or a startup. The picture above is Rachel Marie Martin – a Mommy Blogger at findingjoy.net who has suffered multiple abuses of her intellectual property.

Aim for a Win-Win outcome

My suggestion is for you to ring them up and ask to speak to the person who published and instead of complaining, tell them you know they’re using your intellectual property without permission – and ask for something in return.

This should be of value to your and your business. This could be a booking from them to use you as a trainer in exchange for using your articles. Or get them to run an advert for your services free in the next 3 months newsletters. Or an agreement to use more of your articles with express sales offers.

Complaining can work

But in my experience it puts peoples backs up and you are less likely to come out of it smelling of roses.

My preferred tactic is to let them know you’ve found out and then ask for a favour in return – which they should feel obliged to agree to doing.

How to find who’s using your material

The best way is to set up Google Alerts for your name, your brand name and other search strings which can easily trace back to you. I am lucky that AFAIK I’m the only Rebecca Caroe in the world (yay) so easy to find. Be creative – you can also use Google Search Console to find incoming links to your site and linkbacks in blog comments usually get tracked too.

Good luck… and of course a last resort is the Cease and Desist letter (but avoid getting legal if you can).

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