“Someone Stole My Content, and Even Monetized It. Google, What Do I Do?”

Believe it or not, even people at Google get their content stolen. One Googler gives advice to another.
SIA Team
August 20, 2021

NOTE: Before I dive into this, I should state that, this being a legal matter, I’m not an attorney or lawyer. As I understand, even Google, which can take a few steps in this process, cannot ultimately make any legal decisions. The advice given here is not legal, but rather, informational.

There’s a Google search- and webmaster-oriented podcast called Search Off the Record

The aim of this podcast is to give listeners an inside look at some of the inner workings of Google. On August 19th, 2021, episode #22 was released as a video on Google’s Search Central YouTube channel, titled Monetized websites, search experiments, and more!  

At around the 12:20 mark, Martin Split, who’s a developer at Google, complained that “Someone is monetizing my content, Aurora. Can you believe that?”  

What happened was, a number of years ago, Martin started a website. This, according to him, was around 2012 to 2014. 

Only now did he realize that he should probably try to monetize it. But somehow, when he went to, he wasn’t able: he was told that his content was seen elsewhere, and there was an implication that his content was monetized elsewhere.

Yet, he was the original content creator. 

That means that someone (or something, in the case of content-scraping software), took his site’s content–his content–published it elsewhere, and is making money from it. 

Aurora Morales asked him if he had taken any steps.

He hadn’t yet, and asked about getting a lawyer, which is a good consideration, as this, being a copyright issue, could go to court. 

And while an IP lawyer is probably a viable consideration this early in the process, I don’t think it’s the very first one. (I have written on this subject here.)

The First Steps You Should Consider Taking

Probably the first thing you can do is contact the owner of the offending website. Just basically say, “Hello. I found that you’ve published a piece of content of mine at this url…”

And then, continue to say that you’re the copyright owner, and you request removal.

That said, I should say that there are rules pertaining to what’s fair use of content, even copyrighted and IP content. 

If that doesn’t work, one of the first steps Aurora mentioned was a Digital Millennium Copyright Act claim or copyright infringement claim.

Watch this video to get a better idea of this process:

The page, g.co/legal, is where you can go to file your report. 

(Of course, Google can only remove content from it’s index, it can’t actually remove content from another website, as it can’t control the webmasters of other websites. If the offending pages have Google-controlled monetization, that monetization may be turned off.)

What Happens After?

Well, depending on which step you took, and how cooperative the other webmaster(s) are, the other webmasters can actually request a retraction of the takedown notice. (That is, if you submitted a report via Google, Google may inform the other webmaster. That’s what I’m referring to when I say they may request a retraction.)

Google may then relay this retraction to the original website owner (the original copyright holder), in which case the copyright holder will have 10 business days to show that they’ve taken legal action. 

And then, it goes to court. 

That’s an overview of what, according to Google, you can do if you find that someone has infringed on your copyright or IP. 

Source: Google Search Central YouTube channel