I understand this question has been asked before in here (HERE) However, as some of you may know, technology advances quickly and it is very unstable, specially SEO. Today's practices can be completely ancient technology next month. And this question was asked back in 2010. So, with that being said,...

During a research, I realized that one of my blogs has been duplicated by 7 other websites. And I'm talking about 'verbatim' duplication. period by period, comma by comma.

I was going to write them all a letter but then it hit me, what if they dispute it? How can I prove that I wrote it?

Is there anything out there that I can do to see were their blogs written?

I was thinking about looking into the copywrite date in their footer but that can be changed.

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    Please do let us know how you solved this issue and the problems that you ran into - your practical experience with the problem would be enlightening for future readers. Apr 6, 2014 at 0:08

4 Answers 4


I'd start out by first checking if they have a "canonical" tag on their site pointing to yours; if they do, despite content duplication, Google will still rank yours as the first (and omit their duplication from index). It might still be infringement, but with drastically reduced damage.

Second, if your content dates >6 months ago, there is a very good chance archive.org have that on index, but not the copycats. Same goes for Google's cache, and other, third-party caches.

Note, that the direct perpetrators will most likely not bother disputing, or replying at all; so this won't be an issue at those levels. Do allow a 7-day grace period to "handle things in good faith", then start escalating it to the company of the author, hosting service, and finally overseeing organisations.

This should be evidence enough to prove to either the corps, or their hosting services the infringement. Note, that if this goes to court, things like file stamp date (or even mysql records) might count as evidence; do mind to take a backup now, should you choose to go down that road later.

  • All really great info. I appreciated, but mt question is actually how can I prove I wrote it first? Is there such a thing?
    Apr 5, 2014 at 22:35
  • I think the best way to prove I wrote it first is to discredit the copier. So, I pulled up his URL in WHOIS.NET and realized he claimed in his blog he posted the article A YEAR before his website even existed! I wish there was an actual time-stamp that showed the actual date the blog was posted
    Apr 5, 2014 at 23:02

Gather all the data you can about the copycats (whois records, copies of their websites) before you take any action, as they can take it down/modify the data after they find out you're taking action.

As for future problems, I would suggest using Google authorship in combination with the fetch as Google tool - fetch your article immediately after it is posted, Google will immediately index it and the timestamp will therefore be on your side.

Not to mention the fact that it will be immediately visible in the search results with your G+ picture and name on it.

  • The mention of DNS and related information, although not conclusive, is very useful to create a case and be able to take measures for them to take the content down.
    – PatomaS
    Apr 7, 2014 at 2:36

Gather as much evidence as you can and file a complaint with the DMCA. Here is the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

Google and Bing will take action based upon these complaints.

In the U.S. you can hire an attorney to write a cease and desist letter and send this to any site contact you can find including an e-mail. Also send copies of the letter to the legal departments (you can simply address it to Legal Department) of the hosting company and registrar with a letter asking them to disable the site. Give the site owner 10 days to rectify the situation and respond. Hosting companies and registrars will likely respond immediately. Make sure they have your attorneys contact info. Hiring an attorney for this should be rather affordable. Surprisingly affordable in fact.

If no action is taken, then file a Federal Law Suit. This is extremely serious business and you have absolutely nothing to worry about since you now hold all the cards. It is likely that they will settle well within the multiples of tens of thousands of dollars just to make the case go away. Your attorney may be happy to take this on a contingency basis which means no cost to you. Plus you get to file where you are making them hire a local attorney and travel for depositions and such. Any good attorney will make them travel just to make a point. Lots of fun.

If not in the U.S., you may have similar options. You just have to get pi$$ed.

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    :) the get pi$$3d part was enough for me to like this comment lol. I did send him an email and reported it to DMCA. I imagine his inner warrior will be in fight mode first before it gets in flight mode. So I don't expect any immediate retrieve. But my fear is not to throw the dogs at him, it's proving that the content belongs to me. I realized in the whois.net that he created his website on April 2013, yet he shows his post dated Mar 2012. almost a year before his site even existed
    Apr 6, 2014 at 1:49
  • But is that enough to show the content is not his? What if he he says it was a typo. Or what if he changes it? Or what if he says I copied it recently or whenever I posted mine. I have mine posted Dec 2013
    Apr 6, 2014 at 1:51
  • I am not sure about different blog and CMS systems and whether there is a time stamp for the entry. Archive.org may help. Any friends that can testify that they read the entry? Remember you are a witness too! What is important is that you make the best case you can, file the suit, and wait for them to either settle or defend. If they do not show up, you get a default judgement often for the max. You may have to get clever to find enough evidence to make a case. Some attorneys will advise you for free in a consultation. At lease send a letter from an attorney to scare them.
    – closetnoc
    Apr 6, 2014 at 2:32
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    I will think on that. You only have to prove your creation/post date. They have to defend which they will not be able to do. BTW- I used to do computer forensics on mainframes and various systems for attorneys way back a long time ago. Of course that whole world has changed. But one of my best tricks was combing through backups and recreating systems for a particular point in time. The cases I worked on never went to court. They always settled. I was a pit bull with a bone! It happened to be attached to somebody at the time... but oh well. That is the way it goes sometimes.
    – closetnoc
    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:06
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    I do security research. I study behaviors of hackers, spammers, content scrapers, and others. The mechanism on my site is not complete, but it works almost too well. I have more code to create and data elements to stitch together, but I do have this fairly well nailed down. Part of my research feeds other research. The idea is to know a bad guy, and what kind of bad guy as fast as possible and how to defend via attack trees and automation. I am semi-retired but could not put down the computer completely. I am a hillbilly geek!!
    – closetnoc
    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:35

If you want to prove that you published a content first, what you have to do is find the dates related to that information from your content and the copies.

These are ways to check that

  1. FTP upload log.
  2. First/oldest HTTP transaction involving that content.
  3. inurl: or site: searches on Google plus the use of "&as_qdr=y20" in the resulting URL.
  4. Looking for the content on the waybackmachine.
  5. Check the Last-Modified header of the page.
  6. Check the declared publishing date

Method 1 requires that you have a log of the file, which may be difficult unless your hosting company provides that and you keep them. You can always ask for it to the company and hope they have it.

Method 2 is not too difficult, you may have it or at least you may have some data on the hosting provided statistic services they provide, like awstats or similar, just look for a date close to the publishing date.

Method 3 requires that you do a search on Google like inurl:http://www.example.com/specific_page and once you have the result, add "&as_qdr=y20" to the end of the url and the result would include the publishing date if that happened on the last 20 years.

  • go to Google
  • in the search box type inurl:http://www.example.com/specific_page
  • in the resulting URL, add "&as_qdr=y20" so it will change from https://encrypted.google.com/#q=inurl:http:%2F%2Fwww.example.com%2Fspecific_page to https://encrypted.google.com/#q=inurl:http:%2F%2Fwww.example.com%2Fspecific_page&as_qdr=y20 press enter

Method 4 is very simple, go to the Way Back Machine, type the URL that you are looking for and check for the oldest version they have.

Method 5 may not be present or show today's date if the document is generated on the server, like with PHP, ASP, etc.

Method 6 is not conclusive since anybody can post anything, but if they published a date that is more recent than yours, you can always use that against the stealer. If they use a CMS, or blog, or any other system that uses dates on the URL, you can always check that URl, which is more conclusive than the published date on the content of the page. Even if they use pretty URLs, you can try to reach the content using date patterns for the most common systems.

You should use all of them, if possible, to be sure and to gather as much information as you can.

Method 3 also may not provide information about the date, that happens with some sites. I can't tell why some sites are shown with the publishing information and some don't, I have some ideas, but this is no place for those speculations.

Method 3 and 4 depend on the time the page was crawled which is not conclusive, but if it happened, then you have a proof.

  • Great ideas all of them. And I think it would work for many other people. Unfortunately, they didn't for me. I changed servers once since I published, and I don't use FTP or a CMS. Wayback machine has no records of either page (mine or his) ..sigh...this is a mess. I'm contemplating letting just emailing him and trying to scare him into taking it down but I won't pursue real action. But I will take preemptive measures from now on
    Apr 7, 2014 at 13:24

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