Copied Content Complaint Letter

Our Copied Content Complaint Letter template:

  • Brief and to the point
  • Drafted by a specialist UK solicitor
  • Guide includes practical self-help tips
  • Quick & easy to edit
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How Does It Work?

  • 1. Download
  • 2. Edit
  • 3. Print
  • 4. Sign

Have you ever been surfing the web and come upon your content on someone else’s website? If you have, then you are going to want to use the Copied Content Complaint Letter. This copyright infringement letter template is the ideal way to take care of the problem of someone using your material without permission. Besides being bad for your website business, you also run the risk of being hit for duplicate content by a search engine. You could be the one being penalised, when it is the other website that should be. You will want to send this Copied Content Complaint Letter to demand that the copied content is removed from the other website immediately.

When you have this Copied Content Complaint Letter on hand, it will save you from having to spend time and money on a solicitor in order to sort out a copyright violation.

Using our Copied Content Complaint Letter template

It could not be easier for you to use our letter template. It comes with a guide to filling it in and you will be able to produce your final letter in just a few minutes.

By using our letter template, you will be able to send a hard-hitting message to the person infringing your copyright. Generally this will be enough to get the result you want. If not, we also have a DMCA Take Down Notice template, which you can send as the next step to the infringer’s host/ISP and also to Google, other search engines and YouTube (if the infringing content is a YouTube hosted video).

Copyright laws

For copyright infringement to exist under UK law, the infringement has to be of a substantial part of the copyright work. So if one of your Webpages (or the article published there) is considered on its own to be one copyright work, then the infringer would have to have copied a substantial part of it for it to constitute copyright infringement. For example, if only a couple of paragraphs of a fairly lengthy article were copied in whole but nothing else was, this might not be considered to be a substantial part (NB the legal test is both qualitative and quantitative). However if the whole of a shorter article were copied, then this would clearly be a substantial part, even though the words copied might be fewer than, or the same number as, the couple of paragraphs copied from the long article in the previous example.

It is a good idea on your website to make it clear that you are claiming copyright in the contents of your website. One way of doing this is by adding the copyright symbol, i.e. ©, and the business’s or individual’s name and the year to the footer at the bottom of every page of your site. In the UK you do not need to register copyright (indeed you cannot register it here).

In your terms of use of your website, you can also make it clear that you claim copyright ownership in the whole of the contents of your website and you can set out what viewers can and cannot do with your content. If you need a set of terms of use of your website to publish on your website, then Legalo has such a template for you.

Dealing with copyright infringement

Because information on the Internet is so accessible, it will be up to you to watch out for copied content, and to search for it on a regular basis. Since outsourcing content for website pages is quite common, it is possible that the owner of the infringing website may not even realise that the content a third party has produced for them has been copied from your site. Once they receive your Copied Content Complaint Letter, most website operators are willing to remove it from their website – they know that the search engines are watching and they don’t want to jeopardise their ratings by having it forcibly removed after you send a DMCA complaint letter (for which we also have a template) to their ISP or to Google.

Copied content comes under the law of copyright, ultimately giving you a remedy through the courts if the infringing website is not altered following your sending the letter. When you send this letter you have legal proof that you notified the website that it was using copied content and asked them to make amends. If they refuse to remove it or simply ignore you, you then have something to take to the court. However a much quicker and cheaper alternative is to send a DMCA complaint letter to the offender’s ISP and to Google to ask them to take down the duplicate content.

Gather the evidence of the breach at this stage, by taking screenshots of the offending pages that clearly show your text and the offending website’s address. Save them in case they are altered or disappear later, in case you need them if you need to enforce the matter, e.g. by giving further evidence to the court, Google or an ISP.

What if they don’t comply after sending this letter?

Give them a few days to react. If they dispute it or ignore you, then the best next step is to send a DMCA complaint letter to their ISP and to Google and other search engines (or YouTube if the infringing article is a YouTube-hosted video). If you need a DMCA complaint letter, Legalo has such a template available. In nearly all cases this letter and the DMCA letter, if required, will get you the result you need.

Taking anyone to court is a very slow and fairly expensive process in the UK, so is best used as a last resort if the DMCA letter does not get the result.

Clauses in this Copied Content Complaint Letter

The following text is an excerpt from our guide to this template:

The idea is that this letter will be reproduced on your letterhead notepaper (or the equivalent with all your business’s usual details). Therefore delete the heading that refers to it being on your letterhead notepaper.

Address it to the infringer by inserting the name and address of the infringer (or the registered office address if it is a limited company) where indicated. If you are unsure who the owner of the infringing web-page is, having had a hunt around their site for the details of who runs it, you can often get their details from a WHOIS search relevant to their domain name.

Where it says “Our original content URL …”, at the end fill in the URL of your infringed Web-page. Where it says “Your duplicate content URL …”, at the end fill in the URL of the infringing Web-page.

In the next paragraph, if the infringing Web-page only partly replicates your Web-page content, then you may want to keep the second phrase in square brackets. If they have added wording of their own to your article then keep the first phrase that is in square brackets. If it is a full duplicate of your Web-page with no other wording added of their own, then delete the two phrases in square brackets.

We have given a suggested deadline of 48 hours to take down the offending wording. You can extend this deadline if you wish, but should not shorten it, as you ought to give them a reasonable timescale in which to fix the problem.

The next paragraph sets out the consequences of their failing to comply – that you will ask Google or YouTube (if applicable – delete which one does not apply) and their Internet Service Provider (ISP) forcibly to remove the offending text.

The last paragraph says you might still sue them if you have incurred a loss. This and the previous paragraph are designed to show them there is a real threat of consequences if they fail to remedy their breach of your copyright quickly.