Today, it is almost a given that STUFF you create will easily be copied and used by other people via the internet. And the BETTER your STUFF is, the MORE LIKELY it is to be copied. This applies to music, photographs, lyrics, poetry, trademarks and all varieties of creative stuff.
If you discover that your stuff is being used by someone else on their website, MySpace page or YouTube posting, it’s a good idea to contact the poacher and let them know that it’s YOUR STUFF they are using and let them know how you want them to treat your stuff. The treatment you request can range from:
- asking them to stop using your stuff and remove it from their site,
- asking for credit for your stuff,
- letting them how they can buy your stuff (if it’s for sale.)
The best case scenario is that you know the person using your stuff and can easily reach out to them to work out how and if you want your stuff used by them. Most of the time however, you may not know the person… BUT don’t rush to attack them too violently… because, these poachers could become your NEWEST and BIGGEST fans. For example, my mom who recently published a children’s storybook, is almost always able to make a sale to internet poachers who are using her stuff.
The worst case scenario is that the poacher ignores your attempts to contact them and continues using your stuff. If this happens, look through the ‘Terms of Service’ for the host website and follow the instructions it gives for notifying them of illegal use of copyrighted or trademarked property. To find the relevant Terms of Service, run an internet search on the hosting website’s Terms of Service. (for example: ‘MySpace Terms of Service’)
Be diligent and keep tabs on how and who is using your stuff!!