Keeping Your Precious Instructables Out of Pirates Hands

851

23

12

Introduction: Keeping Your Precious Instructables Out of Pirates Hands

As you know, copyright infringement is a theft of intellectual property. And unfortunately, getting websites to delete works stolen from us is not always easy.

For about a year and a half I have been publishing my instructables. I really like to create and come up with something new, but it's not always easy. In addition, the creation of step-by-step pictures, the description in English (English is not my native language and I learn it myself) greatly slows down the creative process and takes a lot of time. Since I have not much free time during the day, I basically created my instructables at night, of course, to the detriment of my health and the quality of photos (my little Nikon Coolpix S3000 cannot boast of high quality images in low light). And of course, participation in the contests is always exciting. That is, behind my instructables there is not only brainstorming, but also a lot of time, effort, perseverance and excitement. Now imagine my indignation when one day I accidentally discovered that all this time on the Internet, various websites were publishing copies of my instructables, violating my copyright. Believe me, it was simply outrageous under the name of a person unknown to me to see my photos and my text translated into another language and beginning with the words “I had a pair of old jeans lying around: I decided to sew a Japanese double-sided bag out of them” or “I recently made a huge blanket for the sofa with a world map"! And I started to fight.

This is the first time I encountered such a situation. I confess, there were moments when I found myself at a dead end and fell into apathy, faced with the websites ignoring my complaints. But one thought kept me from giving up: since I was able to create instructables that won in contests, then I must find a way to protect them. Didn't all these instructables teach us to always look for a solution to a problem? And do not think that since we live in a different country where the infringement website is located, then it makes no sense to do anything at all. All instructables on https://www.instructables.com are published under international licenses, the licenses are always indicated in the upper left corner of each published instructable. All rights of instructables belong only to the authors who published them. You, as author, have the right to protect your copyright regardless of where you live.

Some of my stats:

  • in total, I found 31 publications that violate my copyright (I found 1 just today, but I will not have problem with its removal, since I have already dealt with that website),
  • I have succeeded in deleting 27 publications,
  • copyright infringement fixed (attribution added) 1,
  • I am having difficulty deleting 2 publications.

If we take into account the fact that none of my friends believed in the success of my fight (sometimes I myself did not believe that I would succeed), then I consider my experience quite successful. Therefore, I urge you all to defend your instructables and fight online theft.

Most likely, the sites with which I dealt, published copies of not only my instructables. Therefore, I am sure that this instructable will be useful to many authors, especially if your works have good quality photos. The truth is, the better the quality of the photos your instructables have, the more likely they are to be stolen.

Supplies:

You will need:

Internet access,

time,

persistence.

Step 1: Primary Search

Most likely your instructables have been translated into different languages. Therefore, it is best to start your search on the image of your instructable.

Prepare the key photos of your instructable (file or URL).

Use Google image search in your browser:

  • open new tab;
  • click on `Images` (see photo);
  • сlick on the camera icon (see photo);
  • paste image URL or upload an image; if the photos are on your computer, then click on `Upload an image`, choose the file of your photo;
  • wait for the upload of the file (see photo).

If you use Google Chrome browser, then you can just open your image on instructable.com, right click and select from the list `Search Google for image`.

Look carefully at the names of all sites that use your photo. If this is not instructables.com, and not your website, then follow the link (don't forget to check that your antivirus is enabled).

Google a few photos from each of your instructable. For example, not only projects that won contests were stolen from me. Also, they did not always use the cover image I selected.

Step 2: Inspection

Check which license you used when publishing your instructable - the license is indicated in the upper left corner of your instructable or in the edit column (see photo).

Check if the license is respected by the found site. Check if the website added attribution. You can read about the licenses here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_li...

If the website has published your instructable in another language, then use a translator. In the Google Chrome browser, you can easily translate the entire webpage (see photos). Also you can find sites on the Internet for translating webpages.

I decided to hide links to websites that published my works with copyright infringement, but have already deleted these publications.

Step 3: Detailed Search

Oftentimes, you cannot use Google to detect all of the websites that have stolen your instructables. In my case, Google showed me not the source of the stolen content distribution, but the sites that repost this stolen content. Therefore, fix the link to the webpage found in Google, and then look for a link to another website in this webpage. The source of information (the link) you can find at the beginning or at the end of the article. Follow the link to another website and also search the new link. Of course all time check if your license is respected. Look again to see if this article has a link to another website. Your goal is to find all websites that published the content stolen from you. Also, in this way you will find the source of distribution of content that infringes your copyright. In my case, the source was not displayed in google and was located in the domain zone of another country.

Also make a search using the new name given to your instructable (in another language). Better to look at the found pictures - this way you will quickly recognize the pictures of your instructable.

Step 4: Search for the Contact Information of the Infringing Website

You need to find a way to contact the website and send a complaint. Finding contacts of websites can be very difficult at times. Study the webpage carefully (scroll down).

Look for:

  • a special button for complaints (usually located after the article or at the very bottom of the website) or/and
  • email address (usually found at the bottom of the website).
  • Sometimes websites don't leave any contacts. Then you can try emailing to abuse@<add the name of the website>.

  • You can also find the page of this website on social networks (in facebook.com, for example) and write a message there with a complaint (this way I managed to delete three posts).


Step 5: Complaint: Infringement Website

If the website does not have a special form, then write a complaint in this way:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am the author of the documenthttps://www.instructables.com/Water-Lily-Planter-F... <add link of your instructable>, published under <insert your license code, like CC BY-NC-SA>.The selected license is international and is indicated in the upper left corner of my document.

The website <add the name of the website> has published the following copy/copiesof my work, translated into <write language>, and using my pictures, without attributing my authorship and in violation of my copyright protected by law <list the copyright infringements>, as visible on this webpage <add link to the infringing webpage>.

I ask you to either remove the content illegally posted byor have them remove it. <write how you want the website to act>

Regards,
<your name>

If you are sending a complaint to a foreign website, then it is better to add to the English version of the copy in foreign language.

Take a screenshot of your published instructable and a screenshot of the infringing webpage. Attach these screenshots.
To confirm your authorship, you can attach a screenshot from your settings page on instructables.com where your email address is specified, and send a email with complaint from the specified email address. But it is better to send this information already to the host server, if they ask you to confirm your authorship (see step 7).

In my case, only two sites fully complied with my requests, and another site has deleted only two posts out of nine.

If infringement websites do not respond to your complaints, then you can fix this problem by using their host servers (see next step).

Step 6: Search Host Server

You have to find host servers of the infringement websites. Use the WHOIS search engine for this. There are many websites on the internet that can help you find the host of the websites.

Enter the website address and click search. Then see what the line `nameservers` or `nserver` or `host` or `hosting provider` says. But there is one trick. Some websites use intermediaries, such as Cloudflare (for example, as here https://hostingchecker.com/ for the websitehttp://ft.51feibao.com/. Cloudflare is indicated as host server, but Cloudflare is a network provider offering a reverse proxy, pass-through security service, they are not a hosting provider. This is why do a search on different WHOIS search websites. I used cutestat.com: just write before this the address of the website you are interested in, for example https://51feibao.com.cutestat.com/. Scroll down until you see who is the `Host`. If you find only an intermediary, fill out the form on their website or email them a complaint.

Step 7: Complaint: Host Server

Look at the name of the host server and find its contacts email on the Internet. Usually host servers have their own websites where they advertise their services.

Fill out the form on their website or write and send complain to email of host server. You can try emailing to abuse@<website of the host server>.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Your company hosts the websitethat infringes my copyright.

I am the author of the document https://www.instructables.com/Water-Lily-Planter-... <add link of your instructable>, published under<insert your license code, like CC BY-NC-SA>. The selected license is international and is indicated in the upper left corner of my document.

The websitehas published the following copy/copies of my work, translated into <write language>, and using my pictures, without attributing my authorship and in violation of my copyright protected by law <list the copyright infringements>, as visible on this webpage <add link to the infringing web page>.

I ask you to either remove the content illegally posted by <insert the name of the website>or have them remove it. <write how you want the site to act>

Regards,
<your name>

You may be asked to confirm that you are the author (in my case, only one host server requested this).

As you may have guessed, I had problems with the site 51feibao.com (http://ft.51feibao.com/article.php?act=view&id=524... and http://www.51feibao.com/news-view-3513.html). I have tried repeatedly to notify this website about copyright infringement via hichina.com, Cloudflare, Alibaba.com, but so far to no avail. But I managed to solve the problem with 28 posts. In my opinion, this is not a bad result.

Step 8: Google Copyright Removal

If the host server does not respond too, then you can at least file a complaint about the removal of infringement content in the Google Web Search: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/legal-remo...

By saving the link, you can check the status of your complaint at Removal Dashboard. It happened to me that the infringement website removed the webpage before google started considering my complaint (one case), but all my other complaints were approved.

Step 9: Adding Watermarks (Attribution)

Now I advise you to add attribution to your photos yourself. You can do this online (for example here https://watermarkly.com/).

Anything Goes Contest

Participated in the
Anything Goes Contest

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Pi Day Speed Challenge

      Pi Day Speed Challenge
    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Microcontroller Contest

      Microcontroller Contest

    12 Comments

    0
    electronstogo
    electronstogo

    18 days ago

    Great post.
    I like the idea with the watermark. It produces much work, if sb. wants to copy the picture. And I think the picture is the most important thing for advertising.

    Its similar like the rule to prevent hacking. You can never secure a system 100%. But you can make a hack as cumbersome as possible. That nobody is interested to try it. :)

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 18 days ago

    Of course they won't steal instructables without photos.

    Frankly, I hope that those who regularly steal my instructables will see this post, and they will understand that I will always seek to remove the content stolen from me. Sometimes I can be very stubborn :)

    By the way, I communicated with the German host server. I should note that they removed everything without any questions.

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    23 days ago

    Wow thanks a lot for posting this! That would never even cross my mind! People are the worst :/
    I'll try to see if the same happened to me and follow your steps:)
    Thanks!

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 23 days ago

    You are welcome! :) I am glad when my instructables are useful to someone!

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    Reply 22 days ago

    I just found out it happened to me too :(
    Look, this is the one I made:
    https://www.instructables.com/Ruler-to-Caliper-01m...
    This is their copy...
    https://buzzon.live/52291-caliper-from-the-range-l...
    they didn't even bother changing the file names.....
    and this is just the first instructable I searched for... after searching some more, I found a bunch of my instructables were stolen!! I have just one tip - if you're using chrome you can simply right-click an image to google-search it.

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 22 days ago

    I did not notice that we can make google image search by opening the image on instructables.com and clicking on the right button :) Thank you!
    If you find any other way to combat the theft of our instructions, please let me know!

    1
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 22 days ago

    I see that infringement website uses Cloudflare... If the website ignores your message, then fill out the form at least from Cloudflare. They will send you an email with the contact details of the real host server
    https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse/form

    0
    john pedersen
    john pedersen

    22 days ago

    Thank you DianaHM, I just used your Instructable to find that one of my pictures from my, https://www.instructables.com/BBQ-Charcoal-Starter/ has been used to advertise a product in a foreign country. They had contact info, so I wrote them a message asking for attribution or take the picture down. I voted for your Instructable and I hope that you win.

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 22 days ago

    Thank you! I will be very glad if you succeed!

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    24 days ago

    Thank you for sharing so much great information! I feel like a lot of people run into this situation and are not sure how to handle it :)

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    Reply 24 days ago

    I hope the authors will use my instructable. I think that if we all begin to react when stealing our instructables, then this theft will decrease at least a little. :)

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    Reply 24 days ago

    For sure. I know I'm guilty of just giving up because I've gotten so frustrated trying to message and being ignored, but I'd love to get them to stop and get these sites taken down.