How to Remove a Pirate Site from a Google Search

www removing a pirate site from searchI recently wrote a post instructing how and where to send a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice when you find your work has been pirated. My experience has been that this is usually all that’s needed to ensure the offending site removes your content.

Usually, but not always. Some sites, particularly sites based in countries that don’t recognize U.S. Copyright law, may refuse to respond, or in some cases (as once happened with me), may respond to inform you that they don’t have to obey no stinkin’ law.

Well, then.

If this happens to you, don’t give up. There’s another option. You can ask both Google and Bing to remove the site from search results. This won’t get rid of the site, and it won’t get your content removed from the site, but it will ensure that the site won’t come up when a curious person or potential customer searches for your content.

Google’s process is a little more complicated, so we’ll start with that. This link to the Google Legal Help page will take you to the beginning of your journey, where you’ll see this: removing content from Google Image #1Check “Web Search,” which will take you here:Removing Content from Google Image #2

Our specific issue isn’t mentioned in the list, so check “I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above” (purple arrow). That will take you here:violate my copyright Image #3

Choose the first option, “I have found content that may violate my copyright” (green arrow). Next, you’ll be taken here: copyright owner Image #4 If you’re the owner of the copyright, or authorized to act on his/her behalf, check that box (purple arrow). If you’re not, close the screen down, because this process won’t work for you. If you clicked the top box, you’ll be taken here: infringing copyright Image #5In this specific instance, we’re talking about a book, so click “Other” (black arrow). You’ll be taken to this screen:copyright infringement form Image #6

Click to be taken to the appropriate form (orange arrow). This will take you to a short, simple form to fill out and submit.

It can take Google several days to respond to your request, but if they find all of your information to be accurate and your complaint to be valid, the next time you search for your content you’ll see an interesting message at the bottom of the Google search page: DMCA Complain Image #7Bing also has a procedure in place, but it’s much simpler. Just go to their
Notices of Infringement page, fill out the form, and submit.

And that’s all there is to it. As always, if you have questions about copyright consult with an attorney before taking action. I’m not an attorney; I’m just a writer chasing after pirated out-of-print editions of my books.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

16 thoughts on “How to Remove a Pirate Site from a Google Search”

  1. Thank you, Melinda. This is very useful. But at the same time I wonder if it’s worth the effort. I suppose we can’t know, but I wonder how many sales we actually lose through these sites. Perhaps it is more salient to those with greater sales and popularity. Mine are so bad I think I’d welcome someone reading my book for free. On the other hand, it is a matter of principle, too. Sigh.

    1. I agree it can be a tough call, Yvonne. I don’t generally worry too much about pirate sites unless they start showing up on the first page of Google, which tells me they’re getting some traffic.

  2. Most pirate sites give the books away for free. They ask in return for you to “Join” the site and use the info you give to steal identitities.

  3. I tried this recently, got no response from Google after the first acknowledgment, and don’t see any message at the bottom of the search page. But I don’t see the offending site on the first page anymore, either. Maybe I didn’t do something at some point that I was supposed to, or maybe I did, or maybe they decided whoever it was was legit, or maybe the site took it down. No idea.

  4. Google doesn’t respond to let you know what action they took. The only way I knew was that the sites disappeared and the message was at the bottom of the page. They *did* tell me I could check on the status from my Google Status Bar – whatever and wherever that is. Anyone else know?

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