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How to Prove Your Work has Been Stolen

No matter how unjust people treat your work and how grotesquely infringed your copyrights become, none of that will matter much from a legal perspective if you can’t bring any evidence to the table, showing that your content has been stolen. Luckily, CatchScan is ready to teach you all you need to know about what kind of evidence you need and how to collect it!

Table of Contents

Be careful that you don’t trick yourself into losing compensation

Whether you want to be lenient or pull out the big legal guns, you should always collect evidence to prove your content has been stolen before you reach out to whomever is hosting the content illegally. Laws in general are quite dry and copyright law is no exception. That means that many aren’t aware of when they violate copyrights, so if you find misuse of your work, there is a pretty significant chance that whoever infringed upon your rights didn’t know they did anything illegal when they stole your work. And, if that is the case, we totally understand why you would want to extend some leniency. However, if you make contact before you have collected evidence to prove the theft, there is a chance the infringer will simply try to delete proof of their crime and, if they try to steal your content again, you might have a weaker case than you otherwise could have had.

Generally, it is a good idea to collect evidence and proof before you reach out – but how and what should you collect? A simple screenshot of the infringement should do the trick! Make sure that the screenshot shows the content that has been stolen, that it features the website/domain where the content is illegally hosted, and, preferably, try to include date and time in the screenshot. With all of that, you can prove when, where, and what was stolen, and whoever stole your content can no longer hide by deleting evidence.

How bulletproof will that evidence be?

In most cases, the screenshot should be enough. However, if a person who stole your content wishes to contest your claim, they can try to argue that you do not have ownership of the content in question (to be clear: you have ownership and copyright of anything you create. For more info on this topic, click [here]). What makes this move tricky for you is that it puts the onus on you to prove ownership, which can be difficult in certain situations. 

For photos, the best proof is the original photo, before any editing has been done to it. This is definite proof that you own the photo because the owner is whoever took the photo. Unfortunately, most content creators who use social media as their main outlet simply have too many photos to store the originals and therefore rely on Instagram (or similar platforms) to store all their images. If that is the case, the uploaded image is suitable proof. Since the post to a social media platform is timestamped, you can prove that you were the first to have access to the photo. 

In cases of digitally created images, you will have to show proof that you have the original file. This file should be timestamped, proving that you had the image before the opposing party. A trick some content creators make use of, is simply to send the image to themselves in an email. This gives you proof that you had the image before it was published, as the email works as a timestamp. 

That… sounds like a lot of work? Is there a better option for busy people like me?

It is a lot of work and it can be especially frustrating to dedicate all the required time to manage this stuff manually. If only there existed a company that could collect evidence for you, that handled the legal case for you, that represented zero risk for usage, and that offered a free option for up-and-coming content creators. OH, WAIT!

Yeah, as you might have guessed, the simplest solution is to make a CatchScan profile. One of the benefits of creating a CatchScan profile is that the evidence is automatically collected! If the case is found through our services, you don’t need to do anything. We will gather all the evidence for you, so you only need to worry about how you wish the case to be handled. If you want to make contact yourself, you can do so without stressing about the evidence being deleted or hidden, but we also give you the option of letting us handle contact for you.

If you want to stick out on your own when it comes to handling theft of your content, we are all too happy to just give you the advice in this article about how to collect evidence, so that you can prove your work has been stolen. However, if you would rather focus your energy on creating content, CatchScan is ready to have your back and manage everything from evidence collecting, to contact, to managing your copyright case. 

Christian Bredvig Fjordside
Christian Bredvig Fjordside
Christian Bredvig Fjordside is CatchScan's communications consultant. His job is to talk to the legal department and translate the law jargon into what we fellow mortals refer to as "English".
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