The more professional exposure you have, the greater your chances will be of being plagiarized. It makes logical sense that that would be the case. However, understanding the logic doesn’t make it any less painful if it happens to you.
The ill effects of having your content stolen
There is almost nothing worse than working hard on producing great-quality content only to discover that someone else stole your content to benefit their business. It is incredibly frustrating and it feels like such a violation. What is even worse is that nowadays, the plagiarizers have absolutely no shame. Often, they don’t even bother to change any of the content. That is taking laziness to new heights! Plagiarism covers a very wide range of infractions. If the person uses your content in any way without attributing it to you, the person is plagiarizing. What is worse is that if someone steals your content, you could lose your rankings in the search engines. It is bad for you all around. So, how can you reverse the situation if it has happened to you? Before this discussion goes any further, it is important for you to realize that the solution will not be completely realized in a few minutes. It will take some time.
There are several steps that you can follow in order to correct the situation.
Gather the evidence: If you are convinced that you have been plagiarized (you may be able to determine this by the amount of traffic that you have visiting your website), it is a good idea to look for duplicate content (that resembles your content) online. If you are not sure how to begin searching for duplicate content, you should begin by copying a few sentences from your content and then search for identical content on the web. Make sure that you put quotation marks around the content that you are searching for. If you happen to find your content online on other people’s websites (or some other aspect of their web presence), your next step is to find out exactly how much of your content has actually been stolen.
Document the evidence: After you have determined that your content is indeed out there in someone else’s hands, the next thing that you will want to do is to document the information. It is an excellent idea to put all of the information into a spreadsheet. The websites that you will want to focus on the most closely are those websites on which you have found your content copied almost word for word or totally identical. You should also pay close attention, in that case, to what else you can find on those websites. It is also a really good idea to try to determine how badly the plagiarism is extended.
It is time to confront the offender: Once you have been able to identify your stolen content, it is time to confront the violator. In most cases, sending an Email to the offender will be enough to stop them from repeating the offense. However, it that doesn’t work, you may wish to consider sending them a strong letter through the mail or have a lawyer do it for you on your behalf.
What to do if the pages are not removed: If you have gone through all of the suggested steps up to this point and you are still finding that your pages are being used by other people and those people refuse to listen to reason, you are probably going to get tough! At this point, the other person is infringing on your copyright. You own that copyright. It is important that you understand that copyright infringement is a serious violation. If it is discovered, the search engines will remove the person’s content for him or her.
The plagiarism challenge with content syndication: If you happen to syndicate your content and you have voluntarily given another person permission to copy your content, if may be a bit more challenging. If that person has totally copied your content verbatim, your content is more vulnerable to being stolen than otherwise. Some wise advice for you on that is to syndicate very carefully and make sure that all content that you syndicate contains a good-quality backlink to your website.
Remember to protect your content well: It is important to keep in mind that each person is ultimately responsible for his or her own content (of course, each person owns the copyright to his or her own material). An effective way in which to do that is by clearly communicating that you own the copyright to your material. You should make sure that your content has a copyright symbol and publication year (on each of your content’s pages).
It is critical that you protect yourself as much as possible against plagiarism. It is important for you to understand that fixing the problem if you have been plagiarized may take you some time. It is a process just like any other process. You will need some time to devote to resolving the issues. You will need time to research whether you have been plagiarized, time to figure out your plan of action and time to eventually make the problem go away. It is important that you understand that you must be patient and devote whatever time and effort it takes to fix the problem. It will certainly be well worth it. Plagiarism is an ethical as well as a legal issue and if you are the object of such behavior, it is important to push back as effectively as possible. It is important for you to try to anticipate what the other people are doing before (or at least while) they are doing it. If you can determine how they think, you will be one step ahead of the game.[signoff][/signoff]
Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.
Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.
Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.
Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).
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