What to Do When Your Web Content Gets Plagiarized

This is a guest post by Mina Richardson. If you would like to submit a guest article, please check out our guest post guidelines.

Plagiarism is criminal.

This is because what is yours is taken over by someone else who then claims full ownership.

Plagiarism is unethical.

It can affect the performance of your business, water down your hard work and benefit someone else, to your detriment.

Many web content joy riders exist or simply because they ‘forget’ to credit your efforts as the original author. You have a responsibility and duty to stamp it, discourage or hamper its proliferation. There are a number of options you can use to deal with your plagiarized work.

Google Alerts

To stem plagiarism, set up Google Alerts for your name, your search terms, article titles and other relevant keywords. You will receive an email every time someone publishes content that belongs to you on their website.

Plagiarism Programs

To determine who has stolen your content to sentence level, use an application PlagTracker. Some plagiarism applications are hosted online; others are desktop applications. Some are fee-based; others are free.

How to deal with plagiarism of your work

Once you determine who has stolen your work, the first course of action is to investigate. You have to conduct a thorough research to validate your claim as the original source. This means you have to take care of all screenshots of the ‘evidence’.

After you have gathered the evidence, your next step is to approach the ‘thief’ or whoever plagiarized your work. It’s unprofessional and unethical to bombard their forum or blog with lewd comments. Instead, seek their contact page and send an email. The email should be written in a professional way; asking them to ‘remember’ to credit you for that work or to kindly ask them to take it down.

Professionals will heed to your call, and will immediately take your content down and apologize.
Others will ignore your plea. When this happens, what are your options?

1. File a DMCA complaint with Google.

Google takes these complaints seriously. Google can take the website off its index. All businesses know how risky this is and will quiver when this action is taken against them.

2. Embarrass all content thieves

Thieving is a strong word for plagiarism. But, that’s what it becomes when a webmaster is unresponsive. If you take your war to social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and your complaint goes viral to a circle of people who know them, they will be embarrassed. Losing face can work like magic for cheap thieves.

3. Sue them

If all else fails, identify your defendant, talk to your lawyer and sue. There are numerous copyright laws to protect your suit. Take advantage of this and get the best settlement you can.
It is astonishing that some, even in this computer age, still commit the mistake of plagiarizing. Arm yourself against the attack and take action if it happens to you.

Mina Richardson is a freelance writer who loves to write tech reviews.