Dealing with Plagiarism
The World Wide Web is a big place where competition for the top spot on Google is fierce and this means that businesses and individuals are constantly under pressure to produce interesting, informative and entertaining content for their websites and blogs. This can be tough if you also have a business to run or a family to look after – simply put, life happens and coming up with new and original content can become a real chore.
If you have spent your time or your money producing great content for your readers, it can be infuriating to find that same content has been stolen and is being used by someone else! Not only is duplicate content bad for your SEO (search engine optimisation), but is also disrespectful to the original writer; who incidentally can actually be wrongly penalized for having duplicate content on their site.
How to find out if someone has copied your content.
One of the best ways to find out if someone has copied your content is to run it through CopyScape, this is free and easy to use. Simply paste the url of the blog post or page that you have written and it will check the web to ensure that nobody has copied your content, it even has a traffic light system, so that you can see if someone has partially copied something that you have written. They also offer various paid for services if you wish to have your website or blog scanned on a regular basis.
What to do if someone has copied your content.
If you are unlucky enough to find that someone has copied your content, stay calm, there are some things you can do.
Find out the details of who owns the offending site. Most websites will have some kind of contact details available. If you cannot find their details, you can contact their ISP (Internet Service Provider) and ask them to take appropriate action. Sites such as “Alexa” or “Whois”, can help you find the details you need.
Write to the owner of the site. We fully understand that you are probably feeling pretty angry – but remain professional! Provide them with a link to your original page, informing them that you own the content and that they have infringed on your copywrite without your permission. It is also a good idea to outline a strict deadline in regards how long they have to remove offending material (we recommend at least a few of days). If practical you can also obtain advice from your lawyer, get them to write an email or cc them in on the email you send. I have found that this usually works and no more action needs to be taken.
Make sure that you keep details of all correspondence, take screen shots of the offending website and also collect any proof you can that you are the owner of the original content (e.g. word documents with the date of creation), sites such as “Way Back Machine” can be a useful tool to document when your page was first created.
Send a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice. This is an extremely effective method and can get them removed from Google search results, but it does take time.
Contact a Copyright Lawyer. This option can be taken if all else fails, however remember you decide to take this route, but can be expensive, stressful and drawn out. That said, remember that the law is on your side when it comes to copyright theft!
Preventing Copyright Theft.
Copyright theft is becoming more and more prevalent so be alert. We recommend that you regularly run your content through Copyscape and take advantage of their free banner which acts as an extremely effective deterrent. If you decide to outsource your content writing to an outside company, check their work too and make sure you choose a reputable company. Transcription City uses experienced, professional writers who will provide you with original, well thought out content that is great for SEO and your profits. For more information about our copy writing or virtual assistant services please contact us via email, instant message or telephone.
In the meantime here is a video from CopyScape –
Have you been a victim of copyright fraud? Feel free to share your thoughts below.