Plagiarism on the Net and Article Theft is Alive and Well and Happening Right Now!
Article writers put their work online for many reasons. One of the main reasons is to generate interest and linking to their business site. Every day, bloggers and webbers are looking for fresh content for their sites. Some write their own work. Some use ‘free’ content available to anyone. Some use work with reprint permission. But many, known as scrapers, take whatever they want from wherever they want it and claim it as their own. These people search the web looking for work they can take, lock stock and barrel, and don’t give you any recognition at all, let alone any back links, which is often the primary purpose of an article in the first place.
This happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
I recently submitted an article titled: 10 Easy Ways To Lose Weight to another article site and received an email asking for a ‘please explain’ as they had found this article on another site – other than the one I had posted it on. They gave me the link but it had already been removed. I wrote back to the article site telling them of this, giving them the link to my original article and a declaration that it was in fact totally my own article and came only from my own experience, knowledge and way of thinking.
I conducted a Google search and came across my article on a number of sites, and found my way back to what appears to be the original plagiarism on a site called goxini (dot) com. My article was there in total, without a change of word, and WITHOUT ANY ATTRIBUTION TO ME OR LINKS TO MY SITE.
This is a blog and is, to quote the owner:
… the first stop each morning for an influential audience looking for what’s hot, new, and undiscovered. Unlike most other sites or magazines, Goxini updates content every day, constantly blogging on any and all matters practical and interesting.
Undiscovered? Not this time. Constantly blogging? No way. The owner – Kelly is the name given on the site – has been discovered and I am taking what steps I can, including contacting google, although this is a somewhat ‘legal’ process. However, this is a copyright infringement, and needs to be dealt with. It has nothing to do with money or reputation, although my reputation as a professional writer is very important to me. It is a straightforward case of plagiarism.
I’m sure this happens all the time, and probably is not discovered most of the time. It might pay for everyone to keep a close eye on their articles however, unless you have given Reprint Permission that is. I did not. I marked the article as being available to the original site and my site only, and I own all other Rights exclusively. There is a clear banner at the bottom of the article, provided by the original site, which states:
PAGE PROTECTED BY COPYSAFE DO NOT COPY
It would not be as bad if my name was attached to this article copy but it was being claimed as the work of Kelly, who apparently manages to keep her blog updated daily by simply cutting and pasting from other sites. And to add insult to injury, she was making MY article freely available to anyone who wanted it and also providing an RSS feed to it. She has at the top of the Share It page:
… From this page you can use the Social Web links to save 10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight to a social bookmarking site, or the E-mail form to send a link via e-mail.
So, it is probable that I might never find all the copies of this article that are on the web. I am attempting to find as many as possible so I can inform the page owners that it is a plagiarised piece of work.
As the original site points out under Reprint Rights:
This Site is not an article distribution web site.
All articles on site are copyrighted by the person who submitted the article to site, unless otherwise noted.
As such, if you wish to reprint or publish any content found on site, you must obtain explicit permission from the copyright holder prior to making a copy of the article.
Some authors may choose to freely give reprint rights within the body of their articles. You may reprint or republish any of these articles as long as the terms found in the body of the article are met.
If permission to reprint or publish is not clearly given within the body of an article, it is a violation of copyright law to reprint or publish this content.
And so it is. It is a blatant violation of copyright law. So, please be aware that this happens. I’m very grateful to the second site for checking everything before making my article live and for contacting me, otherwise I might not have found this out. I will be taking what steps I can.
In the meantime, keep an eye on any article to which you haven’t given Reprint Rights because they might be taken and used without any attribution to you at all. If anyone else has had this problem or experience, I’d love to hear what steps you took and how it turned out. I’m eager to learn all I can.
And check out my article ‘What to do when your work is plagiarised online’ which gives more detail on the actual steps you can take.