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How to prove an article is mine when the original has been deleted?

  1. kerryg profile image88
    kerrygposted 5 years ago

    I used to have an eHow account, but when they closed the Writer's Compensation Program back in May/June, I removed my articles from the site and deleted my account.

    A couple days ago, I republished one of the articles here, and yesterday I got an email informing me that the hub had been unpublished due to duplicate content. Somebody stole my orginal eHow article and republished it here:

    http://www.bnd.com/2009/08/02/864963/ev … ll-up.html

    Unfortunately, since my eHow account is deleted, I don't know how to prove that the original article was mine and was used without permission. I checked the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, but it wasn't archived there.

    I have asked the HubPages team for advice, but wanted to see if any of you had any suggestions for what I can do to first, get the article republished on HubPages, and second, get it removed from bnd.com!

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    1. R.S. Hutchinson profile image87
      R.S. Hutchinsonposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That's a great question and has now prompted me to take a screen shot of all my articles just in case something happens on HP.

      If all else fails I would write the new "author" and demand it be taken down for surely they know they copied it and would feel obliged? (but maybe I'm thinking like an honest person- which I tend to do)

      1. kerryg profile image88
        kerrygposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Good idea! I am definitely wishing I'd thought to do that back in May when I first got the email from eHow about the WCP ending!

        The new "author" claims to be Associated Press, which makes this all the more annoying. I had no idea they were allowed to just copy-paste off sites like eHow. mad

        1. EmpressFelicity profile image83
          EmpressFelicityposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I would get in touch with Associated Press and tell them. Chances are they won't do anything if it's just you who contacts them but you never know, this person could have been copying work from other people and if enough of them complain, it will add up to a picture that AP surely can't ignore.

          Edit: I've just realised you said it was Associated Press, not an individual author working for Associated Press.  Eeeek!

    2. tamarindcandy profile image61
      tamarindcandyposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I can't really help but... perhaps next time it'd be a good idea to cache your work and save screenshots?

      1. kerryg profile image88
        kerrygposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Yup, certainly kicking myself now, especially since I have more ex-eHow articles to clean up and republish here and now I apparently have to worry not only about the possibility that unethical spammers stole them, but also supposedly professional writers working for one of the most respected news sources in the world! mad

    3. PegCole17 profile image91
      PegCole17posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I just looked and there are no comments on the article you mentioned. I would have one of your friends who actually saw the article under your name make a comment on that page about the source of the article and about giving the original author proper credit. She should know better than to republish the work of other people as her own.

  2. 2uesday profile image89
    2uesdayposted 5 years ago

    Is there a possibilty that you may have saved the article or a draft of it as a word document? Not sure how you would set about proving it was yours against the copy but thought it might help prove your ownership to HubPages.

  3. Gordon Hamilton profile image96
    Gordon Hamiltonposted 5 years ago

    Have you tried contacting eHow? Even though your account is deleted and you can't access your material, there may very well be a way in which they can do so from their central site. Although you may think, "Why should they help me when I've deleted my account?" there is a very good reason why they should do so: the fight against plagiarism which any reputable site should be willing to support.

    It's probably worth taking a few minutes to send an e-mail explaining the position. They can only refuse or confirm they are unable to help. Good luck with getting it sorted.

    1. kerryg profile image88
      kerrygposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I contacted them, but got a reply back saying they "can only answer questions pertaining to the eHow website." tongue Since I specifically asked if eHow had any record or cache of the article, either they can't read or they don't give a &%$#@. (Probably the latter.)

      1. Gordon Hamilton profile image96
        Gordon Hamiltonposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I'm far from being an expert on this but I know there is a way that some complaint DCC??? something can be filed and it is available through Hub Pages. I have no doubt that Hubbers more technically minded than me or even Hub Pages staff will help you find how to do this.  If you file such a complaint, eHow may be more forthcoming with the Big G (or whomever administers the procedure) rather than you personally.

  4. IzzyM profile image84
    IzzyMposted 5 years ago

    I see the copier mentions ehow at the bottom of her article, so it might be worth contacting her and asking her nicely to delete as you wrote the original article and wish to re-use it. You never know.

  5. FloraBreenRobison profile image60
    FloraBreenRobisonposted 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this important information. I think R.S. is on to something. Try to make a backup plan for proving articles are yours before you need it.

  6. wilderness profile image96
    wildernessposted 5 years ago

    A while back I used something called Scrapbook to back up all my hubs. 

    This save a screenshot of the my account page, along with links to the hubs and the hubs themselves to the HD

    That screenshot includes the date of publication - I wonder how much value that would be in this case?

    1. kerryg profile image88
      kerrygposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for the suggestion! That sounds like it could be useful to prevent this situation in the future.

  7. brakel2 profile image88
    brakel2posted 5 years ago via iphone

    I can find the how address if you need it. Did you download any articles or delete them?  There was a time frame when you could download them, and then they still had to gradually take them off site.

  8. PegCole17 profile image91
    PegCole17posted 5 years ago

    EHow (Demand Studios) said they would notify us so we could preserve our remaining articles before they shut down the WCP but that notice never came.

    I was unwilling to give them access to my FaceBook friends which was the only way to sign on to the site toward the end. Fortunately I had most of my articles stored in Word.

    I wish you success in tracking down and removing your copied work. It is disturbing that our work is being used without our permission or recognition or compensation.

    1. kerryg profile image88
      kerrygposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah, eHow's treatment of its writers was always appalling. I had a couple articles removed off there with no notice or opportunity to preserve them in an earlier purge, so as soon as I got the email about the WCP program closing, I ran right over to save my remaining ones. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take screenshots of my article listing. mad

  9. classicalgeek profile image88
    classicalgeekposted 5 years ago

    If you go to www.archive.org and type in the original address of the eHow article into their "Wayback Machine" (at the center near the top of the page), you can find your original article (often, anyway) with the date of the crawl. This will prove that your article was on the web on a certain date.

    1. classicalgeek profile image88
      classicalgeekposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I sent the HP team an email with a link to the archive.org page, which proved that I was the original author (it helped that I used the same pseudonym) and now my hub has been published again! Thank you 1000 times to the HP team as this article was one of my big moneymakers on eHow!

  10. Lisa HW profile image84
    Lisa HWposted 5 years ago

    I had a bunch of stuff in different places, many of which said duplicate content was OK; some of which, of course, said people keep the rights to their stuff, but some of which don't let writers delete what they want.  Anyway, I had a bunch of duplicate content around.  Then, too, tons of my stuff had been stolen over the years, so a lot of what looked like I'd duplicated wasn't that at all.  THEN, there was the thing that some sites make you agree to their doing whatever they want with your stuff (which means it will show up somewhere else legitimately).

    Between being fed up anyway, and new rules after Panda (and particularly with one site suddenly changing its terms to include requiring one year exclusive publication of material); I decided to divide my pre-Panda writing from my post-Panda writing, and plan to approach the post-Panda writing differently "from now on".

    In the meantime, I had all the old stuff out there. SO, with the exception of stuff on here (where duplicates were, by the, prohibited), i went around the Internet, got absolutely everything that I've written and have the rights to, and turned it all into (often) even MORE duplicated material than it was before.  lol  My aim was to make it unattractive to Google, and maybe stop anyone else from earning from it (since I wasn't going to be earning from it anyway, and since I couldn't go around and get all those people who stole stuff to take it down).

    Duplicate or not, my next step was to set up the Google profile and do the reciprocal linking thing they tell people to do, as a way of establishing themselves as author (regardless of whether something earns anything or not).  From here on in, anything I write can have me established as the author, so that may help some things in some way.  Stuff that was earning on other sites (or here) is, in a lot of cases, still earning.  So, I've settled for that level of earning (from pre-Panda days) and decided to approach any online writing from now on with the additional things of copies of Hubs (Scrapbook, for one method) and the Google reciprocal-link thing.

    I figure, if I've established authorship (even recently) from some old site that I don't use now, it will at least establish the my profile on such a site exists with the material (in the Google profile).  If old sites close down or change their rules, at least I'll have done that much "establishing" before that kind of things happens.

    In the meantime, with the exception of on this site, I'm going to continue to duplicate the hell out of whatever stuff has been online so long it's been badly "contaminated" by other people's taking it and using it.  As for that stuff that some other site has legitimately given to someone to use:  I'm still establishing myself as the author and as the person who has retained rights to it.  If I decide to post some piece of writing in, say, a thousand different sites online (provided I'm not break any TOS on any account of my own) - well, sorry to anyone who was given permission to use it by a site I've written on in the past.  We all live and learn, don't we...   roll

  11. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    You could use a cached version via Google cache or the Wayback Machine.

  12. K9keystrokes profile image92
    K9keystrokesposted 5 years ago

    So sorry to hear this happened to you. Some people have so little integrity online. I wish you the best of luck in resolving this. Screen shots sound like a really good idea.

  13. Debra Charney profile image80
    Debra Charneyposted 5 years ago


    Sorry, to hear of your misfortune.  One of the things someone told me to do a long time ago was a "poor man's" way of copyrighting.  Take your original content and mail it back to yourself.  Do not open it.  File it away in a shoebox.  If you need to go to court over someone stealing your work, you have the postmark on the outside of the envelope, which proves your article was in fact created prior to someone else publishing your work.  Like I said, do not open it.  Just keep it tucked away somewhere safe.  The cost of a postage stamp is well worth it!  Just a suggestion, don't really know how well it would hold up in court.  Just what I was told to do.

    Good luck!

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image82
      Uninvited Writerposted 5 years ago in reply to this
  14. maddot profile image80
    maddotposted 5 years ago

    Maybe one way of protecting the copyright on your stories in future is to copy and email to yourself at the time of publishing.This will give a dated record of the article when you wrote it.
    Also copy the website link and email that to yourself as well to date the time it was published.

    I use a free copyright agency that scans for any work under my name. I get paid royalties for anywork being used by others.
    As for your current situation perhaps you could contact the site that has published your work without permission. Advise them to remove the article or they  will be hearing from your agent.

    good luck

    1. kerryg profile image88
      kerrygposted 5 years ago

      Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice!

      I just got an email back from the HubPages team:

      "Your hub has been republished.  It is recommended that, in the future, you do what you can to ensure that content you are trying to publish on HubPages is original and does not appear elsewhere."

      Lesson definitely learned!

    2. psf profile image79
      psfposted 5 years ago

      Good to know that your hub has been republished. I happened to see this discussion today only, this response might be late, even I think we can give a try:

      If all this happened recently, there is a good chance that a google search 'cache' exists for your article published on eHow,  if it had been indexed by google. Try a targeted search for the article you published on eHow and see if it is coming on the results. If so, click on 'cached', you should see your old article. Save, or screen print it for proof..

      Oops..this is already suggested by psycheskinner .... anyway

    3. IzzyM profile image84
      IzzyMposted 5 years ago

      I hope everybody reads this thread, because there are lessons to be learned.

      First off, do not delete hubs to move elsewhere without first checking if they have been plagiarised.

      Even without specialized software, you can check by highlighting  sections of text and putting them into Google.

      Never assume that someone hasn't already stolen your work because you never received notification from your dedicated software.

      If you haven't got a copy of your work on whatever platform, take a screenshot.

      It will help at a later date to say your work was published, if the site has gone under.

      Everybody wants to stop the rampant plagiarism online.

      Before I knew about Hubpages, it used to drive me daft that every site, it seemed, contained the exact same information. No-one even bothered to re-order the words - they were all copies of each other.

      I'm glad that's getting sorted, but I still want to see the original author's credited for their hard work.

    4. qodrn profile image60
      qodrnposted 5 years ago

      Any hope of identifying that copyright site maddot?  Thanks.