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Monitoring Your HUB's for Plagiarism

Updated on November 29, 2012

Damage Assessment of Writing Theft.

This article demonstrates an easy way to automate the monitoring of your writing on the Internet. A very simple automated search using some Google tools will allow you to find and catch copy thieves.

Copyright laws exist for all forms of writing including online writing. Unfortunately there is practically no "Teeth" in those laws to make copying a losing proposition. Since the Internet has virtually no means of policing the activity, it is now a virtual wild wild west situation. It is very easy to cut and paste just about any body of writing or picture. The best part of this situation for the thieves, is that there is absolutely no one sitting there ready to slap a set of handcuff on their wrists.

It isn't very clear as to the penalties imposed on original authors by this duplication of content that is so prevalent on the Internet. We do know that marketing groups like Google AdWords will track redirected URL's in an attempt to reduce duplicate sites attempting to be paid twice for a single article. But as to content that has been cut and pasted into a totally different site is very difficult to track. But regardless of how the plagiarized material is placed on the Internet, you can be sure that your potential income from that article is going to be ultimately jeopardized.

The Internet consists of trillions of words and billions of pages of information. Sounds like a daunting task to try and catch some third world country slug that is trying to make money off of your words. Read on and don't despair, there are tricks that you may use to fight these talent deficient thieves.

Finding Your Stolen Words

Given the billions of pages that exist on the Internet, you might think that it is virtually impossible to locate your text. A needle in a haystack would be easy by comparison. But you have all the most up to date tools available to find the offending sites. Some Internet users do not realize that search engines like Google© or Bing© not only allow searches by simple keywords, but also allows a search using special parameters to narrow down your results. One favorite example is the use of the "eliminate" parameter. Suppose you wanted to get your broken house window fixed, due to an errant baseball attack. You might enter "Windows repair" this would bring you thousands of hits regarding Microsoft Windows and it would be impossible to find the hardware service to fix your house window. By changing the search parameter to read ( "Home window repair" -microsoft -software ). The resulting search yields articles about fixing the glass windows at your house and not too many hits about the Windows operating system.

Let's take a closer look at the techniques used in this example, note the quote marks around the Home window repair. This tells the search engine to find articles that only have those three words in exactly that order within the text. This technique puts a narrowing effect on the search your asking for. Next, note the minus signs in the search, these minus signs indicate that you do NOT want to see any articles that also mention microsoft or software. So those articles are ignored if either of those words are in the selected articles. If you feel adventurous about learning more, see this Google Link to search parameters.

The use of quote signs in your search is key to finding your articles in this vast array of pages. Let us take an example of finding a specific article by looking at the content of the article. Put the following search string including the quote marks into a Google search,

"tough hill climbing adventure. After studying the maps to find the best way towards South Carolina, I"

You should only see one article listed from my RV'ing Horror Story. By selecting a very unique part of my article and spanning the search across partial sentences, I am eliminating any possible accidental look-a-likes that might exist on the Internet. If you had only searched for "South Carolina" or perhaps only "tough hill climbing", you would get thousands of articles with just those few words. By entering a very long number of words and spanning across multiple sentences, you reduce the possibility of finding a false positive. Now try this search using partial sentences from one of your own HUBs. Just highlight your text, grab a copy of the text, then go into Google search and insert your text with two quotes around it.

If you only received one reference to your article with your Hub Page URL, then you are lucky, your article most likely has not been copied. If you find multiple web sites with this exact phrase that you searched for, well then you are most likely copied. Keep in mind that if you also moved your article to another site for publishing, then this site name will appear as well.



Automatically Monitoring Your HUB's

Now that you have seen how you may find your stolen works, you may also monitor the internet constantly without having to run the search everyday.

Google has a feature called "Google Alerts", which allows you to set an automatic search run that occurs everyday and sends you the results of that search to your email box. By using the long string surrounded by quotes as described above, and then putting that search into the Alerts feature, then you have created a very powerful monitor that constantly looks for your articles and lets you know as soon as it happens.

Now that you are able to find the crooks and monitor your writing, you should be able file a complaint with the offenders and have your material removed from the offenders sites.

Remember that these people are stealing your income by duplicating your work, for the sake of all writers, we need to band together and put some teeth into our diligence to remove plagiarism.

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    • Don Fairchild profile image

      Don Fairchild 4 years ago from Belgrade, ME

      Thanks MT, I also use this trick to check for originality in other peoples writing, especially news articles.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      This is a great idea! This way we can monitor whether our hub has been copied without having to constantly checking it on Google. Voted up.

    • Don Fairchild profile image

      Don Fairchild 5 years ago from Belgrade, ME

      phriot, NateB11, Thrifty Boomer, Casimiro. Thanks everyone for commenting, hope this tool helps you keep the bad guys at bay..

      Thanks all

    • profile image

      Casimiro 5 years ago

      Fantastic Don! What a useful hub this is indeed. Thank you.

    • ThriftyBoomer profile image

      ThriftyBoomer 5 years ago

      Thank you for the info -- really helpful.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very helpful information and information we definitely should have.

    • phriot profile image

      phriot 5 years ago

      I don't think that any of my Hubs are currently being copied, but I was completely unaware of Google Alerts. I'll definitely use this in the future, thanks!

    • Don Fairchild profile image

      Don Fairchild 5 years ago from Belgrade, ME

      Great, hope it helps you out.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hello Don, I found this hub from the forum you posted it in. Thanks for the info, very helpful and informative. I will try it and see if a poem of mine has been copied that dropped in hubscore overnight by 18 points. It had been idled before and revived but now I want to rule out copying. Voted up and useful.

    • CriticalMessage profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      An interesting presentation that addresses some of my most recently expressed concerns... I love finding older, yet forever useful Hubs such as this.. Thank you for sharing!

    • Don Fairchild profile image

      Don Fairchild 6 years ago from Belgrade, ME

      Thanks to Capricornrising & Mary R. Schutter

      Glad to help out with our writing experiences, my pre-retirement experience can now be shared by others.

      Thanks again.


    • Mary R. Schutter profile image

      Mary R. Schutter 6 years ago

      Thanks so much for showing writers an effective way to determine whether or not they have been victims of plagarism. Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to be concerned with this?

    • capricornrising profile image

      capricornrising 6 years ago from Wilmington, NC

      Don - terrific.