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How To: Has My Writing Been Copied? Check and See.
Your Hard Work
I have been a member of HubPages for a little over two years now and have a handful of hubs that I have written. I don't really consider any of my hubs to be great works by any means, but I have put a great deal of effort into writing what I know about and making it readable for the general public.
I was browsing through the HubPages Answers section just the other day and came across a question that I had really never considered in my own writing:
I am always in the habit of trying new things and gave the website mentioned in one of the answers a try. It is called 'CopyScape' which can be found at http://www.copyscape.com. The way this website works, is you type (or copy) the URL of the page that you want to check. This could be a Hub, a blog or any other page that you have your content. After entering this in the search box, click the 'Go' button. CopyScape then searches the web for other websites that have content that matches or is similar to what was in the site you entered in the search box. Free searches are limited, but will give you an idea as to whether anyone has copied your work.
The Sad Truth
After plugging in one of my hubs URLs in the search field, I found something that I hadn't thought would ever happen to me. Several of my Hubs were plagarized directly, word for word. At first, I wasn't sure if I should be furious or flattered, but as I continued to think about it, furious became the dominant feeling.
The information from one of my Hubs, was used as an 'Expert's' answer on another website and had collected revenue in the form of payment for the 'Answer'. Not only did this person make money from information which I compiled, but this also steals page views from the original writer. Mind you, I am not a member of HubPages to get rich by any means, but the extra few dollars that comes in surely doesn't hurt at all.
Shortly after finding the stolen content, I found the telephone number for the comapny hosting the website. They were very nice and sympathetic of my situation and took the content off of their site the very minute that I spoke with them. They also made note after taking my contact information that someone would be in contact with me about the monetary compensation that they said I may be due.
I have also had some more difficult dealings more recently with my works being copied as well. After emailing the person several times without response, I looked for some help on the web. I found a website that had some very well worded templates to use when contacting the person or organization that copied the works. I have included the link to the site in the Tools and Resources section below. This has proven to be extremely effective and has had a 90% success rate for me.
If your hard work has been stolen, attempt to contact the individual who has copied you and ask them to remove it. In some cases, this may be the only action you need to take. In other instances, you can file a DMCA Complaint with the search engines to have the content removed from their search listings. This is the next best think to having content removed because even if it is there, people will not be able to find it via searching. I've included a link under the Tools and Resources section with information on how to do this.
Other cases (if you deem it necessary) may require legal action. This all depends on how strongly you feel about your content.
Tools and Resources
Sites like CopyScape provide a great tool for authors that publish on the internet and should definitely be given a look. There are also other sites that offer similar services, but CopyScape seemed to have the most accurate results. Others that I tried did not work at all. Overall, this was a good place to start in my case.
Another way that I found to find copies of your work which is completely free and unlimited, is to copy a section of one of your articles, put quotations around it and paste it into a Google search. I was able to find several other copies of my works on the internet that way and it didn't cost me a penny. With this type of search, I was also able to find people that have linked to my Hubs. It's nice to know that there are people that appreciate your work and pass it along in the correct manner.
Some sites to keep in mind that deal with plagiarism that work as described:
- http://www.copyscape.com (Offers both free and paid services)
- http://www.plagiarisma.net (Offers both free and paid services)
- http://www.devtopics.com/how-to-file-a-dmca-complaint (Has templates to use when contacting the person or organization that has copied your work)
- https://lumendatabase.org (Another great site to help you understand your rights and offers help and information)
- http://www.dmca.com (Offers only paid services)
Protect Your Work
Many people write online for the pure enjoyment of it while others make an honest living at it. If someone is stealing your work, not only could it damage your income, but also has the potential to avoid you the recognition that you deserve.
Protect your online work with periodic searches for duplicate content and if necessary, file for a creative commons license. This link is also found above.
I have also written a Hub on 'Article Spinning' which can be found at: http://eric2112.hubpages.com/hub/Article-Spinning-Is-it-Illegal-What-Can-I-do
Thanks for reading!!!