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Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Plagiarism
Many of us Hubbers get distressed when we see our writing copied elsewhere on the internet, obviously most of us know about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and how it offers us protection.
It is a horrible feeling when you spend several hours or even days editing a hub and someone steals it for commercial gain or edit's it and waters down your originality. In fact there are great writers such as Izzy M who have experienced the theft of their work and had to go to great lengths to track down hosting sites in China and elsewhere.
It can be a tiring process tracking down websites that are hosting your content without your permission, luckily, there are some great tools that can help you. I recently discovered that a site had stolen an Ezine article I had spend a long time preparing and had not followed the EzineArticles TOS when republishing.
EzineArticles states that anyone wishing to re-use an article must not change the title or content in anyway, must respect the writers copyrights and must include the full author resource box with a link crediting them.
This is not the first time I have encountered copyright issues online, I also had to file a complaint about my best hub being re-posted word for word by a website owner in France. A good place to start is using the WhoIs tool to find out the hosting company and it may also include the website owners email address, very often the people who use your content are not particularly deviant and they will remove the content if you explain to them that you can take action.
I have also been on the receiving end when I purchased a domain name that another website owner believed was confusingly similar to his, of course it was purely coincidental. Some of my Hubpages friends came to my aid since he threatened to take Trademark action against me, although we believe he realized he would lose traffic to my site out of misspellings.
Trademark is different to copyright since it refers to a business name or descriptive term which is used to market your products rather than a large section of text, but I digress...
How to Copyright
I decided to show people about one way of how to copyright their online work by visiting the official DMCA website. I actually paid for the Protection Pro membership which gives you access to scan for websites including your work and then open a 'Takedown' case, it basically gives you a convenient interface to track each of your cases.
The Protection Pro membership is $10 a month and you get the correct PDF DMCA notices to send to website owners, you also get to protect your images. If you upgrade to the next level of protection for $199 you can also get legal representation.
There are also a selection of nifty badges for your website you can choose to match the theme, when a visitor clicks on the badge they are taken to a certificate which states the time and date it became protected.
Despite some of the tools on their website costing money to use, it is actually free to file a DMCA complaint using the site and manually sending the documents to the infringing parties.