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What do to if you've been plagiarized

Updated on March 26, 2013
This site claims that its essays are "plagiarism-free" ... but guess where they got this essay from? Me and my Hub! Grr... I'm still fighting this site.
This site claims that its essays are "plagiarism-free" ... but guess where they got this essay from? Me and my Hub! Grr... I'm still fighting this site.

Many feelings and thoughts may run through your mind when you stumble upon a website with words or images that look so familiar... that you realize they're yours! You've been plagiarized! Your personal work has been stolen, possibly for someone else's benefit. What can you do?

Once your work has been plagiarized (A.K.A. taken and claimed as their own), you should first try to contact the person and find out what happened. Did they forget to cite the source? What is its purpose there? You should ask for it to be removed. Try not to get angry about it; there's no need to start a fight yet.

If that doesn't work, contact the website administrator, manager, or other authority on website content, or even the person's supervisor. Let the administrator know what happened, provide your website address, and show what you believe is the copied content. Don't blame them for anything that happened, but let them know because they have the power to remove plagiarized work for their site.

When you contact the website owner or authority, you should include the following information:

I would like to report a site that has copied content from my Hub onto their page. The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on (URL)
The following page infringes on my copyrighted work: (URL)
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
My contact information is as follows:
(Name, e-mail, address, or other contact information)Thank you.
Signed, (your name)

If this doesn't work, you might have to take legal action if it's important enough to you.

Let's discuss what plagiarism is. According to U.S. law, expressing original ideas is considered intellectual property, and thus is protected by copyright laws, so long as they are recorded in some way. These all qualify as forms of plagiarism:

  • Claiming someone else's work as yours
  • Copying without giving credit
  • Not quoting borrowed content
  • Falsely or incorrectly citing a source
  • Only changing words while leaving the sentence structure intact
  • The majority of your work is borrowed or copied, whether it's been properly cited or not

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to try to prevent plagiarism. For one, you can create evidence that you have documented and/or published your work, whether by putting a date on it, e-mailing, or uploading it onto a server or elsewhere. You can also purchase copyrights and other protections for it. Make sure your name and other identifying factors are printed along with the work so it's obvious where it came from and whose it is.


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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 4 years ago from Northern California

      Of course - just give due credit! ;)

    • profile image

      Malika Bourne 4 years ago

      Thanks I needed this!

      I hope it OK, I want to use your link in a post of I am writing. I am a decent writer with ethics, so is much of the community on bubblews. However I want to scream with the influx of plagiarizers. I am researching , right now and prefer to give direct links.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all.

      Help, if it is a book that has been copied, and the work is copyrighted, then there may be protections if you contact U.S. Copyright. I am not an expert, but I saw this webpage: Legal assistance may also be considered.

    • profile image

      Help 5 years ago

      I've been searching for a guide/something/anything to help with a plagiarism problem, but surprisingly, there's nothing addressing this issue: authors stealing from authors. There's help if someone copied your website or something, but what do you do when someone takes your book, reads it, and then rewrites it in their own words? It not being word for word, is there anything one can do? A friend of mine recently had her story stolen even the cover art was made eerily similar. When does this become plagiarism? The stealing author in question even rewrote another author's book, scene by scene, not word for word, but the exact same story, scene by scene. How can this person be stopped?

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I view it as a necessity to get copied material removed. The biggest single thing that these thieves have going for them is that most people won't take action, just sit back with an "Oh well" and let it go on.

      If everyone would put forth a little effort every time their work is stolen it would help a great deal. A few months ago some thief stole dozens or hundreds of hubs and reposted them. A group of hubbers chased him all over the web as he closed one account only to move on to another provider, which we would promptly get closed. After going through half a dozen hosts he finally gave up - other work of his was still copied, but none from HubPages. It works.

    • Ladybythelake55 profile image

      Ladybythelake55 7 years ago from I was Born in Bethesda, Maryland and I live in Chicago,IL

      You should read my hubpages about what every writer and author needs to know. It is about public domain and copywriter laws. thanks for the compliment. Actucally I also saw The Duchess as well. I thought it pretty good.

      God Bless,


    • profile image

      Ezlaurent 7 years ago

      great article! one of my sites that i did well myself and the client did not see eye to eye so they paid a poor part and whent else where after I did everything over and my works basically been cut apart and some other dude has said designed by: and developed by:... all the imagery is my work, is that not wrong?

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for your comments, everyone, and to clarifying the issue brought up by tulwave, RainbowRecognizer!

    • RainbowRecognizer profile image

      RainbowRecognizer 9 years ago from Midwest

      Very thorough hub :o) It is good to get into the habit of clearly putting your own copyright or bio into each article/hub you write. To vrajavala ~ hubpages content is owned by each individual author, not hubpages:

    • profile image

      homanajomana 9 years ago

      thank you! good god! someone plagiarized my whole life and I'm still trying to get paid for it...I've spent half of my life in court...I'm an original person, my ideas make others think hard...they think hard...very hard and look at me now...with nothing, looking over the books like a tall and scandaloud midget, thinking of the way things used to be...thinking...hard...thinking...hard...thinking...hard...thinking...

    • roseflr profile image

      roseflr 9 years ago from PITTSBURGH

      Thanks for answering my request. It is indeed upsetting to find an entire article I wrote reproduced elsewhere with no hint of attribution. Unfortunately, my efforts to contact the offended haven't worked. My article was put into an online newsletter, which has no visible contact information.

    • vrajavala profile image

      vrajavala 9 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      I think you may have to check it our and if you want to copyright your work there may be extra steps that you have to go through.

      I believe that the work that we write here on hubpages, e.g. is owned by hubpages.

      If you have your own blog, you can put a copyright disclaimer on it or a "Fair use"

    • tulwave profile image

      tulwave 9 years ago from Orlando,Fl

      Great topic. I think people lose sight of what is and isn't plagarism in our cut and paste world.