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Help! I've been plagiarised!

Updated on July 12, 2014

What can you do if your work is stolen?

You've just discovered that someone has stolen your content. All that hard work you put in, the research and the sweat, casually ripped off your site by an unscrupulous thief.

These thieves don't just steal your hard work, they steal your traffic, they steal your product, and they steal your income.

Don't let them get away with it!

There are professional ways to deal with thieves, here are some steps to take when your content has been stolen.

Big Stock Photo

Find out who has stolen your work

Look for a name and contact on the site. Can't find a name or contact?

Is this a page hosted by a large company, such as wordpress.com? For blogs on wordpress.com go to http://automattic.com/dmca/ where there is a form for you to submit.

Go to a domain-based search service such as whois lookup or to Better Whois Get the name from there.

You could send a polite email to the thief if you think your work has been stolen out of ignorance. However ignorance is no excuse, t's up to people who run sites and blogs to familiarise themselves with copyright law.

Or you can send off a Cease and Desist Notice

Cease and Desist Notice

Warning : This Cease and Desist Notice only works with people who genuinely have no idea that 'copying' your work is theft. That's about 1% of the total number of thieves.

I've given up on sending these notices. Nowadays I go straight to Google, but here's the legal notice.

Dear [name]

I am the proprietor of all copyright in the literary work entitled [your website URL] (The "Work"). I have reserved all rights in the Work, which was first expressed in material form on [date first written].

It has come to my attention that your work entitled [infringing URL] is substantially similar to my copyrighted Work. Permission was neither asked nor granted to reproduce my Work and your Work therefore constitutes infringement of my rights.

In terms of the Copyright Statutes, I am entitled to an injunction against your continued infringement, as well as to recover damages from you for the loss I have suffered as a result of your infringing conduct.

In the circumstances, I demand that you immediately:

1. Delete all remaining online and offline copies of the infringing content and notify me in writing that you have done so;

2. Cease any further use and distribution of the copyrighted material on other websites;

3. Undertake in writing to desist from using any of my copyrighted Work in future without prior written authority from me.

I await to hear from you by no later than close of business on [date in 5 days' time].

This is written without prejudice to my rights, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

Sincerely

[Your name]

What to do if your Cease and Desist Notice is ignored

  1. Go to Google and ask that your content be removed from the thief's site. Tell Google!
  2. Contact the web host, you've already checked the whois records for the site owner's name. These records also list the name of the domain registrar and the contact details of the website host. Tell the web host that your work has been stolen.

Warning to Web Host

Dear [website host]

This is to inform you that your client [thief name] is infringing on my copyright with their website [infringing URL] which has been hosted by you since [creation date listed].

The stolen content has clearly been [scraped / spun / plagiarized] from my website at [your URL] [and is now blacklisted by Google as per my DMCA complaint - if applicable]. Your client has ignored my Cease & Desist letter and if the infringement continues I will be seeking legal action.

As per copyright laws, I request that you remove all content from [infringing URL] within the next 48 hours and notify me of your action.

Below is a complete list of URLs infringing on my copyright: [If the stolen content appears on multiple pages, list them here.]

Sincerely

[Your name]

Please note, I did not write these sample letters.

They can be found, with minimally different wording, at

Free Legal Documents

Rights for Artists

Plagiarism Today

Contact Affiliates

Is the thief using affiliate links?

Contact those affiliates and explain that your content has been stolen.

Whoops! Have you plagiarised something without realising?

Is it Plagiarism?
If you have to ask if you're plagiarising, then you most probably are plagiarising. Intentional thieves, fraudsters and cold blooded scammers know perfectly well what they are doing, but there are some people who have literally no idea that plagiar...

Have you had your content stolen? Do you know of someone who has?

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    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 3 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      It is a constant battle and a fact of life. I hate it.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      It is a constant battle checking for stolen content. Drives me absolutely crazy. I wish they would just take the time to be proud of their own accomplishments and create something uniquely their own.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 5 years ago

      This has happened to me before and it's infuriating. Not only did someone steal my own content off my own website but they published it on a well known article site and ranked higher up in Google for it than me, despite the fact mine was 3 years old and theirs was brand new! I emailed the article site who took over a week to take it down, then I discovered a whole lot of others of mine on other article sites, all ranking higher than mine. It's unfair and makes me seething angry!!

    • profile image

      Sadheeskumar 5 years ago

      Many of my squidoo lenses are completely copied and posted in some blogspots. Because of that i am getting problem while updating it with Squidoo. We have to live with these thieves.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Thanks for this very useful lens. There are some very unethical people in cyberspace.

    • Protasker profile image

      Barbara 5 years ago from USA

      I have been complaining about this in regards to my Miami Vice Junkie lens!! I have reported it and nothing was done. This information was very helpful, Thank You!! Angel Blessed!

    • profile image

      Glendame 5 years ago

      where can I find the email addresses for particular hosts?

    • avigarret profile image

      avigarret 5 years ago

      There are so many cases of online theft, information like this is very useful and can both motivate, and save some butts.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Susanna. I'm using your information to go after the bandits!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Susanna, great for people to know it is not hopeless when their content is stolen. I also have used 2 of your very useful posts on my blog about plagarism and copyright :)

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Susanna, great for people to know it is not hopeless when their content is stolen. I also have used 2 of your very useful posts on my blog about plagarism and copyright :)

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      Excellent tips and very straight forward. I'm going to use your form letter tonight. Thank you! Blessed for being so helpful!

    • PapaKork profile image

      PapaKork 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for creating yet another extremely helpful lens! I had to bookmark this!

    • Beadsnresin profile image

      Beadsnresin 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot, what a great lens!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Had to pin this on my crucial Squidoo tips board. I'll be recommending it to lots of friends.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Had to pin this on my crucial Squidoo tips board. I'll be recommending it to lots of friends.

    • profile image

      GetSillyProduct 5 years ago

      Excellent lens, I wish I would have known some of this stuff a couple of times! Liked and pinned and in my bookmarks for future reference :)

    • profile image

      Africanos 5 years ago

      Great lens.I have mentioned this lens in my lens article spinning.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      I do not think I have had my content stolen, but I do know a few who have had to deal with content thieves. Excellent aid for those who must deal with plagiarism and I will be passing your lens link forward.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Dear Susanna,

      I added this excellent lens of yours to the sidebar of my newest lens. Hope it helps!

      Sincerely,

      Rose

    • profile image

      gemjane 5 years ago

      Great lens--thanks for putting so much effort into this!

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 5 years ago

      I think this is an important lens, especially for those who derive some money from the articles they write. I only write for enjoyment and therefore, it is not as big an issue for me. It is unfortunate that this problem exist but it does. For me, time is limited with all the things I wish to do and it is simply not worth my time and effort to pursue it. I suppose, to stretch a point, if someboldy borrows a book from somebody else ... are they infringing upon an author's rights because if it the book were to be shared by 50 people, he has lost out on 50 sales. Just a thought.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you, very helpful.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Came back to google +1 this gem. Thank you for taking the time to put this together, as writers we DO have rights.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Ohh, this is really good, I'd love to feature it on my lens about Copyscape with your express permission first (Bio page is fine). It's so infuriating, isn't it to have your hard work stolen. Thank you so much for doing this lens.

      Sincerely,

      Rose

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      @Lady Lorelei: Well put, and you know what? These people have no empathy at all either. It IS criminal.

    • TheLastResort LM profile image

      TheLastResort LM 5 years ago

      This is great information - I had no idea the web hosting company could be contacted. Thanks!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Good insight

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Plagiarism is a terrible thing. It is a crime and it hurts real people. I wrote an article on crows because I felt very badly on how this intelligent bird is often treated. A plagiarist got his / her hands on it, put it through an article spinner to come up in a negative light but still maintaining my keywords and first paragraph, and then spun it everywhere on the web in hundreds of copies. I was devastated, and set out to fight him/her, but I still find so many copies of this plagiarized work out there due the sheer number of plagiarized copies that this person put out there. Plagiarism is a crime and it is stealing. Just because you do not see your victim does not mean that there is not one out there.

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 5 years ago

      Excellent lens! A few years ago I found that 18 articles I wrote were stolen, along with my artwork. Then I found my entire website had also been stolen - layout and all - and someone had replaced my affiliate numbers with their own - all 350 of them (It was my first and only try at a large affiliate site.) Since their host was in a foreign alphabet and looked like Iranian or Turkish, and I was such a newbie and wimp, I gave up. I won't do that next time and will refer to this lens! Thanks for making it.

    • profile image

      RussKeith 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information! I'm now waiting to hear back from Google.

    • Tech Gadgets Ga profile image

      Tech Gadgets Ga 5 years ago

      Nice tips, thanks. I just looking for this kind of help

    • headforthehills profile image

      headforthehills 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips it is a great reference i hope I never have to use

    • headforthehills profile image

      headforthehills 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips it is a great reference i hope I never have to use

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      Thanks for the resources and tips. I bookmarked this in case I ever find out that my content has been stolen.

    • profile image

      BeyondRoses 5 years ago

      You have a good idea, I had not thought of. "Is the thief using affiliate links? Contact those affiliates and explain that your content has been stolen." I've had stolen content, where they stole my article, inserted themself as the author, then used the same affiliate. Might not be so hard to prove, as they were stealing in bundles, mine and many others.

      Good info to deal with a distressing problem. Sighs ... and they're still out there, all over the place.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      A great resource for when it finally occurs though truthfully I haven't looked into too hard. I guess I just don't wanna deal. :)