I recently stumbled upon another book marketing blog post and I noticed the article appeared stunningly similar to a post I had written a few months back. Out of curiosity, I decided to read on and to check other posts this blogger had written. Thoroughly astonished, I learned she didn’t just copy my exact opinions and phrases from one article and pass them on as her own (changing only the titles), she actually copied several and word-for-word in many places. Enrage would be too strong of a word to describe how I felt at the time about a person I had never met before, but I couldn’t help but take this personal. I was NOT at all happy – to say the least. After further investigation, I additionally learned this blogger (RE-WRITER) had been a subscriber to my blog’s email list. So I guess you can say I’ve been “filling her plagiarism tank” for the past year.
Let’s be honest, it’s quite common to check out the competitors from time to time for gaining valuable insight. But whether or not I follow other experts in the industry and utilize the information I learn through competitive analysis to formulate future articles on my blog – it has always been important for me that I put out genuine and unique content and only write about what I know. On this point alone, I can remember every word and sentence I have ever written. To make a long story short, I am in the process of integrating a new WordPress plugin that will hopefully deter others from doing this in the future. It has disabled the RIGHT CLICK and COPY functionality one has when visiting a site. I will also be issuing a letter to the RE-WRITER kindly requesting she take down the content she did not originate and I’m hoping she will not have a problem with this.
But what can you do avoid this from happening to you?
My Virtual Assistant colleague and friend, Crystal Curran of REVAVille VA Mentoring and RedHotVA.com, has recently crafted a very insightful post on this topic.
Types of Plagiarism: Living on the net, plagiarism is a worry we should all be concerned with. Here are a few links that will help you in your quest to thoroughly understand what plagiarism is and is not, make certain you are not doing it to others and to protect yourself from it happening to you.
First off, let’s educate ourselves about what it truly is and is not. Here is a great source to make sure you are in the clear, because plagiarism is not always black and white. Plagiarism.org: http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/types-of-plagiarism is a great place to find info. They also have a white paper with examples you can download. The article is geared to papers, but as you will find out soon, the internet is made up of these types of papers.
Checking Our Content: We should all try to be diligent (but not obsessive) to check around the web to see if there are any copies of our work and pages. Most know of http://copyscape.com/ (free and paid) that helps you find people who may have copied your content around the web. There are also other tools to help as well, such as http://plagiarisma.net/ and http://www.plagiarismchecker.com/. Both are great alternatives to help make certain your content is yours and yours alone. I would suggest checking for plagiarism every 6 months to allow google to index others information on the Internet.
How to Prevent Plagiarism on Your Website: Wikipedia states “There are a range of approaches that attempt to limit online copying, such as disabling right clicking and placing warning banners regarding copyrights on web pages. Instances of plagiarism that involve copyright violation may be addressed by the rightful content owners sending a DMCA removal notice to the offending site-owner, or to the ISP that is hosting the offending site.”
Disable RIGHT CLICK on your website:
- For Images: No Right Click Images plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/no-right-click-images-plugin/) will deter people from grabbing images. This will not deter all thieves, but if you watermark your important images, they will not be “as tasty” to those who steal.
- For Text: WP Copy Protect plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-copyprotect/) will disable selection of text, disable right click, and you can specify your own settings
Information on DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act):
- Educate yourself on DMCA by visiting this this link (http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf) for a pdf you can download.
Stock Cease and Desist Letters: PlagiarismToday (https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stock-letters/) has a great example of a Cease and Desist Letter, DMCA Notice to Host and also SMCA notice to search engine. Each letter has a downloadable file in rtf you can have to your records.
Contracts and Other Items: There are several companies who can help with contracts. One in particular is LegalZoom (https://www.legalzoom.com/), and another option is Our Deal (https://www.ourdeal.com/), where you can securely customize, store and share legally binding contracts in minutes. They also have templates to start out with or you can upload your own.
About the Authors:
Crystal Curran has been a Online Business Manager and Real Estate Virtual Assistant since 1997. She has worked with many entrepreneurs in various capacities, such as coach, mentor and tech savvy business partner.
Michelle Anastasio-Festi is the Founder and CEO of CT Virtual Assistance. With more than 15 years of career experience in Marketing, Publicity & Media, her firm specializes in savvy virtual assistant services encompassing marketing, PR, and creative services, specifically targeted towards authors, public speakers, and coaches.