What to Do if Your Work is Plagiarised
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What to Do if Your Work is Plagiarised

This article tells you what to do if your work has been plagiarised or copied and takes you through the process of reporting it and getting the offending copies removed from the internet.

Many writers do not know where to start if they find a copy of their work floating round cyber space. Some people even think there is nothing you can do, but there is. This is a simple step by step guide to getting the plagiarised copy of your work removed.

First you need to understand exactly what plagiarism is.

The dictionary defines it as:

“The verbatim copying or imitation of another author and representing them as one’s own original work.”

This is the legal definition:

“Plagiarism is taking the writings or literary ideas of another and selling and/or publishing them as one's own writing. Brief quotes or use of cited sources do not constitute plagiarism.”

http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/plagiarism/

Two facts come from this, one it needs to be verbatim to have a 100% chance of being proved, (any less and it is more difficult to prove), and it is the “passing it as one’s own” that is the clincher.

  1. Be Sure - This may sound obvious, but you need to be sure this is the same as your original article. A copy can be a verbatim replica, (word for word), or a partial copy with either whole paragraphs or phrases copied.  A verbatim document is plagiarised, so that is simple, but partial copies are harder to prove. Occasional phrases may be genuine coincidences, so the whole document would need multiple copies of your work for you to have any chance of proving “intent to copy”. You can do this by carefully reading both sets. It may be helpful to copy and paste them onto one document so you can highlight the pieces that are the same.
  2. Make a careful note of the URL of both the plagiarised copy and your original work. Include any other details such as the name of the person who copied your work, the date yours was published and also theirs, (and be sure yours was first, otherwise it is your work that is considered a copy).
  3. You must make an effort to resolve this yourself. This means contacting the site where this is published and the person involved asking that the offending article be removed immediately. Include the information containing both URLs and contact details, (generally an email address), for yourself. Give them time to answer, two working days is generally sufficient as any business should take this seriously and at least contact you to say they are investigating within this time frame.
  4. If you have no answer, or an unsatisfactory one, contact plagiarism authorities to report this matter. (see address below). They will ask for the details you noted from point 2 and usually answer quickly.
  5. You can also report plagiarised work to search engines, (the address below gives alternatives, google, yahoo etc), and if the work shows up on their engines they may remove it. Google has a page specially for reporting violations, but this requires you to know if the article is related to adsense, google+ and so on, (see address below), and they will remove the offending pages.
  6. If this work used Google adsense you can also report it to them by simply clicking the “adchoices” button located on the site. At the bottom of the page is a “report violation” link. Click this and follow the instructions to get this removed from Google’s list.

The plagiarism authorities will act swiftly and remove the offending work, but you do need to let them know about it. It only takes a few minutes.

I hope none of you need this information, but in case you do, use it. Do not sit and let people do this to authors. This is theft and it needs to be stopped.

This article is part of the series intended to suggest sites offering free tools to help other writers in their literary endeavours. They are; Royalty Free Images, Free Plagiarism Checkers Online,  Free Image Editor and  Free Dictionaries Online.

Plagiarism authorities for reporting incidences of plagiarism

http://www.reportplagiarismnow.com/report-plagiarism/        

Reporting plagiarism to search engines

http://www.plagiarismchecker.com/report-cheater.php

Google tools for reporting work

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport?hl=en

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Comments (26)

Thanks for all these links. It's very educating...

I hope others have more luck with this than I have. I have followed these steps five times and only once has anything been done. In my experience, acting on cyber plagiarism is symbolic at best.

Thanks for links

thank you much for this, very good info to keep close.

Plagiarism is like porn – you know it when you see it. Reminds me of the guy from Pakistan (English was probably his fifth language) who was stealing every featured Factoidz article and posting it as his own at Triond – complete with our bios at the bottom! He had a few of mine in there. His dimwitted followers were praising him for his wonderful articles. I did contact Triond and they booted his sorry ass out and deleted his articles and earnings. The Internet probably ruined journalism...

A detailed guideline for anyone having this issues, Jill.

Peter Curtis

Thanks for your article, a very interesting read again.

I have found some sites offer a flag system

Thank you so much for this valuable info.

Plargarism amounts to stealing. I have had this done to me before and it felt like I got my wallet stolen. Excellent advice.

Thanks for this, Jill and I hope I don't have to use it.

I didn't know it was that common but I just reported someone on Triond too a couple of days ago. I was reading his articles and I knew his previous articles were in broken english. These were just too good so I did a plagiarism check and he was copying and pasting them directly from Cracked.com.

Many thanks Jill, your links is very useful.

Very help to me as i faced this problem earlier.

Some of my work has been plagiarised on Wikipedia and they won't take it down.

I think Wikipedia is one of the most despicable, disreputable sites on the Internet. And more importantly, what many unwitting writers use as a template and model.

Glad this is of use to you, although it would have been better if it weren't.

Here, here, William!!!

Jill, Thanks so much for your info. I'll have a look at what this trouble-maker has done with my writings as soon as possible. Have a wonderful day, Gilbert

I wish these resources weren't necessary. Thanks for posting them. Voted.

Stealing parts of an article is bad enough, but the people who steal a complete article are the ones that really deserve punishment.

Thank you dear Jill, for this great info. I am really shocked when some of articles undergo unjust republication of unknown people. It pains a lot. thanks for this article. Voted. I am really sorry that I did not contact you for long.

Hope to see more of your writings. This article has been an inspiration for me. I am searching for sites to safeguard my writings. Will you please suggest some tips?

Jill, this is one of the most important articles that i have come across, outstanding work.

You have been through a lot in order to compose this information. I just had similar experience on another site and not with my material, but that of many others who published their work and had it stolen by a plagiarist. Thank you for your info here. Contact me in any way if I can assist you. If only to comment where your work was taken sometimes alerts others of the thievery.

Thank you all. I am no longer able to send massages on Factoidz, probable to stop me telling everyone about the copies of their work. I found 95 of my reviews copied word for word, HERE on Factoidz. Anyone who has written a review should check out http://factoidz.com/profile/staffreviewer/ to see if their work is also copied. These copies are also backdated to make it look as if the writer is the plagiariser and not the copy, so beware! I have written to Factoidz many times but got no answer.

Very helpful article and links for the new and experinced writers.

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