3. Way Back Machine and other documentation
4. C&D letters
5. Tell the host to pull the plug
6. Register copyright.
The best way to prevent plagiarism is to stay alert! You should either copyright your content, or write to the infringer. The latter might not work very well though!
You can not "prevent" anyone from copying your content. Sure as night and day, someone will grab your stuff thinking they won't get caught - or - give the "I didn't know I couldn't copy it" song and dance.
Once you discover you've been copied - first off make sure it's something worthwhile to pursue. For 1 sentence it's probably not worth the hassle. On the other hand if they copy significant material like whole paragraphs or pages of text you are justified to take action. Assuming you refer to website copying make sure you print the pages that have the infringing material as this is the basis for your complaint.
You can email/call the offending party to try and resolve. If that doesn't work file a DMCA Copyright Infringement Complaint with their web host. If that doesn't work your alternative is find a lawyer and 1. send a C&D letter 2. if that doesn't work sue for copyright infringement. It's an expensive course of action so tread lightly and decide if the potential outcome is worth the expense.
In my experience, most people will remove the content when you send a letter that explains you are the original author and request they remove the content.
Most people apologize and remove the content quickly.
On an interesting note, I once had someone give me permission to publish their article on my site, and after I published it, threatened to sue me for copyright infrigement. After emailing this person, they apologized and said they forgot they gave permission! Good thing I kept all their old emails.
Agree - "most" will make a change once you contact them. It's the others that ignore you that compel further legal action.
It probably wouldn't hurt to mention somewhere on your site that you have pursued plagiarists in the past.
Usually, upon locating a copyright infringement, I go straight to the hosting provider with a take-down request. (The infringer is almost always completely aware of what he's done. Tt has proved, in general, to be fairly pointless to ask the "bad guy" please to be good -- although the obscenity-laden self-justifications one receives in reply to such requests can make for some interesting reading.)
"The infringer is almost always completely aware of what he's done."
Especially when they copy whole pages of text.
I usually ask them to take down the copyrighted material or provide a link back to my site as acknowledgement. Most of the time, they take down the material, but a few times, Iíve gotten a free link out of it and am Okay with this arrangement too.
That's like trying to herd cats.
1. Register your copyright
2. Do some serious bot blocking to stop it before it happens
3. Use the DMCA to knock the offline when you catch them
Use a non-word or uniquely odd phrase in your content -- it will making "snark hunting [google.com]" much easier.
|Use a non-word or uniquely odd phrase in your content -- it will making "snark hunting" much easier |
I use hidden code using CSS to make it blend into the background. It's a 6 digit code following by a dash and their IP address encoded such as "XXYYZZ-10234566789", and the dash is needed so you can search for the code. However, this code only goes to visitors, not search engines, so you need some logic behind it.
Make sure your code doesn't show up in a Google search before you start.
Another thing you can try which is easier is embedding hidden silly text using CSS such as "Purple Omnipresent Flatulent Aardvarks Obliquely Frolic in Obsequiousness" which put several fairly unique words in the actual text which are very easy to find in Google.
I also have one another trick up my sleeves, outside of the usual recourses (contacting the plagiarist, host, adsense, etc), if the infringer refuses to cooperate. Someone who copies your whole articles often copies others. I search for the original authors and notify them too. A little gang banging action ensues and they might just decide to call it quit this time, dropping the whole site instead of just removing a few of your articles.
I don't think you can do it,just like you cann't prevent somebody look you articles
Regarding Copyright: In the US, (and other Berne Convention countries), there is implied copyright on all original works. Whether or not the copyright "©" (c) symbol or other copyright notice is present. The only thing registering with the Copyright Office does is let you sue for statutory (triple?) damages.
I always understood it as; "if you didn't create something, you know someone else did".
Then we have those cases where you write something and don't realize you read it somewhere else yesterday.
Then we have those cases where you write something and don't realize you read it somewhere else yesterday.
Use google alerts to notify you when they crawl a page with your content. Pick an unusual phrase for the search string ("cheap airfares" prob isn't a good one, but "last time I was in brazil I slept on the beach for 17 days" would be better) and wait for Google to alert you. Once you've been alerted, DMCA.
I agree with Koan. Gang action can help. Unfortunately, laws are not getting any stricter. It is becoming increasingly difficult to track down infringers, leave alone stopping them from copying your content. I guess this special coding thing can be implemented. But, am not too sure about the technicalities... too bad with such stuff :-(
My opinion seems a little different than the above so...
#1 - let google figure out what to rank and what not to. If someone copies you, they likely won't be able to rank it anyway.
#2 - use the "base href=" tag in your header to stop theft via iframe.
Otherwise, don't lose a minutes sleep over it, that is unless you have time to spare and deep pockets and write exceptional content.
|they likely won't be able to rank it |
That's the sad part, some do, a "major" web site scraped a whole section off my site and now rank higher with my content, I've contacted Google and got the DMCA form reply, contacted the site and received no reply, their host states they only accept legal orders by mail and offer no email contact.. My only remaining option is to take legal action which is way below the bottom of my favorite things to do, it's sad to the level where I now dread looking up my keywords in serps, it's like a stab that won't heal.
Outside the US
- forget about registering copyright (copyright by definition is automatic the moment you wrote it almost everywhere around the world.)
- forget about the DMCA unless the infringer is in the US, then follow the procedure to gt it taken down
When in doubt: get a lawyer.
|copyright by definition is automatic the moment you wrote it almost everywhere around the world. |
Copyright is automatic in theory, but proving you own the copyright is a different problem. Registering your materials is the best way to prove that you own the copyright.
Don't think plagiarism is restricted to your text content. We spend hours taking photos of our products - backgrounds, poses, lighting, angles, cropping, etc.
Then someone comes along with their right-click of a mouse button and uploads it to their site. And they're not so easy to find via a google search.
My first email to them tends to say "if it's not taken down, I'll assume you are happy for us to reproduce any and all of your content on our site".
It's worth pointing out that although the DMCA is US legislation, Google states:
|The form of notice... is consistent with the form suggested by the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the text of which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office Web Site, [copyright.gov)...] but we will respond to notices of this form from other jurisdictions as well. |
My emphasis. Source: [google.com...]
So, in theory it doesn't matter where the perpetrators are. All you need do is fill in the form. Unfortunately it would appear from comments here that perhaps G is none too fast in coming forward. Perhaps that merely reflects the volume of DMCA-type requests they and other search engines receive...
[edited by: Syzygy at 11:48 am (utc) on April 15, 2008]
A small tip against automatic scraper sites - insert something like "Originally published on www.example.com/article_page" few times inside the article. There is a Wordpress plugin that does this automatically, possibly for other platforms as well.
Of course it is easy to remove the link, but my sense is that scrapers are too lazy for this, if they weren't - they would create something of their own.
|Registering your materials is the best way to prove that you own the copyright. |
If you're talking about a web site where you regularly update or add content to the site, how often do you amend your original copyright registration?
Where content is updated or changed regularly, the US Copyright Office states the following:
|Revisions and Updates |
Many works transmitted online, such as websites, are revised or updated frequently. Generally, copyrightable revisions to online works that are published on separate days must each be registered individually, with a separate application and filing fee (unless it meets the requirements in the following two sections).
In some cases, a frequently updated online work may constitute an automated database. A group of updates, published or unpublished, to a database, covering up to a 3-month period within the same calendar year, may be combined in a single registration.
Serials and Newsletters
Group registration (a single registration covering multiple issues published on different dates) is available for serials (published weekly or less often) and daily newsletters (published more often than weekly), including those published online.
That's just the briefest of summaries. For greater detail go here:
As an addendum they really should state that whilst registering your copyright is the right thing to do, it's quite a complicated process and we'll not make it too easy for you!
Still, I suppose if you go through such a process once you can consider yourself an old hand!
Interesting to note that in the UK, there are no official channels through which you can register your copyright. There are however a number of private, commercial organisations who act as unofficial copyright repositories, none of which have official endorsement.
In the UK, the attitude is that copyright is automatically asserted and any challenge to copyright ownership requires a burden of physical or documented proof, for which one may best be served by willybefriendly's list in the second post in this thread!
[edited by: Syzygy at 2:01 pm (utc) on April 15, 2008]
I've set up several Google alerts. Usually only catches the scrapers since they dont bother to take out our site name and copyright text!
Notifying most hosts will do nothing but make you more frustrated in my experience. I've always been given the brush off.
I would think that registering your page with Google via sitemaps would at least give you preference in the rankings for your own text.
It's going to get harder and harder to track down site owners if they make all whois anonymous.
I do wish there were a service out there that would file the DMCA's for us for a nominal fee.
[edited by: Bewenched at 7:50 pm (utc) on April 15, 2008]
Whois is becoming a joke as more people try to hide.
Find a current host thru your command prompt using -
(use the domain you want to find the host for)
The last line should give you the host domain and you
can look them up from there. If the last line is an IP#
look at the preceeding line or 2.
|let google figure out what to rank and what not to. If someone copies you, they likely won't be able to rank it anyway |
That's incorrect as Google doesn't know who wrote what and there have been many instances of blog feed sites outranking the blog for it's own content, or scrapers that know SEO better outranking the sites they scraped, etc.
|forget about registering copyright (copyright by definition is automatic the moment you wrote it almost everywhere around the world.) |
People mistakenly don't understand that it's also true in the US in that the minute you create it you have a common copyright. The difference is when you register your copyright in the US the law gives you more teeth to deal with the infringer and you can get statutory damages.
|forget about the DMCA unless the infringer is in the US, then follow the procedure to gt it taken down |
The search engines are in the US so they have to comply with the DMCA notices, you can see many international copyright take down notices filed with Google on Chilling Effects.
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