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How to Fight Back if Your Content is Plagiarized

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February 25,2015

 

By Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

 

One of the great things about being published online is the way in which your article or blog post can be shared around the world. It’s an effective method to educate and inform your audience, build your credentials and gain recognition.

The flip side of this viral exposure is someone might copy your article and present it as his or her own work. I’ve had that experience. I wrote a well-researched article as a guest blog post for a prestigious blog in my field, and it ended up on another site, slightly altered and not crediting me as the author. 

If that happens, is there anything you can do? You bet – I won this battle, and it was worth the effort. It’s important to take immediate action. I’ll show you what I did, and how. Don’t let anyone steal your hard work and reuse it without your permission or byline!

In my case, I received an email informing me that they discovered a post I’d written about Amazon’s Algorithms was now published on a site without listing me as the author of the piece. I immediately contacted the site to tell them I wrote the article and I asked for credit.

Their response? I was added as a “resource” at the end of the article. This was not acceptable so I emailed them again, asking to be cited as the author of the piece since I wrote it. Interestingly enough, they wrote back to tell me I WAS listed as the author even though that was not the case. By then, I realized it was time to move to Plan B.

First, I had to learn where the site had registered its domain. This site used GoDaddy. You can figure this out by using this site: https://who.is and pasting the site’s domain into the search bar. You’ll also learn who owns the site, as well as additional details that might come in handy. Then you can file a complaint with the domain company. Here is the link for GoDaddy, I’m sure most domain sites have forms like this.

Don’t forget about Google. File a complaint with them, too. They also have a handy form you can use.
The domain company and Google will then investigate the matter and give you an update. I know from experience that both GoDaddy and Google take trademark and copyright infringement seriously, and they respond promptly to complaints.

While these steps will take a little time to complete, it’s important to follow through and not let anyone steal your work. If you have the information you need to file a complaint, do it. It’s not just for you but for everyone who posts good content online with the expectation that it belongs to them.

So, how did it end? The plagiarized article is no longer on the site. After I sent in my complaint, GoDaddy contacted me with some additional questions. Within 48 hours of my response, they got back to me, and not long after that, I heard from the website’s owner. He claimed to be surprised I’d filed a complaint (and copied GoDaddy on the email to me). However, I wasn’t having any of that, and informed him that he shouldn’t be surprised since I’d contacted him first to give him a chance to rectify the situation. When he didn’t take action, I filed the complaint. I let him know that when you repost someone else’s work you have to credit the author of the work – and you should ask the author for permission before you use their content. The offending website was taken offline for a day or so while this situation was investigated, and once they removed the article they were back online.

In the end, the (relatively little) time it took to handle this matter was worth it. If you ever find your content misappropriated, just follow these steps. Don’t let the plagiarists win!
 

 

 

 


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.

 

 

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