Imagine the scenario: You’ve just finished a beautifully written and well-researched piece of content. You click publish. You reap the rewards and praises from readers. You find out, after a month, your work has been passed up as another person’s original writing.
You’ve just been plagiarized!
But fear not. Modern technology is here to help you from being a victim again. Take these tips for writing and help solve the plagiarism dilemma.
It’s like borrowing but not really. It’s more of literary theft. And more specifically, cyber-cheating. It’s not accidental. Writers who plagiarize did it deliberately. But even if you do acknowledge your sources in your work, improper or under acknowledgment of sources is still considered plagiarism.
According to Wikipedia, it is a “wrongful appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas or expressions and representing them as one’s original work.”
Cut, copy and paste with no effort at all.
Is it copyright infringement?
No, there is a difference between the two. Think of plagiarism as the ethical violation while the other one is a legal crime. The acts may be the same, but if you ask a lawyer, he will give you a different interpretation.
Should we stop plagiarism?
Absolutely! It is a crime, after all.
Little do these cunning plagiarists realize how much damage they can do to the original source, (writer, web page, published material).
Innocent readers will start to wonder whether the original writer is indeed the original writer. Reputations are at stake.
In terms of revenue, the original content will have revenue taken away (example by AdSense).
Google’s SEO update will hit the original work while the plagiarized work will get rewarded.
It promotes literary creativity stagnation since plagiarists won’t do much research.
You lose valuable time by having to detect and prevent plagiarism all the time.
The list could go on.
Tools to help detect plagiarism
It may be impossible to totally eliminate plagiarism, but at least you can prevent it with free tools.
Google Search – Just type in a few lines (or the entire text) you suspect has been plagiarized. Look for exact matches.
Google Alert – Set it to notify you when there are copycats lurking.
Copyscape – Probably the most popular among the rest, Copyscape helps you detect copies of your work with the percentages of the copied work.
Plagium – Search for copies of large amounts of your content. It also uses other languages aside from English.
Article Checker – Uses Yahoo or Google to search for duplicates.
Grammarly – is a proof-reading service that analyzes your content and shows you the source of any plagiarized content.
Put up a fight
So what can you do when you find out someone’s been stamping your work as their own?
You can write an email to the site’s webmaster and let them know your discovery. Ask them to take down the copied content.
After a few days of no reply, you can file a report to the major search engines stating your case.
As a last resort, you could file a case with your attorney to have legal action done to the website owners.
Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but don’t mistake plagiarism for imitation. It’s a totally different art form. The good news is that there are now laws to help stifle this crime and that search engines do penalize these content thieves.
Content writers should be aware of the proper citation skills they learned in journalism classes. If they don’t know, maybe they should take these tips for writing and do a refresher course in Composition 101.
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