All you wish you did not need to know about Copied Content
Web plagiarism, or copied content, is more of a problem than ever before and blogs are a huge target. In addition to unethical tools and methods that are created purely for the purpose of copying some of the resources we use for legitimate reasons can also be used to scrape content.
Although search engines are quite good at working out what is copied and penalizes sites accordingly, there is always a chance that your site will be flagged as the copier rather than the originator. Cheap domain names and free blogging platforms mean that spammers and plagiarists can quickly get their sites ranked. Once they are penalized they move on to another domain or blog but not before they have claimed your content as their own.
Unfortunately we need to know how to check to see if our content is being copied and techniques to try to prevent it happening.
How do you find out if your content is being copied?
It can be hard to find all incidences of copying but you can do free checks on your more recent or popular posts. If you are having a big problem then there are premium tools that will monitor all of your site and report on violations.
Free Online Tools for finding copied content
Performing Google/Yahoo/Bing searches is often the best method. Use quotation marks around searches that contain the more common words or use snippets of your text that contain the most unique words.
Google Alerts – Copied content often includes a link back to your own post. Set up a Google alert that includes your blog url and be informed by email when content from your site appears in search results. This is a good way for checking for backlinks and mentions too. You can also set up alerts for phrases from a particular blog post. It would be time-consuming to do this for all posts but you could do this for posts you think the most likely to be stolen.
Grammarly is a tool for checking and correcting grammar mistakes as well as a plagiarism checker. Drag and drop or copy and paste text you wish to search.
With Plagium you can search the web, news or social networks by copying and pasting text into the search box. It is free for normal searches but charges apply for Quick or Deep Searches. Plagium uses Yahoo search
With Copyscape simply search by the url you want to check. The free version is limited to 10 results but hopefully that is all that you would need. Copyscape uses Google search. An advantage with the premium version is that it monitors your site automatically.
Copygator checks and monitors your RSS feed to find any content that has been republished on other blogs.
TinEye is an image plagiarism checker. I tried the free version on a profile image that I have published to a lot of sites and the results were poor. The pro version can do a lot more but is expensive.
How to take down copied content
Contact the website owner directly
Email or use a site’s contact form if they exist. The problem with this method is that you may be dealing with spammers and repeat offenders who won’t take any notice of your request. Be aware you may end up being subject to spam emails yourself. You could try to find the author on social network sites and contact them from there. Plagiarism Today provides a free collection of stock letters to use or get ideas from.
Report the Offending Site to Search Engines
Search Engine Reporting Contact Details:
Contact Their Hosting Company
- Find the Hosting Company – WhoIsHostingThis
- Contact the hosting company directly or for US hosts use Directory of US Service Provider Agents for Notification of Claims of Infringement
For major problems, that cannot be solved by the above methods, the last resort is to take legal action
If you want to study the plagiarism topic further check out plagiarism.org for much more information that you wish you did not need to know.
I think this is enough to take in for one post. My next post will talk about how to protect your site to try to prevent your content being stolen.
I have included just a selection of available plagiarism checking tools here. If you use a resource not listed here please let us know.