Chances are, at some point you will find that some intellectual property thieves have stolen your writing. In this world of cut & paste, people are used to simply taking what they want from the internet and posting it on their own site without giving a thought to the fact that this is stolen material.
As a creator of original content, this is very frustrating – however, thanks to a number of very good tools, such copyright violators, plagiarists and intellectual property thieves can be very easily uncovered and eventually dealt with.
First, how to find them. There are a number of tools – some even free – that you can use to find if your work has been stolen. The free tools enable you to do a one time search. For a fee, you can have your prized blogs or sites monitored on a daily basis.
If you zealously guard your intellectual property, you can really sock it to the thieves in court. Under US Law, you have three months to register your intellectual property with the US Copyright Office. Most people will not bother to register every blog post as it costs some $35 to do so (electronic filing rate.) However, if you find that someone has copied your material, you should register the copyright immediately and then go after them. If your copyright was registered within the three month time frame, you can not only sue to make them immediately remove the stolen intellectual property, but you can sue for damages and attorney’s fees. These damages can be substantial and ruinous for the plagiarist.
If you do not register your copyright (in the US only), then you cannot sue for attorney’s fees or damages, but can make them remove the offending material. Yes, this is in clear violation of the Berne Convention, but you are not going to fix that, the US Copyright Office is not likely to go away.
So without further ado, here are the means of finding these pesky plagiarists:
CopyScape has more advanced services as well.
- Premium Search: For $0.05 per search, a higher quality of search that allows you to check the originality of content before publishing it online. This service will make unlimited searches for copies of your pages. Use the premium service to scan your entire site Batch Search.
- CopySentry: Offers professional protection for your site against online plagiarism.
This service automatically monitors the entire web for copies of your pages. As soon as they find a copy you receive an email and can respond accordingly.
2.) CopyGator: Searches millions of feeds as well as nearly 200 million (and counting) blog posts for infringements. Best of all, CopyGator’s service is free as of this writing! You simply paste their code into your site and an RSS feed is created to monitor your site for thieves.
3.) CopyRightSpot: CopyRightSpot’s service is the most simple and they only provide a simple search very similar to the two previously listed services. They do not offer any monitoring as of this writing.
I’ve found the thieves… now what?
Punishing Intellectual Property Thieves without a lawyer…