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Fighting Plagiarism

Plagiarism is rampant on the Internet. It seems that every other site contains plagiarized material.

If you make a habit out of checking the sites of your contacts, then checking their site with a service like CopyScape or CopyGator, you will be shocked to see that many people have plagiarized large swathes of their content – or have been the victims of subsequent plagiarism after their site was discovered by a digging content thief.

The sheer size of the web leads many to think that their plagiarism will go unpunished. If you find someone stealing your material, go after them as you would a thief running out your front door with your grandmother’s engagement ring!

There have been some surveys conducted recently which have shown that as many as 30% of the sites checked on the web have been publishing duplicate content. With the advent of programs like Google Adsense TM, there are more financial incentives to taking a shortcut to put up content quickly and effortlessly. Nothing is simpler than cut & paste – and thus far, many have been not only getting away with it but profiting from it as well.

So what is a blogger to do when one discovers that some cut & paste thief has been stealing your intellectual property and profiting from it via their MFA (Made For Adsense) pages?

Google hates content thieves as much as we do. They hate a lot of the things we hate, such as popups and popunders and punish pages that use them. Google has eliminated those annoying browser hijacking sites that polluted the web some years ago, and are also concerned with duplicate content. The Google page indexing algorithm carefully scans for duplicate (plagiarized) content and will punish the thieves. You can help them do this job.

If you find a site that contains AdSense code has illegally copied your site’s content, you should immediately report them to Google. Google claims that they will respond to notices of alleged infringement that do not comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other intellectual property laws. One way to hit them is in the pocketbook.

The notice should be sent directly from the owner of the copyrighted materials that have been stolen. Google does not accept notices from third parties, with the possible exception of your copyright attorney – if you have retained one.

Additionally, if you find a site that is scraping your content, you can report it for a potential violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. To do this, fill out the form at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport (you must be logged into your own Google account to access this form).

Content is king on the web, so if someone copies your hard work, readers do not know who the original author is. Some bloggers have even complained of pages with their stolen content getting a higher ranking in Google; higher page rank and probably making more money off of their stolen intellectual property.

This is a directly attributable effect and the most painful one, but the other less obvious one is the lowering of everyone’s KEI by the increase in content due to the ubiquitous explosion in plagiarized content. Your keywords could be as much as 30% more effective if the plagiarized content it competes with were banished effectively.

How do you find these plagiarists?
See our article on “Finding Plagiarists“.

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