One dilemma a writer face when publishing quality articles and blog posts is being copied without permission and even attribution. This recently happened to me in the Philippine Internet Review blog. It is important to be vigilant, at a paranoid level, when it comes to protecting your original work. With precautions in place, I received an alert in four consecutive days about my articles being posted in a newly created domain and blog site.
In this case, whenever the blog site owner’s attention is called through the comments section, the copied article, that has no attribution of source (making it a plagiarism act), gets deleted, only to re-surface later in another sub-domain of the same blog site.
To run after a copyright violator and plagiarist, especially those who took effort of not disclosing their identity, these are the steps I’ve taken:
1. Contact the violator and ask your articles to be removed from their site. Cite the copied article website address and the original article website address (from your site). Just ask it straight. No need to be threatening or combative.
If you get ignored, or did not receive a reply within twenty-four hours, take the next step.
2. Use the WhoIs service to find out your violator’s identity to ensure you got it right, domain registrar, and web hosting firm serving their needs. Send an e-mail to the violator in response to your previous e-mail and this time copy furnishing the web hosting service. In writing to the web host, I find it effective to not only write to the one handling abuses and support but copy furnish as well the billing department. Keep on doing this for every additional violation you discover in the site. If you receive no response, escalate the complaint by taking the next step.
3. Attack their source of income. Even if violators don’t disclose their identity online, you’ll likely find it having advertisements in their blog site. Some will probably be using Google AdSense. Note that these revenue generation sites have strict provision that their program should not be used in any illegal activity. Forward the e-mail complaint that you sent to the violator, registrar, and web host to the ad revenue complaints and support section to request for the cancellation of their account. If you don’t receive a response soon enough, then get more people to join your cause by taking the next step.
4. Alert other victims. You will likely find that the violator has not only plagiarized your blog or site but of others as well. As the violator did not show the source of their articles, do a search on the title to find the source of the original article. Write to them and alert of a particular article that got copied from their site, informing them of the actions you’ve taken and encourage them to complain as well.
There are escalation steps that I can take further if the violator’s site continues to exist and plagiarize. At this point, its content already got deleted and I’m uncertain if it will be the end of it.
There is also the option of doing all the steps above at once. However, I prefer taking that steps in order as I would like to presume some level of no bad intent at first. If no action is taken, escalate your actions as necessary.
I hope this will be useful to all blog or site owners whose content copyright got violated.