I recently found 18 websites who's owners had blatantly plagiarized my site. Most were word-for-word, a few loose derivatives, 3 even copied my “About Us” information for theirs. That boggles the mind. How can you not know enough about yourself that you have to copy someone else's information?
Last night I got one of those feelings to do something I don't normally do. There's a little voice in the back of your head that says “you should check this out.” My little voice was saying that I should check to see if anyone has been infringing on my copyrighted text and sure enough I found scads!!!
This article will explain what you can do if this happens to you.
There are some really cool tools out there that can help you check for plagiarism.
And of course, good ol' Google.
The first thing I did was Google a sentence from my site enclosed with quotes. ex. “Take your website to a whole new level with a Joomla! content management system.” When you enclose with quotes you get the exact phrase in the search results.
When I found a couple I was like a hound dog on the scent. I then checked with copyscape.com and that is much easier to use. It scans your site and finds copied material all over the web. The free version only gives you 10 results.
I headed over to plagiarismdetect.com. This website allows you to paste in blocks of text or you can upload a whole page. It scans the web for a combination of words similar to the sample.
I found a great resource at http://www.seologic.com/faq/copyright.php to help you take the next step. Here's what to do:
Take screen shots of the offending site. I use a cool tool called FireShot.
Send a cease and desist e-mail to each offender and copy it to your attorney. You can find templates for this on the web. Or have your attorney send the email.
Email or fax, depending on the policy a letter of complaint to the search engines. Many have templates you must fill out. You can find out how to do this at the link above.
Don't get personal! As we say in the South, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.
Don't lose your cool. The way I look at it is if these folks don't have enough talent, or knowledge to write about what they do for a living that they have to steal someone else's thoughtfully crafted text, then they certainly won't have the talent to sustain a business.