What to do when you See Plagiarism on the Internet

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 20th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Blogs & Blogging

Plagiarism on the Internet is all too common and is the easy road taken by people trying to earn fast money doing minimal work. It is also Illegal, but just what do you do when you see it?

Consider This

Plagiarism is illegal but those who do it are hard to persecute mostly because the Internet is a world wide sensation and finding the culprits is nearly impossible, but this is not a reason to ignore the problem. If you see plagiarism, be it from your own works, or that of a stranger, you should act. Indeed if you write for the Internet yourself you would hope somebody would get involved on your behalf.

Here we refer to people who steal content, but you may note that stealing anothers copywrite protected art, or photography, is also a common problem.

How to Spot Plagiarism

Copy a sentence with strong key words from the article you are curious about into a search engine (or two) and see what pops up.

Obviously if you wrote original information it is easy for you to know that somebody has copied you. Otherwise it may be hard to tell if a person is simply publishing their own works on many sites, or if indeed one person has plagiarized another. Problems can arise here because people may use different names for different writing venues. It is very common for people to write for more than one paid site, but it is not so likely that a person would write for a paid site and a non paid site (such as Wikipedia).

Check the writing date. If the paid site was dated AFTER the non-paid one was written, then plagiarism should be suspected.

Be aware that some sites allow the sales of their articles written by their writers, Helium is a good example of this, and as such an article written there may have been sold to a different site, again in this case the article for the paid site would have been written before the other one, and generally the author is given proper credit.

What to do?

If you were plagiarized try to contact the writer and ask them to remove the article or to give you credit. You may even leave a message as a comment on pages that allow this. If this is not possible try to contact the site where your information was republished. In most cases the problem is solved at this stage, if not and one wants to take the matter further they need to send a letter requesting the user cease and desist stealing their work, and may need to contact the webhost. One can also contact the site they write for when ones own work is stolen.

You will want to note that many people will be able to get around this if they republish your work, credit it to you AND link back to your work itself.

If you find a Wikinut Article that was plagiarized from another site and are fairly confident the Wikinut author is not the original author, then write to Wikinut and send them a copy that you believe is the original source of the link.

Sites that pay people to write for them are generally very motivated to make sure the information they publish is not plagiarized and will usually be quick to act, often not only removing the plagiarized material but blocking the user.


Blog, Copy, Copywrite, Illegal, Internet, Paid, Plagiarism, Plagiarize, Site, What To Do, Write, Writers

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Gabriella Messina
2nd Oct 2011 (#)

Interesting article... glad to see some people on this site understand the concept of plagiarizism. My poem, "Vision of a Bright City, was stolen by a member of this site, Faris Mansor, and is still published in its entirety here under his name despite my writing both to him and to wikinut regarding the situation.

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