Plagiarism


#1

Thanks, Caroline, for your recent email highlighting SVA blogs. I starting reading one and diverted into another about protecting your brand. I admit it’s ages since I thought about this and I had forgotten about Copyscape,so I did a check. Oh yes, a virtual business, of two people, has lifted 92 words (12%) of my page on pricing, and paraphrased other parts of my text. (I’ve successfully found their full names and addresses via LinkedIn and Companies House.)

I realise I’ve taken my eye off the ball here during the last few years of heavy workload. I am sure I used to have a copyright notice on each page but in my site refresh a year ago this seems to have been lost - I hadn’t noticed. It’s years since I spotted something similar on my previous site and wrote to the person concerned (and I can’t even remember how it ended, so much water having flowed under the bridge since then).

I just wanted to check how the forum sees this. Do you agree that the copying verbatim of 12% of a page (and my ideas) are worth following up, or was Caroline’s original blog more related to taking bigger chunks or whole pages of text? I note the reference to the affect on Google rankings. I don’t want to go overboard on this, partly because there are only a certain number of ways of describing similar businesses, but this is definitely copied from or based on what I wrote, minus my references (eg the SVA survey) and acknowledgement footnotes, and a link to someone else’s article on a relevant topic. Whilst imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, I am unhappy that they didn’t even ask. Thought I’d ask you all for your thoughts.


#2

12% you may have an issue with proving it to the webhosts to get the data removed, but I’d think that anyone being caught out having lifted the text would be fairly embarrassed and change it (well you hope so!!).

In other cases I’ve seen, it’s been basically a word for word lift of the entire site, just changing the business name and pictures! Google probably wouldn’t penalise you for this, but my worry would be that if they’ve done it once they’d do it again, and you might not even notice and it may well start to affect the site.

In this case, I’d contact the site owner, point out copyscape highlighted this as an issue and that BOTH sites will be penalised for duplicate content by Google. State when you wrote this blog, that it’s original content, copyright to you and as such you are asking that they remove the content by X date (I’d say 2 weeks is generous here, but worth giving them that time as they may not have the techie know how to do it themselves and have to get hold of a web designer).

See what happens. Ping me an email if you don’t get anywhere?


#3

Thanks Caroline, that’s very helpful indeed.

I have found a link in Copyscape which enables you to discover free when you first published a web page and the number of changes since. I’d already figured out the month I wrote mine (October 2012) but now I have the actual date. Copyscape > Plagiarism > Responding to Plagiarism bullet 6.

I’ll report back appropriately in due course.


#4

Caroline and all, I’m reporting in. I used Copyscape historic web views to work out exactly when they copied my text (because I had some PA salary information which I had annually updated) which was five years after I wrote it.

I wrote a polite email pointing out the facts, along the lines Caroline suggested, and I got an answer back within an hour; a rather formal one simply thanking me for bringing it to their attention. I’ve just checked, and the wording has already been appropriately amended or deleted.

It’s made me review things a bit more - I’d been so busy working for clients I’d let this slip.

Thanks so much Caroline. You are appreciated!


#5

Good result!

Yeah I think people do get very embarrassed about being caught out (and rightly so!) but at least they’ve removed it and it won’t cause you any other issues.