A few months back when my article was plagiarised and copied I was clueless, did not quite know what to do until my friend guided me through the procedure. I contacted the webhost asking for deletion of the content immediately and warning the infringer. The user was warned and the content was removed immediately. I do not know what happened to the violator after that. Does he still plagiarise, does he still copy? I am not sure, but what I know is that plagiarism didn't stop at that. In this vast world of freelancing, we are bound to face this one day or the other. We better be prepared and aware.
So, what followed next is a series of searches and thorough study on copyright infringement. I was enlightened as to many important facts and myths of freelancing. Like, anything we publish online retains our copyrights no matter what. Like, we never lose copyrights to any material original and many such facts that I barely knew. In this article, I am sharing my research with you .
In many instances, the violator does not even know the gravity of the internet infringement and he thinks that anything on the internet is free, which is an utter misconception. However, having said this, nothing is more unethical than copying blatantly from someone else’s material and publishing as our own. This is morally not done and we need to report for ourselves and others as well. Anything on the internet is subjected to copyright laws and infringing those are highly illegal.
What should we do to ensure exclusive rights to our content?
1. Make the blog original
2. Use tag lines, phrases that are uniquely yours
3. Create back links to our own articles
4. We can use codes to restrict copy-paste option
5. Water mark our photos @ picmarkr
6. Put plagiarism checker, copyscape badges on our blog to warn the violator (the idea is to check for the duplicated content intermittently)
7. Enlist our blog with google alert and get alerts whenever our blog is being clicked and copied
8. Copyright our contents in the format "Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]" (Even though all materials original retains the copyright of the original creator by DMCA)
What to do when our content is copied or duplicated?
First and foremost, we have to decide to what extent our material is being taken. If it’s in bits and pieces and represented differently then I think we better just let go. I would personally do that. But if the whole or most of it is copied, I think we should chase the theft.
1. Gather as much date evidence as possible including the screenshots or copies of the dates, comments were made to the original post.
2. Find a contact email address for the offending Web site. If you can’t find an email address on the site, do a WHOIS search for the webhost. This will lead to the host of the Web site.
3. Take screenshots of the copied material on the website where the content has been copied.
4. Document every link that validates your copyright. Gather all the comments on the articles with dates and time and preserve the screen shots.
How to deal with the infringer?
1. Send the violator a friendly email asking for removal of the content or giving credits and backlinks to the original article, whichever suits you. In most cases this works. Nothing like a polite, friendly approach but If this doesn’t work,
2. Ask the website host to take action against the violator, warning and subsequently banning him because of his action
All said and done, we need to ask ourselves what next? We need to ask ourselves how important it is to fight the patent. If it doesn’t really harm us we should leave it at that. However, if it’s really deprecating for our business and means a huge loss to the company and its reputation, we must go ahead with the civil law of copyright infringement. Not to forget the additional baggage the lawsuit comes with. Money, time, hassle – all considered, we need to document every move and make sure that we do it right for we do run the risk of being sued for defamation charges with slightest carelessness.
So you decide to go ahead. How?
1. Cease and desist notice:send a C&D letter to the violator. A cease-and-desist order can be issued by a judge or government authority, and has a well-defined legal meaning. In contrast, a cease-and-desist letter can be sent by anyone, although typically they are drafted by a lawyer.
2. DMCA to webhost: As per law, webhosts are supposed to take strict actions against websites that copy any copyrighted work from other websites.
3. DMCA letter to google adsense: This is one of strong actions that we can take where the website owner can actually get banned from Google Adsense.
4. DMCA letter to others: Apart from Google Adsense, you can send DMCA letters to other services from where this website is generating business
Lastly one thing that we must keep in mind. 'Copyright holders should not, under any circumstance, use existing copyright laws to impede fair use rights, silence critics, or resolve unrelated legal matters (IE: Trademark, libel, etc.).' They should operate with understanding and reasonability, which, I guess, is a value that's the basis of the foundation of the web.