Plagiarism Pandemonium: Part I
Simple Comments Are Telling
I recently received a comment from a visitor to my website who raised my consciousness about a potentially explosive dilemma in literary works: The Plague of Plagiarism. The sin of stealing someone else’s original written content and passing it off as the thief’s own is running rampant with students and website content creators worldwide.
I didn’t realize how serious the problem was until I made the offer to the commentator that I would look into the problem. Apparently there are far more people looking to copy the material from original creators than there are those taking the time and effort to produce it.
If you have created a website and you spend hours writing an article, it belongs to you. Not some hacker or copy-and-paste thief who is using your sweat and blood to rank high on search engines while you toil to get their yourself.
If someone tells me that they labor into the night to create their original piece of literary art, and then see it pasted by thieves all over the internet, I find it deeply disturbing. I have not investigated that problem in regards to my own works yet, but I am going to start. I may be shocked!
Where Do You Start
There was an issue that was brought to my attention when I started my website. It was to guard against my use of the content of other writers and passing it off as my own. Many programs offered to provide me endless content so that I would have to do nothing. I said no! I would just proceed to learn how to write and make each article original.
Also, I was careful to use “links” to either reference, or take the reader to, the original work that documented the subject I was writing about. In other words, always “Give Credit Where Credit Is Due”!
The main point of my initial dissertation is be honest. Don’t complain or fret about someone stealing your content if you are willing to do it yourself. If you are, stop reading this article. It was not meant for you.
Google Does What?
I am not a big fan of Google dominating search engine traffic across the internet. But the originators evolved the science of creating and locating information on that vast entity we now know as the World Wide Web. As a result of their efforts, they make most of the rules that other search engines fly by.
One of those endeavors is to develop algorithms that reward or punish those who stray from the rules. One of their recent dictates is to fully acknowledge and understand quality content emanating from a website. It is called Google Panda. It is entrenched in their organic search engine platform. Quality is In and Thin, Duplicate, Low Quality, Ad-Controlled, or Non-Authoritative Content is out.
With this program, Google carefully evaluates online content to determine if it’s original or not and increasingly wards off spam directed towards the end-user. As a result, many websites that had top rankings were “demoted”. Sent down the ladder of visibility, so to speak. And many of those websites contained Plagiarized Content.
Back Down To Earth
It is not my intention to give an educated dialog on how all this technical stuff works. I am not that smart. I am just trying to address a monumental problem that others are facing with stolen content and what I or they (or you) can do to solve it. If it is going to take rocket science, then I am out.
I also do not want to start lecturing my reader(s). I hate that type of approach to solving problems. Instead, I want to find out what works and what doesn’t.
One program I want to pursue is Google Alerts. It is supposed to tell me when someone has stolen my material and used it on that thief’s website. Notifications are sent to your email address in the format that you prescribe when initial instructions are set in place by you.
Another format I would like to know more about is Google’s DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) compliant form. You can use the form to report an offender to Google who apparently takes the issue very seriously.
So What Is The Bottom Line Here?
Since I have to go through the learning curve myself, I can only hope to give a future up date beginning with “Plagiarism Pandemonium: Part II“. I will attempt to find out if anyone is stealing my content. If I do, I will address the matter to that person myself.
In the event of my inability to convince the offender to desist, I will follow prescriptive remedies that are allowed.
I am not trying to be a bad guy in this endeavor, but theft is theft. I go out of my way to construct original content and I fully acknowledge the work of others when I use it. In many cases, I also try to promote their websites with no remuneration to me for doing so.
So I will sign off for now. Please look for the update in the future blogs I present. What ever information I uncover, I will certainly present back to you the reader.