Tips and Tricks: Online Plagiarism (August 2017)

by Margie Beilharz 1024px Reess Cyclopaedia P

From time to time, editors find content from their website being used by others online. Whether it’s your description of services offered, posts you’ve written about editing, or your business name appearing to be associated with another business, it doesn’t do you any good and may actually harm your business. Sometimes the copying is outright plagiarism of content, sometimes your content may have been collected by a ‘web scraper’ tool – these collect content from the web for various purposes, and can collate it into new web pages (like the ones that show you the cheapest price for an item or that gather real estate listings).

I was reminded about this the other day when I was listening to a recent episode of the Recipe for SEO Success podcast by Kate Toon. In an episode dealing with the search engine optimisation (SEO) implications of duplicate content, she has some suggestions and resources for dealing with unauthorised duplication of your material.

To protect your content, she suggests that you can:

  • detect duplicate content with Copyscape – it has a free comparison tool and more comprehensive paid searches
  • send the website owner a ‘cease and desist’ letter
  • send a letter to the web host asking for the duplicate content to be taken down (you can find the host of any site at www.whoishostingthis.com)
  • report the unauthorised use of your material to Google at this page.

If you want to listen just to the relevant part of the podcast, start at around eight minutes in – it only goes for a few minutes. But note that, even though Kate is based in Australia, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act she mentions is US legislation, so I’m not sure that it applies to content on Australian websites and material held on non-US sites. 

Margie Beilharz

Image: John Farey, Jr. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons