Plagiarism is basically the act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as yours without giving credit. With the internet being what it is nowadays, anyone can get a hold of your work. It is disconcerting, to say the least when you find some high-ranking blog or site having published your work and receiving all the credit while you were the one who put on the hard work. It is even worse when you reach out, they ignore you. What do you do then?
Sometimes, a blog post might be similar. There is a huge difference between work being similar and one being plagiarized. And it is important that before you act, you are sure that your work has been plagiarized.
The first thing you should do when you notice that your work has been stolen is to email that person politely. Explain to them the situation and if possible, send them the two articles, yours and the one they plagiarized. If it is a company, send the links to the person in charge of communications. It is possible that the person has no idea the work was stolen either because an employee was assigned the article, or that he/she didn’t take time to go through it. That is why it is important to ensure that you are polite, and not go throwing insults and accusations around.
Now, depending on the attitude and the personality of the accused, he/she will take three actions:
- Delete the post and pretend nothing happened
- Alter the original post by including a credit to you
- Deny everything all together.
You might be tempted to do something drastic when the person ignores you but don’t. Stay calm and think about your options. What you decide to do will determine whether you will get the response you wanted or if your efforts go down the drain. Here are the actions, you can take.
- Report the plagiarism to google
Google, like most search engines, have tools to report plagiarism. What happens is, when someone reports stolen work, Google remembers. They will investigate the matter and when they find the allegations are true, their pages will be removed from the search engine index.
- Publicly call out the plagiarism
This is the action that most people take. They take to social media and publicly denounce the individual or the organization that was involved. When an individual publicly accuses a renowned company of plagiarism, it spells trouble.
- Threaten to sue
One can also decide to go to extreme measures like involving a lawyer, especially if the work was stolen in whole, e.g. a novel, a piece of music or even a brand.
- Do nothing
They say, that sometimes silence is golden. One can choose to ignore the issue and just be content that your work is so good, that someone saw it fit to copy it.
Allowing plagiarism to continue may damage your brand as a blogger, and unfortunately, with the internet, this issue is not about to go away anytime soon. But now you know what to do when you become a victim of theft.