Performancing Metrics

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After my post regarding protecting your blog against plagiarism I’ve received a number of requests about how to resolve situations that weren’t able to be prevented. So, in an effort to help my fellow bloggers out I thought I’d post a little of the information I’ve gathered in the past while dealing with these unfortunate circumstances. As such, this post deals mostly with the “what to do” after you’ve found the plagiarized material.
(*Disclaimer* I am not attorney nor do I claim to be one. All of the information you see below is primarily information I’ve gathered on my own without legal help. If you feel your circumstance is severe enough I highly recommend you seek out an attorney.)

I’ve had a few people inquire about how to approach a person you feel has plagiarized your work, as in “how do I word the email properly?” I thought the best way to do that would be to give you a basic outline of what the email should most likely say. (Please feel free to copy the email highlighted below for your use! I absolutely am giving you this quoted text to help you out.)

Hi (Insert name),

I’m contacting you regarding a post that I discovered that has me quite upset and hurt. I’ve recently found that you have intentionally/unintentionally(?) plagiarized my review of (name of the book) from my posts at (name of your site as well as other places it may be posted, ie. Goodreads) with no credit to myself for having written it:

(Link to your post. If you’ve also posted this at other outlets you may want to include those links as well because there’s a very good chance they didn’t pull directly from your site.)

(Link to their post)

As you can imagine, I’d appreciate it if you would remove the post from your site immediately. If the post remains and I hear nothing from you within the next 24 to 72 hours I will contact your hosting service as well as your advertisers to have further action taken. I appreciate your prompt action on this matter.

I would hope that you would take this matter seriously as I will not tolerate it.

(Your Signature)

Most of the time that I’ve used this or something similar the post has been removed almost instantly or relatively quickly. Some of the time the person is gracious enough to apologize for their errors and other times it’s been not so cordial. No matter how it happens, if this does the trick than fabulous!

So, you’ve contacted the party and they either don’t respond (with adequate time given, at least 72 hours) or they tell you they flat out don’t care. What do you do now?

First, determine who hosts the blog/site where your work has been plagiarized. This may be as simple as going to the site and seeing a “.blogspot.com” at the end of their web address, but quite often it’s not. The following is what to do in both circumstances:

You’ve found the website’s host! Now it’s time to file a complaint.

Click on the following links to fill out a DMCA request form based on the service provider where the violating post is hosted:
Google based site (Blogger, YouTube, etc.)
WordPress.com (Notice: There is a big difference between .com & .org blogs. Make sure you know before submitting.)

What in the world is a “DMCA” form?
Digital Millennium Copy Right Act (Links to the short version, thanks to the “all-knowing” Wikipedia.) is basically a protection against the theft of any copyrighted online work, including book reviews posted on your copyright protected blog. In an effort to help you protect the work you’ve put in on your blog many of the larger hosting sites like Google and WordPress.com have made it easy to fill out a simple form that often results in much needed attention to the matter. Again, I’m not an attorney, so I’m not guaranteeing anything, but this has definitely worked for me in the past.
Digital Millennium Copy Right Act (Links directly to a very lengthy legal pdf)

You can’t find the host by simply looking at the site’s name, footer or elsewhere on the site itself:
Domain Tools – Basically copy and paste the site’s main link “http://www.abcdefg.com” to discover who hosts the site. From this point you should have enough information to either visit the hosting site’s page and submit either a DMCA form or email them with your request. If in the case you need to email a hosting service, remember that they know just as little about the plagiarism as you did prior to searching for it and be polite. It will go a long way toward getting you the information you need or even having the posts removed quickly.

Still can’t find it or the form on the host provider’s site? Try taking a look at the DMCA Contacts list from Plagiarism Today. This is also a fantastic resource for current information on plagiarism and how to prevent & combat it, definitely worth a look!

Once you’ve filled out the form service providers are legally required to contact you within 14 days, though the longest I’ve waited is maybe two days tops. So be patient. Unfortunately, this is becoming a huge problem and you may be in line with hundreds of complaints that hour alone. Once they return your request with an answer or action I’m fairly certain it will either a.) provide you with a resolution or b.) direct you where to go next, which may unfortunately be to contact an attorney. Never (fingers crossed, knocking on wood) have I had to do this, that doesn’t mean every situation resulted in the material being removed it just came to a point where I couldn’t let it take over my life anymore. Maybe this is a wrong way of thinking, but trust me, it happens. It can also be costly, but there’s a chance you might see results and if that’s what you want then I say definitely contact your lawyer.

Hopefully this helps even a little bit. As time goes on I’ll most likely add to this post, so feel free to check back and reference it as needed. If you have any points you’d like to add or suggestions of things that have worked for you please add them in the comments below. Any extra amount of information helps, no matter how small. Also, if you have any specific questions please feel free to email me, I’m happy to help! (the1stdaughter at gmail dot com)

19 Responses to Plagiarism: It’s Happened, Now What?

  1. Courtney says:

    My “recent’ contact was very similar. The review that was plagiarized has been taken down and I was issued an apology. Hope the same is happening for you. It’s still hard to take but I am trying to let it go…Hope you have a great weekend sweetie! After this week…we need it! Oh and we have a word! Little Man said Go! Hurray!!

    • I’m so happy to hear your situation was resolved. Mine was as well and I’m quite happy with the outcome. I definitely still need some recovery time, but I’m happy to put it behind me.

      And how exciting!!! That’s spectacular, I can’t wait to hear more about the words he keeps adding, because I’m positive there will be more! :)

  2. Thanks for all the infomation. It hasn’t happened to me yet. Sending hugs because thats so wrong to steal from a friend.

  3. [...] for copyright. Though a non-commercial use for the purpose of providing commentary or criticism certainly has a decent amount of leeway in a fair use discussion. It is still more than possible for a fan site or community to infringe upon the copyright of the [...]

  4. Joanna says:

    Thanks so much Danielle. As a new blogger your couple of posts on plagiarism/copyright have been very helpful for me on what to do if/when plagiarized, as well as how to ensure we aren’t infringing ourselves.

    • You are so welcome! That’s exactly what I was hoping to accomplish. It’s a difficult area to navigate, even for experienced bloggers, so I hope that it will help if this ever pops up for anyone.

  5. Jenni Elyse says:

    Thank you so much for being willing to help my friend out. I was happy that I had someone to point her to. :)

    • You are so welcome! I love being able to help fellow bloggers out even if it happens to be for an awful reason. I’m just so glad I could help her get things solved. :)

  6. This is a terrific post! it has truly helped me in my own personal situation (I’m happy to say that thanks to your help, the person deleted the post! YAY!) Thank you hon!

    Best,

    Lucy

  7. Katie says:

    Congratulations! I have awarded you The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Visit this post at my blog, Secrets & Sharing Soda to pick up the badge and pay it forward. :-)

  8. [...] for copyright. Though a non-commercial use for the purpose of providing commentary or criticism certainly has a decent amount of leeway in a fair use discussion. It is still more than possible for a fan site or community to infringe upon the copyright of the [...]

  9. First off, I”m sorry to hear about your plagiarism problems but I’m glad that my site was able to help at least a little bit and I’m definitely grateful for the links.

    If there’s ever anything I can do to help, please just drop me a line and let me know!

    Thanks for the great article. I’m happy to see more writers discussing this openly!

    • Thank you so much! I’ll definitely let you know. I’m no expert by any means, so I’m certain I’ll probably still need more help in the future. So thank you for the offer and for stopping by! :)

  10. Alll amazing advice. But I still can’t believe this happened to you. *sigh*

  11. [...] for copyright. Though a non-commercial use for the purpose of providing commentary or criticism certainly has a decent amount of leeway in a fair use discussion. It is still more than possible for a fan site or community to infringe upon the copyright of the [...]

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