Plagiarism: The act of plagiarizing; taking someone’s words or ideas as if they are your own.
Plagiarised: A piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and presented as being your own.
The above definitions have been cited from the Advanced English dictionary.
Many people still do not view plagiarism in this way, if it is on the internet then it is fair game right? WRONG. Someone has taken the time to write it, there is a likelihood that someone has paid for it and it BELONGS to the owner of the website. The people who chose to engage in plagiarism often do not realise that there are victims involved in this. The people affected include the website owner, plagiarism can affect SERP and have an effect on profits. Writers are also affected when their content is plagiarised. Re-using content reduces workload for writers, it can also affect the reputation of the original author as it can give the impression that the content has been re-sold.
How can you protect your website?
There are a couple of things that you should do to protect the content on your website from plagiarism.
Firstly, check that your content does not appear anywhere else on the internet. There are 2 ways you can do this, the first is to sign up to Copyscape Premium. This is a service which will check your content across the entire internet. There is a fee for this but it is small and given the effect being penalised by Google can have on your profits it is more than worth the investment. Buying 200 credits with Copyscape cost about £6.60 ($10) and each search is 1 credit. You might be thinking ‘I don’t need 200 credits’ BUT it means you can check your content regularly to make sure it hasn’t been copied.
If you really don’t want to pay for Copyscape then simply copy and pasting sections in to Google will work as long as you put the text within quotation marks (” “). Hit the search button and see what results you get.
Checking your content for plagiarism could be the most important thing you do for your website after good security.
Once you have checked for plagiarism on your site it is important to take steps to prevent people stealing your content. You can copyright your entire site, you can also add a ‘Protected by Copyscape‘ box in a prominant position (you can get this from the Copyscape website for free). While these methods may not stop your content being stolen it does give you some protection if the worst does happen.
Although we like to think the best of people, plagiarism does happen. Taking these steps will help to protect you, your website and your profits from unscrupulous people.
By Emma Pollard.