Monday, August 2, 2010

More Plagiarism Fun! And What To Do About It.

I had a different topic planned for today, but I thought I'd change that and write about plagiarism after I was wasting some time yesterday and happened upon two websites that had taken extensive amounts of text from my website and copied it onto theirs. One went so far as to copy and paste my entire FAQ page, as well as most of my pricing page complete with the list of cake flavors that I offer. Slightly bizarre and stalkerish, I have to say.

In the course of discussing this on facebook and twitter, one other person found someone who had copied text from her site, and one person was shocked when I found someone who had plagiarized her site when she said that she didn't think anyone would do that. I did a quick search and in about three minutes I found someone who had taken text from her site verbatim and used it in their brochure.

It's not hard to find these plagiarists. Just go to your website, copy lines that seem like they'd be able to be used in a general way, then paste those into google. Google is your friend. That will give you the list of sites that have the same text on them. You might have to take samples from a few different places from your site, but I'll bet you'll come up with something.

The next thing to do is to write to the owner of the site and tell them to take your text down. If they don't reply, or they send you a rude email claiming that they never heard of you, send them specific examples of what you're talking about. Give it a couple of days, then move on to step number two.

That would be to find out who the Web Host for their site is. To do this, go to http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ and type in their website name. That will tell you who their web host is, and you can write to the company directly and inform them of the copyright violations and request information about what steps you need to take to have them remove the text or photos.

I've had people take text, photos, and even watermarked photos from my site (how stupid is that?) and use them on their sites. I've also had web hosts remove said sites/pages/photos when the site owner was, shall we say, non-responsive to my requests to take my material off their sites.

Here's a tip: If you like the way that I write, hire me to write copy for your site. Don't just steal mine. I'm tempted to start a "hall of shame" on my website and list every site I come across that has stolen material from my site. Now THAT would be amusing.
 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

7 comments:

Amanda said...

Sorry to hear about the plagiarism fun. That's just not cool.

love2stich said...

Hall of shame is an AWESOME idea!

Kara said...

And success with one of the plagiarists...The one who stole my entire FAQ and Pricing pages has taken the entire page down. I'm still waiting for the other one to start deleting...I have the letter to her web host written and my finger is hovering over "send"

OFD Consulting said...

This is a great, and informative, post. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

Jennywenny said...

What a shame. I havent noticed any yet, although I've not searched for my blog posts, I think I'd be a bit annoyed about people stealing my pictures though. I guess I'll look into it if I ever get popular enough for it to be important!

Harper said...

Happened to me a few months ago, emailed my Plagiarist and CC'd my Lawyer. She shut down ASAP without any apology, excuse, or 3rd party blame. Basically I caught her in the act and she knew what she did.
How did I find her? Every once in a while I do searches to see who else is doing my thing in about a 100 mile radius and there she was in my area code! Identical Adcopy AND website text, luckily for her not my photos...
A 25 year old fresh out of Fashion School pretending to be me with over 25 years Industry experience. Identity Thief AND misleading Brides as to her expertise!

Kara Buntin said...

It never ceases to amaze me to see how brazen people can be.