Protect Yourself from Plagiarism - When is it Copyright Infringement?
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Plagiarism refers to any content and/or ideas clearly created by an individual or business. This includes school papers, online articles, blog posts, and anything else that’s published or presented which bears the name or names of its creators. Copyright infringement, however, applies only to documents which have been protected by national copyright laws. As such, committing copyright infringement can be a very serious issue.
All copyrights in the United States of American are filed through the Library of Congress, which is conveniently online these days (http://www.copyright.gov/) and chock-full of information on obtaining copyrights and how work will be protected by them. Once a piece of work is protected by copyright, it’s on the record as belonging to someone else. Anyone who tries to claim this material as their own will be committing copyright infringement -- and they could pay a high price as a result of breaking the law.
In the United States, anyone found guilty of committing copyright infringement could have to pay heavy fines or even face jail time. In all cases, plagiarism and copyright infringement are no good…so how can you keep it from happening to your online content?
Protecting Your Content
You worked hard to create all your original content, to fill your Web site up with interesting articles, blogs and other entertaining tidbits that tempt traffic your way. The last thing you want is for any of this to get stolen by another Web site, copied right from your pages onto theirs. Suppose a site took content from your most popular page, without linking back to your site or even crediting you as the creator? You’d be pretty mad, right? If you’re going to start protecting your content from this situation, the first thing you need to know is how to find out if someone is copying your content without your authorization.
Sites like Copyscape (http://www.copyscape.com/) scan the Web specifically in search of plagiarism, looking for copies of the content you enter into the engine via URL. Simply copy the Web address of the page you want to check into the system, and Copyscape will tell you where copies of your work are appearing -- if they’re appearing anywhere.
This site is a great way to keep tabs on your content, but if you’ve got a lot of content pages it can be pretty tedious to keep checking. Lots of Web sites which hire content writers check their submissions through Copyscape before publishing them, and this is a good way to reduce online plagiarism.
Copyscape doesn’t just give you a way to check your content; it also helps you protect your pages from plagiarism -- more or less. Using the on-site tool, you can create a warning on your pages that could help deter visitors from copying what they read.
It isn’t necessary for you to take out a copyright (which costs money) on every single thing you create for your Web site, but a few reminders can do a lot to act as a deterrent against plagiarism. If you discover that some of your work has been taken from your site -- without your consent and without accreditation -- you need to know how to fight back. After all, you can’t let them get away with this!
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