Back on Sept. 14, I explained why it’s stupid to post plagiarized content online. Basically, it’s incredibly easy to get caught stealing someone else’s intellectual property. It’s also likely that you’ll be publicly humiliated for this transgression, and possibly fined or sued. It’s just not worth it.
Speaking of online plagiarists, I just came across a perfect example…
One of my most popular articles is 10 Cool Things to Do with Furl, which I published on June 22. Tonight I took the URL of that article and plugged it into CopyScape, a free version of a handy little tool. The first result on the list was from the Chinese site Studying Java. Lo and behold, it is the full text of my article without my permission, which makes this a theft of my intellectual property. Also, this unauthorized republication does not include my byline, an explanation of where it came from, or a link back to my site. In other words, it appears to be presented as the work of someone from Studying Java.
Really, really stupid. See how easy it was for me to find this? Granted, most of CopyScape’s results are only excepts (which are OK under fair use), not plagiarism, but still it turned up one instance of plagiarism awfully quickly.
You can even use Google to ferret out plagiarists. Strange as it may seem, the precise wording of most sentences is unique. So try this:
- Grab a sentence or two some of your content published online, preferably content you think might appeal to plagiarists. Copy that onto your computer’s clipboard.
- In Google, paste that string into the search field, inside double quote marks.
- Search. Look for any results that are not your own publication. Visit those that were not published or authorized by you. If any are complete or near-complete unauthorized reproductions of your work, you’ve caught an online plagiarist.