How to Blog Part 12: Copyright Violations

As mentioned in How to Blog Part 11: Copyright and Citations, it is a matter of when and not if your blog will be copied.

There are many words associated with copyright violations: plagiarism, copyright infringement, copy cat, copying, scrapers, scammers, rip offs, plagiarists, scoundrels.

It hurts when you find content you’ve worked hard on used without permission.

Let’s put some perspective on the issue of copyright violations and the violators.

99.99% of the time the plagiarism isn’t personal. Don’t take it personally.

If it a fellow blogger, use their contact form to contact them privately with your version of the following statement:

The usage of this content is in violation of my copyright. The original article is XXX [link]. In accordance with my copyright policy, you have some choices.

  • You may edit the content to create a link to the post title with your own words recommending the article to your readers.
  • You may edit the content to the specific sentence or paragraph you wish to reference for your readers with a citation link to the original content per my copyright policy on Fair Use.
  • Compensate me for editorial and commercial usage of my article for $XXX non-exclusive reprint rights payable immediately to XXX.
  • You may delete the content completely from your site.

Please let me know your decision within 48 hours to avoid further action which may result in removal of your site from Google and other search engines or potential shut down of the site by your web host in accordance with DMCA laws.

Thank you.

If you do not get a response, you are well within your rights to file a complaint in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or your country’s copyright law practices. See “What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content” and the excellent articles and references from Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today for details and instructions.

You also need to know the following when it comes to plagiarism and copyright violations.

  1. It is not a complement.
  2. It is illegal.
  3. It is not a criminal act. It is a violation of your rights, an infringement upon your copyrights.
  4. Do NOT publicize the incident except to educate your readers. Such publication and finger pointing could result in serious charges of libel and defamation.
  5. Treat copyright infringements and violations professionally and impersonally. They are a part of doing business and publishing on the web.
  6. There are sites that blatantly rip off blogs by the thousand. It’s big business to use other people’s content to stuff a scam website. File immediately with the DMCA when you encounter one.
  7. The law is on your side.
  8. It is not expensive, just a little time consuming, to succeed against a copyright infringement.
  9. By protecting yourself, you help educate those that plagiarize, and protect millions of fellow bloggers who don’t.

Blogging with passion means blogging with integrity and moral fortitude. It means honoring the original voice, be it yours or that of someone else.

If you find another blogger’s content has been ripped off and plagiarized, leave a comment on the post with a link to the original content telling the site administrator that while the content is not yours, they are likely in violation of the original owner’s copyright. They may or may not respond, but the comment may point a visitor to the original article, and thank you.

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