What to Know About Copying and Plagiarism for Bloggers

Last Updated on May 5, 2021 by Chris

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Wherever there is originality and creativity, there's bound to be copying.

We're going to double-click on that idea today, and look at how it's affected the trajectory of social media, but also offer some tips for finding and going after folks who think your blog might be a nice place to do a little copying (and subsequent pasting).

Copying in the blogging space is all too common, and at This Week in Blogging, we'd love to take a moment to arm you with the information you may need to do something about it.

Copying in the Social Media Space

Group Copying off One Person

Recently, the blogging and social media news has been littered with news about copying. The biggest news probably being Facebook zeroing in on Clubhouse with a new array of audio products. Of course, they aren't alone in that. Twitter launched “Spaces” to emulate Clubhouse, and Discord launched “Stages,” and, well, it seems like everyone launched something.

Clubhouse may want to eventually get around to launching their app for Android. Just sayin'.

We remember a few years back when Instagram Stories were launched, and it was clear as day that they'd ripped off Snapchat. In that moment, the gloves came off, and people realized that if you're big enough, you really have free reign to do whatever you want despite any backlash from the tech community or users.

It does raise the question, however, of whether anything will remain truly unique in the social space. Are we going to end up with a whole bunch of platforms that all mirror each other in nauseating ways?

If everyone continues to copy each other at this pace, aren't we just going to end up with a bunch of piecemeal, Frankenstein platforms?

Time, of course, will tell.

Blog Plagiarism is a Real Issue

Philosophical musings on the trends of copying aside, let's look more closely at how you can check if your blog is being copied, as well as what you can do about it.

And, for the record, we've got zero problem with being inspired by other peoples' work and using that to inform your direction. But, there's a big difference between that and straight up stealing.

Here are a few ways to find folks who have stolen your content. 

  • Set up Google Alerts around your name, your brand name, and unique, lengthy phrases from your articles. Adding one phrase from each new article once it's published is good practice, and it just takes a second on your end. It's basically like you've hired a detective to crawl the internet.
  • You can also use a tool which is designed specifically to hunt down any copiers of your site. Copyscape is probably the most popular of the bunch. People also seem to like Copygator.
  • If you don't want to search via URL, you can also use something like Plagium or Duplichecker to see if any of your particular paragraphs or pieces of writing appear elsewhere online.
 
If you do find someone who has stolen your content, what can you do about it? 
  • Use the contact page to reach out to the plagiarizer. Demand it's taken down immediately. If you don't hear back, you can find out who their host is and contact them directly.
  • File a DMCA copyright infringement notice.
  • If they've stolen photos, and you're using a program like RYDE, you could also be in line for a fair chunk of change. RYDE will handle getting your income from that, which is what we like about them.

Also, a side-note for best practice. Make sure you have a clear copyright/terms of use page on your site as well. We hope this has helped, and if you've got any further questions, you can also comment below, or shoot an email to [email protected]

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