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Plagiarism Detection: How to Win Against Thieves Who Steal Your Articles

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  • Royce Tivel
    A Free-Reprint Article Written by: Royce Tivel Article Title: Plagiarism Detection: How to Win Against Thieves Who Steal Your Articles See TERMS OF REPRINT to
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      A Free-Reprint Article Written by: Royce Tivel

      Article Title:
      Plagiarism Detection: How to Win Against Thieves Who Steal Your Articles

      See TERMS OF REPRINT to the end of the article.

      Article Description:
      Take these 5 specific steps to detect plagiarism and nuke
      unlawful publication of your online content. These 5 steps
      can also be used to remove content taken, without your
      permission, from your ezine publication, web site, or blog

      Additional Article Information:

      2732 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
      Distribution Date and Time: 2010-07-27 13:30:00

      Written By: Royce Tivel
      Copyright: 2010
      Contact Email: mailto:rtivel@...

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      Plagiarism Detection: How to Win Against Thieves Who Steal Your Articles
      Copyright (c) 2010 Royce Tivel
      Select Digitals

      Plagiarists love your original content published at EzineArticles
      and other honest publishers because it ranks high in Google's
      search results. The trouble is that plagiarists do not include a
      link back to your site or author credit--because they do not
      publish the resource box or include a link back to the article
      source. Here are 5 steps you can take to protect your content,
      detect plagiarism, and get unauthorized copies of your content
      removed from the World Wide Web:

      1) Include copyright and author information when creating your

      2) Set up an early detection system for finding plagiarists,

      3) Identify and contact the offenders,

      4) Identify and contact their registrars or hosts, and

      5) Submit a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint.


      The first step in the war on plagiarism is to provide copyright
      information in the article body as well as author information in
      the resource box. Within the article body, you can include a
      copyright notice and the article title with it's date of
      publication. Here is an example of what I use at the end of my

      Copyright � 2010 [Your Name Goes Here] [Your Site Name Goes Here]
      [Site URL Goes Here].
      [Article Title Goes Here], [Date Published Goes Here]

      If you can do so, use an active link for either the site name or
      site URL. Depending on the publisher's article-submission
      requirements, you may not be able to use an active link or domain
      name in the article body. Even if these are permitted, all active
      links and URLs in the article could be stripped by the
      plagiarist, although a non-hyper linked reference to your site
      might still remain--especially if the plagiarist is using
      software to automate the theft.

      You can use the resource box to positively identify yourself as
      the author and can include an active link to your web site or
      blog. Here is an example:

      "About the Author: [Your Name Goes Here] has written extensively
      about [What You Write About], and more. Visit his/her web site at
      [Your Site Name Goes Here], [Site URL Goes Here], for additional
      content on these subjects, including many images related to
      his/her articles published at [Publisher's Name Goes Here]."

      I would *strongly* recommend using an active link to your site
      in the resource box. An honest publisher will include the
      resource box, will not tamper with the article body, and will
      provide a link to the article source. If a plagiarist strips out
      the resource box or neglects to include a link to the article
      source, the chances are still good that the copyright and author
      information will be left in the article body.


      Plagiarism detection begins by setting up an early warning system
      for plagiarists. I estimate that 90% of all article theft is done
      when the article is first published. The worst offenders appear
      to be plagiarists with blogs. Today, content can be easily
      gathered with content-aggregator software through RSS (Really
      Simple Syndication) feeds, manipulated, and placed on a blog.
      "White hat" content aggregation that includes author credit and
      article source information is great for authors--but "black
      hat" manipulation of the aggregated content, which removes the
      author and source information is just plain article theft.

      Many WordPress sites are using the Multi User (MU) version and
      offer "members" a free WordPress blog as a sub-domain. An
      offshoot of WordPress is BuddyPress--and I have found plagiarized
      content at these sites, too. I have found that there is little or
      no supervision or monitoring of the "members." I have also
      found that the administrators of the MU sites will terminate a
      blog when they receive a report of plagiarism. In the case of a
      subdomain on an MU site that has plagiarized your material, the
      registrant in a lookup will be the "owner" of the domain who is
      responsible for the sub-domains. Your plagiarism detection system
      must first identify the plagiarist before you can report them to
      the administrators.

      Because of the blog problem, a Google Blog Search on the title of
      the article, a keyword, a phrase, or a "snippet" from the
      article--using quote marks around the search term(s)--is probably
      your best *no cost* tool for plagiarism detection. Jonathan
      Bailey at plagiarismtoday.com has this advice for searches:

      "I would focus not on titles but statistically improbable
      phrases within the work, 8-10 words long. Those produce good
      matches and are easy to find in a work."

      Once the search is completed, and if there are results matching
      your quoted search query, you will be able to look through the
      results for plagiarized content. I would certainly want to check
      out a search result that came neither from my web site nor from
      my article publisher.

      Google's search results include a title (blue), a snippet (black
      text), and a URL (green). The URL will include the domain name of
      an offending site. Clicking on either the title or URL will take
      the browser to the actual blog or web page. The domain name will
      also appear as part of the URL in the browsers address bar.

      Even if the snippet of a search result contains plagiarized text
      from your article, the title or URL may take you to pages with no
      trace of your article. This can happen when your plagiarized
      article is published by the plagiarist, gets listed in Google,
      and then the plagiarist substitutes his own page content for your
      article: the plagiarized content remains in the snippet but the
      links go to the plagiarist's own content, thus hijacking your
      traffic! The remaining "footprint" left by the snippet can be
      enough to shut down a site or blog.

      A great feature of the Google Blog Search comes at the bottom of
      the results page. At the end of the results are options for
      setting up email alerts--the early warning system--so you can be
      notified when sites use the search term in the future.

      You are most likely to see plagiarized results show up within the
      first few days of publication; so, I recommend that you set up
      your alert to receive an email once each day. You can end the
      alerts at any time. The alerts can be limited to blogs or contain
      comprehensive results for the Web as well: for my alerts, I elect
      the "comprehensive" option for email alerts.


      The best way to identify a plagiarist is to do a "whois" or
      similar "lookup" on the domain name. Using a "whois" lookup
      for the domain name will display contact information for the
      domain-name registrant. In my experience, plagiarists do not
      usually leave contact information on their pages, but the domain
      registrant is required to include it when the domain is
      registered--but plagiarists do not always include valid contact
      information! If you do not find valid contact information for the
      registrant, you can contact the registrar about this.

      Depending on the lookup service used (internic, domaintools,
      domainwhitepages, etc.), the contact's email address might be an
      image and not text. In that case, you will have to type out the
      email address. Here is the registrant's information from a
      lookup of my web site:

      Address lookup
      - canonical name: selectdigitals.com.
      - addresses

      Domain Whois record
      - Queried whois.internic.net with "dom selectdigitals.com"...
      - Domain Name: SELECTDIGITALS.COM
      - Registrar: ENOM, INC.
      - Whois Server: whois.enom.com
      - Referral URL: http://www.enom.com
      - Name Server: NS5.IXWEBHOSTING.COM
      - Name Server: NS6.IXWEBHOSTING.COM
      - Status: ok
      - Updated Date: 19-feb-2009
      - Creation Date: 08-feb-2004
      - Expiration Date: 08-feb-2011
      - Last update of whois database: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 14:45:21 UTC
      - Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com
      Contact: support@...

      Registrant Contacts
      - Queried whois.enom.com with "selectdigitals.com"...

      - Registrant Contact:
      Select Digitals
      Royce Tivel
      261 SE Craig RD #3
      Shelton, WA 98584

      - Administrative Contact:
      Select Digitals
      Royce Tivel (rtivel@...)
      261 SE Craig RD #3
      Shelton, WA 98584

      - Technical Contact:
      Select Digitals
      Royce Tivel (rtivel@...)
      261 SE Craig RD #3
      Shelton, WA 98584

      - Status: Active

      - Name Servers:

      - Creation date: 08 Feb 2004 16:50:50

      - Expiration date: 08 Feb 2011 16:50:50

      In the case of selectdigitals.com, all of the information
      necessary to contact the registrant is available. In my
      experience, registrants of MU sites have responded promptly to my
      complaint and have removed the offending "member"; so it is
      worthwhile to make the attempt and allow two or three business
      days for a response. This gives the registrant a chance to comply
      with the original publisher's terms of service or to remove the
      content completely.

      Sometimes, the registrar or registration service will provide a
      "firewall" for a registrant. At NameCheap.com, this is called
      "WhoisGuard." The registrar's contact information is given in
      the lookup and emails to the registrant are forwarded without
      giving away the registrant's "real" contact information.

      Your goal in contacting the registrant is to get the article
      published accurately, completely (including resource box), and
      identified with the complete article source. You can help the
      honest publisher by supplying the article title, a link to the
      article source, and a copy of the resource box. You might not
      always end up getting everything you ask for. At the very least,
      though, you should be identified as the author and there should
      be an active link back to your site.

      I have found that contacting a plagiarist by email is the least
      effective method of removing plagiarized content. Still, this
      attempt should be made to give the honest publisher a chance to
      make necessary changes. Also, the fact that you have made the
      attempt will give more weight to your complaints sent to the
      registrar, host, or to Google. Give the suspected plagiarist two
      or three business days to respond.

      Translating Your Documents into a Foreign Language

      If you are trying to contact a registrant, registrar, or host in
      a foreign country (non-English speaking, in my case), you can
      take advantage of the Google Translate service. I first create
      the letter in English and then use the translator to convert it
      into the foreign language. It is very important to test any links
      you wish to include in the translated version: you might have to
      modify a translated link so it works. My practice is to email the
      letter in English (my native language) together with a translated
      version. Note: I suggest "plugging" the translated copy back
      into the translator as a check: translating back to the original
      language might reveal problems with the translation that will
      have to be fixed.


      A lookup of the plagiarist's domain name will include a list of
      the domain-name servers (DNS). From the DNS information listed in
      the lookup above, the web host is clearly identified as

      Name Server: NS5.IXWEBHOSTING.COM
      Name Server: NS6.IXWEBHOSTING.COM

      A lookup on a DNS will yield additional information about the
      host used by the plagiarist--and the host's contact information.
      Here is some of the information available from a lookup of

      Host Contact Information
      - canonical name ixwebhosting.com.
      - addresses

      - Administrative Contact:
      Said, Fathi fathi@...
      1774 Dividend Dr
      Columbus, OH 43228

      Similarly, a lookup for the registrar listed in the original
      "whois" will result in additional information about the
      registrar. A reputable registrar or host will provide information
      about reporting copyright infringements.

      Registrars often use resellers for the business of domain
      registration. The resellers also have stringent policies against
      abuse. For my domain, the reseller is listed in the original
      lookup as follows:

      Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com.

      Contacting the registrar or host is probably the most effective
      way to take a plagiarist's site or blog off the air. Here is
      what I typically do. I create a Digital Millennium Copyright Act
      (DMCA) complaint, just as I would for a complaint written for
      Google, except I do not use a title directed to Google. Both
      hosts and registrars take these complaints very seriously and, in
      my experience, take fast action to block the offending sites from
      web access. Give the registrar or host two or three days to
      respond before going any further. I use this format for my

      1) To: [registrant, registrar, or host name]

      2) Date: [date and time]

      3) Identify the copyrighted work,

      4) Identify the offending web page, including the search query
      used to find it ("tower trainer 40"),

      5) Provide your contact information,

      6) Provide contact information (if any) for the plagiarist (the
      email address you used for the registrant),

      7) Include specific language as to the accuracy of your
      complaint, and

      8) Optional: If I have additional information, I put it here.

      When you identify a plagiarist from another country, it might
      seem like an impossible task to get the content removed, but you
      might be surprised. Recently, I was able to get a web site
      blocked by a Korean registrar, co.cc. After identifying the
      registrar, I looked at their terms of service and here is what I

      "You agree that you will not upload, distribute or reproduce on
      the Web Site:

      a. any copyrighted material, trademarks, or other proprietary
      information without obtaining the prior written consent of the
      owner of such proprietary rights...."

      After I submitted my complaint to the domain service registrar,
      co.cc, I got a response the next day:

      "Dear Sir, In reponse to your request, we have suspended ...,
      the domain won't work with co.cc domain for now.

      However, I would like to inform you that we are just a domain
      service registrar. For that reason, we do not have any authority
      over deleting original web site. It seems keep happening no
      matter how many times we block up this kinds of sites, abuser do
      not stop abuse co.cc domain.

      Please let me know if you face this kind of issues in the any
      future, I will try to take prompt action.

      Thank you."

      The response reflects, I think, the frustration registrars and
      hosts feel in dealing with the huge problem of plagiarism. In
      this case, even though the site did not get deleted, it is no
      longer visible on the Web. If the site still remains in Google's
      search results, a Google DMCA should take care of the problem.
      Jonathan Bailey has this to say about contacting registrars:

      "...even though it can work, I tell people to avoid sending
      notices to registrars as almost none will actually revoke a
      domain over a copyright issue. They will only do it if there is
      an issue with the domain itself. Your interaction with co.cc was
      the exception, not the rule (for better or worse)."


      If nothing else seems to work, you can FAX a DMCA complaint
      directly to Google. Google has both legal support and AdSense
      support. Each support group has it's own FAX number for DMCA
      complaints (legal: (650) 963-3255; AdSense: (650) 618-8507). For
      action against a Google blogger, you can file a DMCA complaint

      If AdSense is on the site along with the plagiarized content, a
      DMCA complaint to Google AdSense support just might hit the
      offender in the pocket book. Revenue from AdSense is often the
      primary reason plagiarists use your articles--your valued content
      draws increased traffic to the AdSense site.

      A useful add-on for FireFox users is SeoQuake. When this add-on
      is activated, hovering over an AdSense ad will bring up the
      "AdsSpy" with a link to information about the plagiarist's
      AdSense ID. The plagiarist's ID can be included with the DMCA

      Plagiarism, Plagerism, Plagirism, Plaigarism

      You don't have to know how to spell "plagiarism" to join the
      fight against plagiarists. You can still detect plagiarism and
      join the war to remove it by

      * Putting your copyright information in the article body,

      * Begin plagiarism detection right away,

      * Identify the plagarism and the plagarist,

      * Try to contact the plagiarist and resolve the issues,

      * Contact the registrar or host about the plaigarism,

      * File a DMCA complaint against the plagiarist, and

      * Contribute your ideas and experiences with respect to
      detecting and fighting plagiarism by joining a forum on the topic
      or, better yet, write your own article.

      After four years of college and after writing this article--I can
      still misspell plagiarism with the best of 'em. My favorite way
      to misspell it is, "plagerism."

      Copyright � 2010 Royce Tivel Select Digitals
      Plagiarism Detection: How to Win Against Thieves Who Steal Your
      Articles, May 26, 2010

      Royce Tivel has written extensively about digital photography,
      Adobe, radio-controlled (RC) airplanes, WordPress, travel,
      and more. Visit his web site at Select Digitals
      http://www.selectdigitals.com/ for additional content
      on these subjects, including many images and resource
      links related to this article.

      --- END ARTICLE ---

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