Keeping track of your intellectual property is important! Let’s say you’re browsing online to check out what’s new in your favorite subject area. Maybe you have a brand new website design with awesome SEO and an internet marketing plan, and you’re actually making an active search for duplicate content. However you get there, you are horrified to discover that someone has stolen your content. Word for word, it’s all you. Aaargh.
We all know the internet is enormous. Taking a proactive role in protecting your work sounds like a great idea, but where to begin? How can you know if your work is being used without your permission?
Fortunately, there are several tools out there to keep you up to date on where your intellectual property is being found:
- Copyscape and Plagium are a few of the sites that allow you to track possible plagiarism for specific content. They can also alert you when and if it is found, and will even send you the actual url.
- Google alerts: This can help alert you any time content is indexed with your name or brand name on it.
- Google Spam report: You can report a web page or site in Google that is returning your duplicate content – Google allows you to specify whether it is a duplicate site or page. Other search engines have similar platforms as well.
If you do find that someone has taken your intellectual property without your permission, have helped themselves to your professional internet marketing copywriting, do you have recourse? Yes.
- Contact them directly. The first step is to ask them to simply remove it. Believe it or not, some people don’t understand that it’s stealing to take or ‘scrape’ (in the popular vernacular!) someone else’s work off the web.
- Notify their advertisers. Yup, you can do this.
- Notify their hosting company. Highly reputable website hosting companies take content theft and copyright infringement very seriously.
A word of caution: don’t be too quick to jump unless you recognize a blatant attempt to steal your content and any accompanying traffic coming in from links that are still on there. After all, if you have an article on, say, antique teddy bears that is well written and contains links back to your site, the distribution of this article will only bring more visitors to your site! If, however, your links are removed or redirected, that’s another story altogether.
Know what your rights are – the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 made changes to the US Copyright Act to strengthen and protect intellectual property rights for quickly emerging online communication and information. Don’t forget to put your claim out there: make sure to insert a copyright logo in your footer.