Today I want to talk about plagiarism, a personal pet peeve of mine… and I’m pretty sure lawyers aren’t too fond of it either.
I know it sounds childish, “MOM, HE’S COPYING ME!” but copycats are unfortunately not only found in elementary schools. The frustrating thing about technology these days is that it is SO easy to copy others, whether it be content, design, images etc. You work so hard on coming up with original ideas only to find that someone is stealing them right from under you and taking credit where credit is clearly not due.
Before I discuss how to find out if your work is being plagiarized, and how to go about protecting your rights, I wanted to list a few reasons why plagiarizing can not only get you in trouble legally, but it can actually cause you to be blacklisted by popular search engines.
Lower Page Rank: Besides the fact that it’s just plain annoying, plagiarizing has negative consequences for the copier. When you duplicate content from another site, this leads to your own site having a lower ranking in the search engines. And as I mentioned in a previous article about increasing your website traffic, having a high page rank should be a top priority. You might have the most amazing website on the planet, but if no one can find it, what’s the point?
Google is a smart cookie: Even if you don’t exactly copy content from another site, it still picks up on similarity. Similarity equals non original content, and non original content equals a significantly lower page rank. A cool little free online gadget I found was this Similar Page Checker.If you think you’re being copied just enter your own url and the copier’s (is that even a word? well now it is.) url and it will scan the content on both websites and give you a percentage on how similar the two pages are.
Getting your website totally removed: If someone steals content from another source without the proper citation it WILL be discovered. It might take a bit of time before the internet cops pick up on it, (I mean, there are billions of websites that need to be kept in line) but eventually, lack of originality will hurt you in the long run. But seriously speaking, if it’s found out that a website is plagiarized, there will be penalties, some of which can result of your page being taking off search engine rankings. And if you can’t be found through search engine, you’re going to have to work a whole lot harder to get people to view your site.