Roses and Weeds

| January 23, 2011

WeedsI know I’m supposed to be out smelling the roses, but somehow a stinkweed was delivered to my inbox.

You see, I’ve set up Google Alerts for a few of my blogs (only the ones that generate income).  In my alert it not only notifies me of my latest post, but I also get to see related posts on the same topic. I like to keep up to date in certain subject areas.

Imagine my surprise when my alert came through with my latest post (along with a sentence or two snippet of my post) and a duplicate post. The duplicate post had the same title and the same snippet but with a different URL.  Huh?  What’s going on?

Naturally I clicked the URL and wasn’t too happy with what I found.  I found my first person review on someone else’s blog.  They used it word for word! Ugh! I so hate plagiarism.

What to Do Next

Once I calmed down, I left a brief comment on the offending site requesting them to remove the post as they were not given permission to copy my work word for word.

Not waiting for a response, I did a “Who is ” search to find out more about the plagiarizer.  In addition to finding the name and address of the administrative/billing and technical contact (all the same person), I found that the blog is hosted by HostGator.

Since my sites are hosted on HostGator, I signed into my account and submitted a ticket.  I gave them a link to my original work and a link to the copied work. I also provided the Who is information and asked them if they could contact the owner to have them remove my work.

HostGator’s Plagiarism System

HostGator responded with a long email containing instructions on how to file a DMCA complaint. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (of 1998).  If you want to read the act, you can download it and read it in your spare time.

HostGator makes it easy to file a DMCA complaint because they have a quick and easy online form.  All you have to do is insert the following information:

  • Your contact information
  • Link to the original work
  • Link to the plagiarized work
  • Click two check boxes which affirm that you are not filing a fraudulent claim,
  • Sign and date the form then click “Submit”

You’ll shortly receive an email notification of your DMCA complaint along with a link to the ticket.  They promise to address the request within 12 to 24 hours and send a confirmation once processed.

A Plagiarism Bright Spot

According to HostGator they implemented this system “…to make submitting notices of alleged infringement to us as straightforward as possible while reducing the number of notices that we receive that are fraudulent or difficult to understand or verify.”

So, if someone does plagiarize your work, just hope they’re hosted on a HostGator server.  It makes getting rid of them so much easier.  I just hope that the offender removes the plagiarized material quickly.

Now back to smelling the roses (which are buried under knee deep snow and ice). 🙂

Tags: , ,

Category: Hosting Companies, Internet

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (14)

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  1. Jeanette says:

    Thank you for this helpful post – just had content stolen on multiple sites so this was extremely helpful.
    Jeanette recently posted…A Beginner Green Tea Green Smoothie RecipeMy Profile

  2. Lisa Russell says:

    I had the same problem once, and when I found their host (ThePlanet.com) I was pleased to find it easy to resolve. I think most US hosts make it easy because they’re legally accountable for what they host. I’m glad it was resolved easily for you 🙂

  3. This happened to me once! Luckily they took it right down when I asked them about it. I am so glad you found my blog and like it. I recently found yours and it is amazing!
    Mandy Robinson recently posted…Reasons Why I Love Residual IncomeMy Profile

  4. Dusty Snoke says:

    I know I am glad Kayte asked about setting up google alerts, because I was wondering the same thing. Thanks, Felicia, for keeping us informed.

  5. Kayte says:

    Felicia, so glad your stolen article got taken down so fast, but I have a dumb question… how do you set up the goggle alert?
    Kayte recently posted…Write More Earn More!My Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Kayte, That’s not a dumb question (I bet other folks are glad you asked). 🙂

      Setting up an alert is easy. Go to Google Alerts (if you don’t remember the link location, do a Google search for Google alerts) and insert the alert criteria and the alert frequency. An alert can contain a domain name, a person’s name, a subject matter, keyword or anything else you wish to insert.

      You can search for alerts from blogs only, news items, videos, discussions or more. Insert your email address and your alerts will be mailed to you as frequently or as infrequently as you choose.

  6. Grandma says:

    That same issue is why I pulled all my articles off ArticlesBase.com People can use your stuff for free but are supposed to give you a credit. So they take it and either omit the credit or post the credit lines in 1 point type that is impossible to read! They do not take it off upon request and AB tells you to notify the offenders hosting company to get it removed. That sucks. So I pulled out and told them to cancel my account.

    • Felicia says:

      Wow, that stinks! Early on in my online writing journey I wrote a few articles for free directories. I wasn’t too pleased with the outcome so I stopped.

      • Grandma says:

        Yeah, the concept seemed okay. Get your credit line out there all over the place and watch as people link back to your website. Didn’t happen. Granted, my websites have limited audience interest.

        • Crystal says:

          Wow – another example of how procrastination pays! I’ve yet to submit to ANY article directories. Always thought I should be doing so but haven’t managed to follow through. In light of this info, maybe I can just cross it off of my way too long yet-to-do list:)
          Crystal recently posted…Save BIG on College CostsMy Profile

  7. Crystal says:

    Hey Felicia –
    Just read a new post by Jenn on All Freelance Writing about dealing with PDF engines and copyright infringement. And in that post is a link to a previous post on how she deals with content thieves. So if anyone dealing with this issue isn’t lucky enough to share HostGator with the offender, her info might be helpful.
    Crystal recently posted…Save BIG on College CostsMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Thanks for the info, Crystal. I took a look at her post. It seems that she takes several steps (and quite a bit of time) to get the content removed.

      Personally, I’d rather not spend too much time dealing with content thieves. A request to move the content is my first line of defense. If it’s not gone after that, the DCMA process is rather simple. After filing the DCMA with the hosting company, they get to deal with and resolve the issue. It seems to be rather effective and it doesn’t take long. I filed the DCMA this morning around 6:00 AM and the content was down before noon.

  8. Crystal says:

    As a HostGator newbie, I’m pleased to find out yet another plus to the service. How lucky for you that the offender was also a HostGator client:)
    Crystal recently posted…Save BIG on College CostsMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Crystal, I believe you’ll be happy with their service. As far as my claim goes, the offending site has removed my content.

      HostGator moves quickly when it comes to copyright infringement.