In my last article, we discussed the basic definitions of copyright and plagiarism as applied to the Internet. Now we will go more in depth about the many free tools available to stop copyright infringement and plagiarism…
There are now many tools to catch plagiarists on the Internet. Some of the anti-plagiarism software is for sale but many are free of charge. One example, www.ArticleChecker.com, generates a list of how many times your text, or portions of your text, are found within the Google or Yahoo search results.
If you are a Web site owner, and you are worried about your web contents being stolen or copied, you can use Copyscape to protect your contents. Copyscape, located at www.Copyscape.com, uses your URL (Domain) to find other copies of your content on the Internet. Though there is a free version of this available online, the paid copy will guarantee you maximum protection and allows you to more effectively check plagiarized content.
While you may not know it, plagiarism on the Internet poses an additional threat as well.
Aside from infringement of your Copyright, plagiarists also do more harm to your site as search engines like Google punish sites that contain duplicated content without proper search engine Canonical tags by not indexing your Web site in search rankings. For beginning writers or those just starting out with Web site content, I would recommend that you begin with the free version of Copyscape to help you avoid many of the more common copyright issues and then progress to the more robust paid version as your productivity increases. Best of all, both give you the opportunity to report to the search engines URLs that plagiarize so that they will be removed from the search result index.
There are many other plagiarism detecting tools, that may be used free of charge by educators and Web entrepreneurs, that compare text content to catch plagiarism including:
Copy Catch Gold
Essay Verification Engine (EVE2)
JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service
Should there be any instance where you would be able detect plagiarized content using any of the above software, you always have an option to help stop such criminals — even in specialized areas such as Copyfeed for WordPress users and the Ebay VeRO Program for Ebay webmasters. You can also report abusive plagiarists by using tools that retrieve information about the culprit site. Information which can help identify violators are the violating site’s Hosting Company, Internet Service Provider (ISP), its webmaster, and Server ID. Examples include:
U.S. Copyright Office DMCA List
Plagiarism Today’s DMCA Contact
You can even use these tools to catch plagiarists even from highly specialized areas like WordPress, Copyfeed, and, for Ebay webmasters, there is the Ebay VeRO Program.
The Fair Use Act provision of the U.S. Copyright Law allows a limited use of any material that has copyright even without the copyright owner’s permission based on the principles governed by ‘free speech’. ‘Fair Use’ are defined based on some factors stipulated in the Fair Use Act as:
U.S. Copyright Law states that a limited use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner is allowed under the Fair Use Act, on the principle of free speech. Furthermore, any person may use any portion of original work without permission as long as it is ‘fair use’ based on factors such as:
- No profit may be generated from its use
– Must be used for educational purposes only
– Nature of the original work
– Portion used in relevance to the whole work
– Effect of its use upon the potential value of the original work
Such premise though leads to case-by-case arguments between the copyright holder and the ‘borrower’ which may, at times, lead to legal action.
Copyright Law arguments are therefore case-to-case as these factors are really very relative. The borrower and holder of the copyright are therefore bound under U.S. laws only and the question of whether or not this applies to other courts in other parts of the world is still bound for argument. In most situations, arguments on ‘Fair Use’ between the borrower and the copyright owner lead to legal action under the U.S. courts. To avoid this, ‘borrowers’ are therefore encouraged to site sources very carefully, in due respect to the copyright. As the Internet is an open portal, which is almost free from censorship and control, both copyright owners and ‘borrowers’ are therefore encouraged to be very careful with whatever they publish and borrow online to avoid infringement of copyright. Plagiarism is a crime and ignorance of the law certainly excuses no one.