Monday, December 24, 2012

What Content Can Be Plagiarized?

The word plagiarism exists since 1620s. It was always considered bad to claim someone else’s work as your own, no matter the form it’s in, whether it is written, visual, or conceptual. But these days, it seems harder for people to understand what plagiarism is and how it happens, just because large part of the creative work is now being published on the Internet. If it is a different medium it doesn’t mean the rules are changed. Those who plagiarize try to explain how they just ‘borrowed’ or ‘copied’ a small part of the text or an image, but in most cases they won’t admit they’ve done wrong. In order to prevent plagiarism on the Web, it is important to clarify what is plagiarism and how to avoid plagiarizing other people’s work.

How does Plagiarism Happen?

You are plagiarizing every time you are closely imitating other people’s ideas or words, using them as your own without having their permission; or when you present an idea or work as a new one, but it is actually taken from another source; or when you don’t credit the original source. If you copy content from other website, and publish it on your own as your work, without crediting the source or providing information about it, and even if you change the words a bit, you are not only causing damage to the quality of the content on the Internet, but you are also doing actions that are considered plagiarism. There are websites that would have so many words or ideas from other sources that they make up the majority of their content, and it doesn’t even matter if they credit those sources or not. That’s plagiarism also.
Almost everything on the Internet can be plagiarized, intentionally or not, and most people aren’t completely sure whether their actions are considered plagiarism, particularly when sharing content on the popular social networks, or downloading music, movies or games from the torrent type websites. It’s getting confusing for the young generations too, who are having difficulties to differentiate what is sharing and what is plagiarizing.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

You can avoid plagiarizing other’s people work if you familiarize yourself with the terms of fair dealing/fair use and copyrights, and if you always assume the copyright is in place, if not noted otherwise by the author. To make sure you are always on the safe side of copyrights, limit your longer quotes to maximum 250 words and get permission from the author if you want to republish a larger portion. It is also very important to always properly cite the sources to accredit their offline or online works, linking directly to the sources. In addition, you can ensure that the content you use on your website is completely unique and original by scanning it with different plagiarism checking tools, like PlagTracker, PlagSpotter or CopyScape.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Consequences of Online Plagiarism

How successful will your online marketing be greatly depends on the content that you publish on your blog or website. In its efforts to provide relevant and quality links to the users, Google is improving its algorithms to better notice and penalize plagiarized or duplicate content on the Web, that is, same content that appears on more than one web page on the Internet, and even on the same website. If you want to keep your website listed in the results of the world’s most popular search engine, you better not steal content from any website, no matter how harmless that might seem to you, like to copy and paste a small part from a source like Wikipedia to fill a section on your website about the area you live in.

What is Plagiarism on the Internet?

Online plagiarism, or content scraping, refers to copying the same text and/or images from a certain source, without properly citing them. These methods for building search index-able content have been extensively used in the past, but today they are not only inapplicable, but can also have serious legal and search rank consequences for the web owners.

Legal Outcomes: There are many tools on the market today designed to identify content scraping. If the content they detect is plagiarized or isn’t properly cited, the web owners can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) removal notice, and if the plagiarists don’t remove the scraped content, they can then file a copyright infringement lawsuit. As you can see, there are serious legal consequences to online plagiarism.

Search Rank Outcomes: When the search engines discover duplicate content on a certain website they will lower its rank in their result pages, and if the content scraping is severe enough, they’ll even remove the website from their results. The Panda update is Google’s way of saying No! to scrapping websites with low quality content and a high ad-to-content ratio, and Bing and Yahoo are also against and fighting plagiarism. Without these search engines your website has no real chance of seeing the light of the day. An article from some popular website might be an interesting source for your readers, but won’t be of much help to you if thanks to it your website drops of Google, Yahoo and/or Bing. Still, despite the high risk of penalization and even removal from the search engine results, there are many website owners that choose to plagiarize content. This further highlights how important it is that we protect our original content.

How to Protect your Content?

There are many different tools that webmasters can use to detect potential plagiarism, like the plagiarism checker PlagTracker, the duplicate content checking and monitoring tool PlagSpotter, or CopyScape, etc. When they are certain their content has been plagiarized they can file a DMCA complaint and ask for the duplicate content to be removed.