Posted on April 10, 2008
Filed Under (Advice) by jennifer

Recently, I spoke with Gideon Greenspan, whose company, Indigo Stream Technologies, created Google Alert and more recently Copyscape; small business attorney and entrepreneur Cliff Ennico, whose books include Small Business Survival Guide and The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book; and a number of small business owners about online plagiarism and what website owners can do to protect their original online content — everything from articles to white papers to customer testimonials, even descriptions of their business, selves, and products.

What I found was shocking — at least it shocked me.

“The problem [of online plagiarism] is definitely growing,” Greenspan told me. “Copying content is extremely easy and can be done by anyone, anywhere, and any time. Given the hours of work it takes to write and edit original content, the temptation to steal existing content is just too great for many people around the world. This threat can only be addressed by vigilant plagiarism search and detection.”  

So what can you do to prevent someone from stealing your online content and protect your investment? Read my article, “Catching Copycats: Protecting Your Online Content,” which was just posted on Ecommerce-Guide.com, to find out. (Note: If you want to link to the article or this blog post, that’s fine. Just remember to include proper attribution, please. If you wish to use information contained in the article (more than what is considered “fair use”), you need to get permission from Jupitermedia.

In a hurry and don’t have time to read the article right now? Okay. Here are a few quick tips:

1. Put a copyright notice on the bottom of every page of your site. That’s c in a circle [©], the year, your name, and then the words “All rights reserved.” And don’t just put the current year. Go back to the date your site went live and use that at the beginning of the range.

2. Put a trademark (TM) or service mark (SM) symbol after the name of your business and your tagline (if it’s unique).

3. Check the web frequently for copycats by using a free service like Copyscape — or by cutting and pasting a small paragraph into Google and seeing if that content shows up anyplace else.

4. Protect your copy by using read only or password protected PDFs. Thieves are generally lazy and hate to retype.

5. Put prospective copycats on notice by including the Copyscape anti-theft banner or words to that affect on your site.

6. And if you find someone is stealing your content, email them right away and ask them to stop.

For more (and more detailed) information, read my article — but again, please, do not use any of the content without proper attribution and/or proper permission.

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