Anyone who owns an established website knows about content theft. Given the size of the web and the anonymity it provides as well as the ease at which copyrighted material can be reproduced, it’s a surprise Internet plagiarism isn’t more common.
Whether it’s an article you spent six hours writing, that witty blog post featured on Digg, or just a paragraph from your site’s homepage, every website owner is a victim of web plagiarism at one point or another. Besides not getting credit for your work, other sites’ use of your content can negatively affect search engine rankings. Worst of all, others might link to the stolen work instead of the original, taking hard-earned traffic away from your site.
What can you do to stop it? The first step is to find out if your work has been copied and by someone else. One way to do this is through a simple web search. Take a sentence of an article you think is a hot target for plagiarism, place it in quotation marks, and run it through Google. If a site has stolen any part of your work, it will appear in your search results.
My favorite tool for tracking content thieves is Copyscape. Enter a web address and it will show you potential copies of any page on your site. Copyscape also has an excellent guide on responding to web plagiarism.