Writers have a certain level of pride for their skill in writing. Whether you’re a web copywriter, a book author, a journalist, or a blogger, you can institute measures to prevent your content from being copied. Having your writing copied can have several repercussions. First, from a search engine point of view, Google, Yahoo! and other search engines will penalize you for duplicate content. So whether you are the original creator or not, both the website that copied and the original one might be pushed down lower in the search results.
Whatever your reason, you can prevent your material from being copied both through active and passive means.
Copyscape. Perhaps the easiest way to detect when your writing has been copied is by checking these through Copyscape copsycape.com. The site has both a free and paid service that lets you do several things. First, you can paste in a URL and the site will check other websites through the Google API for matches. Or, you can paste in an entire block of text (up to 2,000 words). Additionally, you can use the Copysentry service, which will automatically alert you if there are any other websites copying your content.
Copyscape can detect percentage matches, which means that even if the copied material is not the entire thing, it can detect similar phrases, sentences and paragraphs. It will be up to you what to do after you’ve detected a copy, though.
File a DMCA complaint. For online content, you can file a DMCA takedown notice with the web hosting company of the infringing site. Say, you have an article, blog post or even a book manuscript that was copied by another person. You can find out the owner of the domain and web hosting account, and you can write the web hosting company using the pro-forma DMCA takedown notice. In this form, you indicate that you are the original source, and that the erring site has copied your writing. A format and instructions can be found on The Google DMCA page at google.com.
Register with the copyright office. The best way to protect yourself legally from any copying is by registering your material with the US copyright office (www.copyright.gov). While each and every material produced by you is automatically copyrighted upon publishing, registering with the Copyright office will give you more extensive legal rights. In the event that someone publishes material that is exactly the same or similar to yours, having a formal copyright will make it easier for you to prove first instance, which means that you are the first author of the work. A short guide and resource can be found at howtodothings.com.
Copyrighting your work will ensure that you have full legal rights to it. Other people can build upon your work only with your prior consent (except if the material is within fair use). Be diligent with protecting your written works. Disputes can be as simple as issuing a DMCA notice. However, in some cases, disputes can be costly and will take time and effort, such as in the case of litigation.