My Content Was Stolen, Now What?

If you have read my blogs before you know that I hate to blog. It’s difficult for me to put my words together in writing, and I have to work harder than the average blogger or writer to get my point across. So, when I see content that I have written taken word for word and someone has changed the author name from mine to theirs, I see red.

Recently, I wrote an article published on Search Engine Journal, and just a few weeks later I found this on Slideshare:

Slideshare Content

Upon further review, I noticed that EVERY BLOG ON HIS SITE, at least every one I looked at, IS STOLEN!

How can he get away with this and what can I do about it?

This is not right. It’s not ethical and, as a matter of fact, I think it’s downright illegal. (So I thought) I started looking at other stories he posted on his site and I found out that this is not an isolated event.

This blog posted on his site “Affiliate Forum Marketing: What are the Benefits?” was actually stolen from http://www.makingyourlivingonline.com and written by Jonas Alferez on November 2012. Here it is in its original format: http://jonasalferez.com/tag/affiliate-internet-marketing-can-buy-some-happiness/. As a matter of fact, this article has been plagiarized a couple times since its original release:

Let me say that I am not sure if these people who republished Jonas Alferez’s article had permission to use his content, or not. Also, I don’t know if I should be jealous or not, because my article was only plagiarized once… not multiple times. Hmmm.

Anyway, back to my question at hand. How can he get away with it, and what can I do? Well, the first thing I did was post a question on his blog: You can see it here:

Blog Comment

Of course, I have not yet received an answer. Secondly, I alerted my business contact at Search Engine Journal to make him aware of the plagiarism, and thirdly, I sent a tweet and an email to SlideShare asking them to remove the offending slides. Below is the answer I received from Benjamin Woodard at SlideShare, and I do have to say that I was answered within the hour, so I was happy about that.

I subsequently sent them all the documentation they requested immediately upon receipt of their email, so let’s see how fast they take it down. The formal request was sent at 12:20 PM on 4/30/2013. So stay tuned… Oh by the way you can read the SlideShare procedures for removing content that has been “stolen” here: http://www.slideshare.net/terms#dmca

Response From Benjamin Woodard

So now this has taken up most of my morning, and I am still frustrated. I feel that I need to go to every person Vadim Ivanenko has stolen from and alert them, but I have more important things to do like write this blog about my content being stolen.

Copying and Cheating Statistics

Maybe the digital content cheating goes back deeper than we think. During my research for this blog, I came across this infographic:
Cheating in the digital age
Courtesy of: Schools.com

I was amazed by the statistics and realize, after reading a number of articles, that plagiarism is going social. As a matter of fact, turnitin.com states that one-third of all content they studied is matched  from social networks, content sharing or question-and-answer sites where users contribute and share content, and Wikipedia remains the most popular single source for matched content on the Web. Interesting huh? I wonder what college Vadim Ivanenko attended, if any.

Is Plagiarism Illegal?

Well, apparently not. According to Jonathan Bailey who writes for Plagiarism Today, he states, “While much of the time, plagiarism is illegal, copying words, images, audio and video from others and passing it off as your own is often a form of copyright infringement. Most modern plagiarists run the risk of being copyright infringers as well as plagiarists just by the nature of their activities.”

But just as not all copyright infringements are plagiarisms, not all plagiarisms are infringements. There are many ways one can completely legally plagiarize including:

  1. Plagiarize Works in the Public Domain: Once the copyright expires on a work, one can use it without fear of infringement. This includes plagiarizing it. Though many countries have moral rights that can extend past the copyright of the work, generally plagiarism is just as much of a non-infringement as attributed copying.
  2. Non-Copyrightable Works: Likewise, many creative works don’t qualify for copyright protection at all. This includes works created by the U.S. government (though not state governments), fashion designs and creative works not fixed into a tangible medium of expression. Other elements of a work, including titles, ideas and concepts also don’t fall under copyright protection though many consider their use without attribution to be plagiarism.
  3. Non-Infringing use: Finally, there are some cases where the work is copyrightable and not in the public domain but the use of it is non-infringing, such as when only small portions are used, leading to a possible fair use argument. Not all uses of a work are infringing and attribution is only a small factor in determining if a use is fair or not. You can read his whole article here:  http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2012/04/17/when-plagiarism-isnt-illegal/

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

What is my advice? Since I am the CEO of Advice Interactive Group (get it?)  I guess it stands to say that I always have an opinion and quite often I give advice even when it’s not requested. My advice today is don’t stand by and let it happen to you. Fight back. As a matter of fact, during the writing of this blog, and less than 1 hour after sending my request for removal to SlideShare, they removed the stolen content. Thank you SlideShare!

One last comment, if this has happened to you, drop me a line, comment on this blog, share this story and spread the word. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Uploaded Content Suspended

Yeah, we are good!

4 Comments
  1. We recently had a Website stilling our articles almost on a daily basis claiming they were theirs. We filed a DMCA over dmca.org and with Google (as we noticed it was Google hosting the blog that was stealing). A week later all the content was removed as the result of the DMCA, days after Google eliminated the blog and a message appeared that it was removed due to copyright infringements.

    So if the owner of the blog isn’t responding or refusing to remove the content, go against their hosting, they are not allowed to host copyrighted content if not authorized by the owner.

    1. Bernadette Coleman says:

      Thanks for the info. I am surprised Google took the time to fix this but Kudo’s Google!

      1. Yeah, it surprised us too, although we didn’t get an answer from Google they took action on it. It was the first and only time we saw an actual action from Google after we told them.

  2. Lena says:

    Bernadette thanks for the article and the information. It was timely because yesterday I came across some google search results with many of my articles and images stolen from my fashion site! It also takes me effort and long hours of work to put those materials together and I will not stand by and watch them get infringed. I immediately filed a DMCA notice with Google and hopefully they will be removed soon. All the best! :)

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