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Avoiding Plagiarism

All authors hope their work won’t be stolen, though myriad authors are subjected to this type of thievery and there doesn’t seem to be much one can do about it at a glance. However, if you discover your work has been plagiarised, you should immediately contact the website upon which it’s being sold and notify them that they are selling it illegally. Though it may not appear so until further investigation, there is much one can do to thwart thieves – plagiarism is the same as stealing someone’s car; if you are caught, there are penalties to pay… so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are helpless against it.

There are two main reasons plagiarists often get away with it:

1: Authors have no idea their work has been stolen.

2: Authors think they cannot do anything about it, particularly when so many distributors expect you to jump through hoops to prove the work is yours, while the plagiarist who uploaded your work is assumed the rightful owner from the start.

What are the chances you would even know your work had been plagiarised?

Following are some ideas to help you to keep a sharp eye on your work and where it appears for sale online.

Copyscape is an excellent tool to check for plagiarism. It will only check HTML pages, as far as we know, but it should pick up free book samples that have been plagiarised. You can use it to check your website text too, in order to ensure it’s completely original. Users can check up to five or ten URLS for free each month, and there is a subscription option for more advanced plagiarism checks.

Google Alerts is a good way to keep an eye on your books online. Once you’ve set up the alerts, you will be notified via email if your key words appear anywhere online, along with a link taking you to the page. We suggest setting up alerts for your author name and your book titles. Keep in mind that this is not foolproof, as much slips past Google Alerts.

The 20 Best Free Anti-Plagiarism Tools is an old 2007 article, but its tips are still valid for plagiarism prevention, detection and reporting. The article also includes other important information, including how to prove that the work in question is, indeed, legally yours.

The Plagiarism Resource Site is worth bookmarking. The website provides a plethora of information about plagiarism, offers free plagiarism detection software and shares links to other websites dealing with plagiarism.

Creative Commons licenses are not a substitute for copyright. They work with copyright and allow you to adapt your copyright terms according to your preferences.

If you know of any other anti-plagiarism tools, please share them with us.


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