A few days ago, we were contacted by one of our followers (we will not give out a name for good reasons) that someone was using work of others as their own work. Yes, another case of plagiarism. In other words, Pretend it’s yours. It isn’t, so here is another article on plagiarism.
We discussed this topic a lot on our website and it still happens. Yes, we didn’t expect the world to change overnight, unfortunately. These things still happen. Many of you are struggling with the questions what to do about this. There are a few options which we discuss in this article.
Keep in mind that the one who is using work of others will deny. This always happens. Admitting that you used someone else’s work is like defeat and no one wants to do this. This can be quite frustrating and your ability to remain calm will be tested. Just remember that you must remain calm at all times. If you still want to rant, consider to write an e-mail to us or send a message using our social media accounts.
In your message, you can explain what you have found: the URL’s of the plagiarism are very important. As well as the URL’s that contain your own work. If possible, they must contain a clear date stamp. When you post something on social media, there will always be a date stamp visible. Make sure that the date stamp of the one who copied your work is also visible.
We too can confront the person who copied your work. We can ask them what their opinion is about the plagiarism. Unfortunately, we don’t have a team of lawyers present to take legal actions. However, we can do anything to report this plagiarism to the website owners and we will do so.
A few months ago, we received a poem that was checked for plagiarism. The so-called poet denied that it was copied and we send a message to the publishing company. You see, this is how far we are willing to go for you. Reporting these forms of plagiarism to the support department of the social media companies is also an option. In most cases, you must fill in the report yourself.
There is a good chance that your account will be on a block list by the person who stole your text. Yes, stole, since this is clearly theft. In some countries, it is even illegal and can lead to legal prosecution. Yes, again, yes!
So, while being blocked, there is a good chance the one who stole your work is making fame with your work. You will not be able to see this and you can’t respond to them. Blocking them back is a good option to consider, but it won’t change the fact that your work is being used already. And if you are blocked, you can’t -in most cases- report the work anymore. Before you confront them, it’s a better idea to report. Yes, a strong message, but it has to be done. If you do it the other way around, you will not be able to find the postings anymore, if they are on social media.
If your work is also on a website, you can report this to Google using this link. If you choose the option to report copyright issues, you will be forwarded to a special page to report this. This applies only to Google and Google related websites, such as Blogger, YouTube or Google Image Search. But it is also an option to consider when your work is visible using a Google search query. There are many, many websites that simply copy the content of Instagram or other social media platforms to their own website. Even when the original post is removed, the information (plagiarism) may still be visible to others. You don’t want this!
If you want to take it a step further, there is a special page to report copyright infringement based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Remember that this might be more applicable when it comes to violations of copyrights instead of plagiarism. According to Google these aren’t the same. This has to do with the fact that plagiarism is well known within the literary and academic world. Copyright is a thing that is related to the illegal usage of -for example- photos. So, make a decision how far do you want to go with this report. In most cases filing the report using the special page you can find here is enough.
There are many search engines… This is time consuming. So, maybe it is a better idea to focus on the social media accounts of those who copied your work. All social media companies have ways to report plagiarism. Instead of plagiarism, they want to call it copyright infringement. Most legal experts will jump at this point and state that it differs. It does, but this discussion doesn’t really help you with filing a report. That is still what you are doing.
Not to report as spam!
Don’t report the account of the one who copied your work as being a spam account. This doesn’t help at all. This only helps for those accounts who claim that you can receive thousands or millions of followers (they can’t by the way, don’t fall for that trick).
Remember, you are still doing this before contacting the one who copied your work. Yes, this isn’t nice, but you don’t want to get blocked!
Our friends at Facebook have a special page for everything that is important when it comes to copyright infringement. As a photographer (yes, I am also a photographer), I had to use the information listed on this page several times. The page can be found here.
Facebook states that it takes claims of copyright infringement seriously. When someone copied my photos without my permission, I noticed that they took care of things in a good way. The account that used my images, was forced to take the photos offline. Unfortunately, this didn’t help to prevent to set back time. In the period between the posting and the removal, many users saw the photos and thought the photos were made by the person or persons who were responsible for this account and not me.
There is a fair warning on the page of Facebook for those who try to report false accusations. This comes with legal consequences. So, if you have a quarrel with someone, don’t use this option. There are other ways to settle a quarrel. One of them is to communicate in a normal matter!
Facebook wants you to consider if the content is copied under fair use. This is the usage of material by others than the maker, without their consent. Because it is part of criticism, comment, news reports, education or scientific research this is fair use. In most cases the plagiarism we see on social media doesn’t apply to the fair use policy, since someone claims it to be their own work. More information about the fair use policy can be found here.
If you are determined to follow the next step, reporting the plagiarism, the following information is needed:
- Your full contact details (name, e-mail address, phone number),
- A detailed description of the copyright infringement and the contents.
- The URL’s containing the original material (these can be social media URL’s as well).
More information can be found at the online form of Facebook.
Even though Facebook took over Instagram in 2012, you will have to file a report about plagiarism on an Instagram related web page. This page can be found here. The online form can be found on this page.
On Twitter, there is a separate page available from the Help centre. Twitter states that reports can be filed from tweets and dm’s as well. You can read more about this in this section of the information about reporting.
Twitter even explains on the page I just mentioned that it’s possible to report using the apps on your smartphone.
Even Tumblr has a special page, that is fairly hidden actually, to report copyright infringement, as they call it. You can find it here.
Other social media platforms
There are many social media platforms that are used. If the social media platform you are using isn’t listed, try a search engine to find out where and how to report. If you are not sure, feel free to contact The Ministry of Poetic Affairs.
So, you filed a report and now you want to know why someone stole your work. I can imagine that you want to know why someone stole your work and passed if off as their own work. I know, these situations can cause you to curse and scream. This is a logical reaction to theft. If someone was to steal your car, you would do the same. Not that your work is similar to a car. No, it’s more than that. Even as a father of two children, I can say that my poetry and photographs are my children as well. Sprung from my mind, my creativity and therefore from me. No, I am not mad if someone asks me if they can use the material (sometimes even when no money is concerned). It’s a different thing when someone does this without my consent and passes it off as their own.
Do ask yourself the question: are you up for a battle? A discussion about theft, that will probably lead to blocking your account? If you still want to know, but are afraid to ask: we can ask this for you. Free of charge. But, we advise you to report the account as described in this article. If this doesn’t help and your work is still visible, then we can try to get more attention using social media. We even want to take it as far as contacting the accounts who did this and report them as well. But, in some cases this isn’t possible. The social media platforms ask of those who are the victim of plagiarism to report this themselves.
Yes, it is such a disappointment and even more, when someone copies your work as their own work. We can relate to your frustration. If you want to take the work offline, then use the information in this article. If you have any questions, we are here for you! We are not only just the promotors, we also want to offer assistance when needed! That is why we are The Ministry of Poetic Affairs!