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They Stole My Articles!
On the internet, copyright violations are all over. The first time I discovered one of my articles on another website with someone else's name as the author, I was a bit shocked. It even linked through to this other person's website. I have come to accept that this is a normal part of the business - at least for now. If you submit your articles to directories, this will happen to you too.
No legal advice here, but you'll find some practical advice on avoiding the problem, finding the copyright violations, and resolving the problem without legal help. There are three basic types of violations in my experience. They are outright theft, software mistakes, and common misunderstandings. The last two are relatively easy to correct.
Often new web site owners take articles and don't make your resource box link active. They may not be proficient in their HTML skills, or they didn't understand they needed to have the link active. A simple email telling them to activate the link or remove the article is usually sufficient.
A less common problem is a software problem at the article directory. I once saw one of my articles at a directory - with another person's name as the author. I assumed he had submitted it as his own. He said he didn't, and I got nastier. Then I discovered that the software the directory used was mixing up authors, resource boxes and articles.
It gets worse. I found my own name on other people's articles! I demanded they take my name off those articles immediately. They eventually fixed the problem, but the other lesson here is perhaps to be polite in your initial contact with "violators." Any web site owner could take articles from a directory like this, without knowing they have the wrong author name, and that "author" may know nothing of this.
The third type of copyright violation is the worst. There are many out there who will simply steal your content outright. I've had my articles used without name or resource box, as blog material. I've had others use my articles with their own names as author, and their own resource box linking to their sites.
A threatening email with a mention of your lawyer will usually resolve this. Mostly these thieves don't think they'll be noticed, and will take the article down once caught. If the copyright violation is at an article directory, let them know that someone stole your article, and they will usually remove it, or put your resource box and name on it. Beyond, these remedies you may need legal help.
Finding Copyright Violations
How do your articles that are stolen, or without your resource box or an active link? Use a search engine. Search for a sentence fragment (four to seven words) or subheading from your article in quotation marks. This way you will zero in on just your articles. Try a couple ways, like by title or last line, since a thief may rewrite it slightly.
What if you find your article in a ten places this way, but they're all using it properly? Does that mean no one has stolen it? The bad news is that there may be copyright violations you can't find. The good news is that if you can't find a stolen version, the page it's on probably isn't indexed in the search engine, and as a result no one sees it. As ugly as the theft is, little harm has been done.
Do what you can to prevent, find, and remedy copyright violations, but accept that the internet is still like the wild west. Don't give up this powerful tool of online articles. In any case, eventually the sheriff is coming to town.
About the Author: Copyright Steve Gillman. He lost money on his websites until he discovered the power of articles. Six months later he was making a good living online. To learn how you can do the same, get your free online writing course at: http://www.999articles.com