What to do When You Become a Victim of Plagiarism
A victim is quite a strong word we usually use in cases when someone has been seriously harmed or injured by other people (with the exception of cases when we use this word within the humorous context, i.e. “the victim of a hoax”). And rightfully so we say “a victim of plagiarism” when someone’s work has been used and published without any author’s consent. This isn’t a small problem as it may seem at first. Dealing with plagiarism is a stressful endeavor and it assumes a lot of work to be made in order to compensate the harm that has been done. Additionally, one should know that this process will likely take months or, in some cases, years before everything is settled.
Before we say what steps are to be taken if one has already become a victim of plagiarism, we would like to take time and explain about copyright protection a little bit. A copyright is a legal right that has been recognized by the international law granting an author of the work an exclusive right to use it and/or distribute it. This then becomes the foundation for copyright protection as the term “copyright” basically becomes an intellectual property that is to be protected like any other property that people own. Copyright protection then becomes a saving shield that can defend one’s intellectual property from theft. This is especially relevant for the world of music, literature, and science.
Unfortunately, there are many people who would be happy to use other people’s property to achieve their own goals. Plagiarism is just one of the tools they use in order to make money or be successful in the eyes of other people. Therefore, authors’ protection from plagiarism users (or simply plagiarists) is an important aspect of creating an original content. It seems like this subject will always be popular because one can always easily find people who want to use other’s property (including intellectual property) for their own benefits. So if you are creating a unique content and you have a good reason to worry that it may be used by other people without your permission, you better make sure you are protected from such theft. Authors’ protection from plagiarism (plagiarist) users isn’t something to be neglected in today’s world.
What to Do If You Already Are a Victim?
We have to say that all cases are individual and should be approached in the same manner. The procedure is different for bloggers, scientists, and students. So you have to understand what you are dealing with because you might want to take different measures depending on the level your work has been plagiarized on. But here are some generic steps you can take regardless of the situation. We hope you will never have to use our advice but in case you have already been victimized, below you can find the list of things you could do to adequately address the issue.
Get some perspective on the whole thing. You need to evaluate the situation and get some perspective on how hard it will be to deal with a plagiarist. It is most likely that the one will not admit it and will make some counter claims. So before initiating the process you need to consider how important for you the plagiarized content is. Also, what outcomes do you expect for yourself and for the one who has stolen your work? It is always good to know where you are going rather than figuring it out on the way.
Document the evidence. If someone has used your content without your permission you have to prove it. Your words are not enough. So you need to have convincing evidence that would prove that your content has been stolen. This is especially relevant if you found your content online. Keep in mind that it can easily be deleted before you even make your case.
Search for more plagiarized content once you have found something. The thing is that those who use other’s work never do it one time. That means if someone has plagiarized a piece of your article, the chances are pretty high that they either would do it again or did it many times in the past. The point is you need to know how much work was stolen.
Contact the plagiarist. At this point you still have a chance to rule everything out pretty peacefully. The least you should do is to let them know what you expect them to do (compensation, removing of the content, etc.). Even if they are not going to do any of those things, you will have a record of contact which can help you build up your case in future. If you are in the university it is better to notify an Administrative Head, avoiding direct contact with the one who has stolen your work.
Lawyer’s assistance if it is worth it. This method is to be used as a last resort and you want to make sure it will compensate in financial figures since lawyer’s services are very costly as well as legal fees you will have to pay if you choose this path. In any case it is better to consult a lawyer first to hear what he/she has to say. They may give you a decent advice you may want to use.