You are going through the internet one day and you come across one of your papers posted on another person’s website. A line that references you as the author is missing and no where on the website has been written to acknowledge that this is your work. In this case you have been plagiarized. This makes one a victim of plagiarism.
The word victim is a very strong word that is used in instances where someone has been injured by another person. Being a victim of plagiarism is not a small issue because it comes with other stressful events. Everyone should know that the process of being a victim could take months and in many cases it would translate to years before everything can be settled.
Protection of original work
Even before we document what one should do when faced with a scenario of being a victim of plagiarism, an explanation on how original work is protected with be done. When we say copyright, it means having legal right. Copyright is a term recognized internationally by law and this term legally gives an author the right to own a certain development exclusively.
Copyright gives an author the permission to not only own the document but also use it as he wishes and distribute it however he feels like. It is from such a description that we find the word copyright. When one operates under the laws of copyright, he is considered to have a shield to defend his property from being stolen and this applies to freelance writers, song composers, journalists and researchers.
Even with the term copyright and how the law ensures protection of other people’s work, there are still people who find stealing information to be fun as long as they are able to fulfill that which they should attain. Because most of these people are in business, using other people’s work is for the purpose of making quick money or appearing to be successful before others.
The law has come up with copyright issues as a way to have people create their own content. Therefore, every time you are writing, make sure your content is original and you will have no reasons to worry that you may be using another person’s work without permission. And even when creating your own work you have to also make sure that the law protects your work from any kind of theft. Protection from the law is not a fact that should be neglected in the present world.
What should I do if I am a victim?
You can choose to overlook that fact that your content has been stolen but the thief would not stop stealing what belongs to you. Your original work is yours and so you need to take action against such behavior or if the actions seem harsh, you can make your work less attractive to theft. However, if you find yourself in a victimized position, you can uphold your rights by;
- Have the evidence documented. Has someone used your content without permission? Do you have proof of it? Having it in words might not be enough, maybe you need to convince your audience that you are a victim of plagiarism and it is evident that your content has been stolen. Verbal evidence can easily be overlooked and deleted but documented evidence might make you win the case.
- Contact the plagiarist. When your content is stolen, you still have a chance to square things with the plagiarist is a mature way. One of the ways to deal with them peacefully is by letting them know what is expected from them now that they have stolen. In the event that the plagiarist refuses to heed to your demands, you still have the chance to record the contact which will help you build a case in the future. If you are a student, you can choose not to contact the plagiarist directly but instead use the Administrative head to confront him.
- Acquire some insight about the whole thing. Once your work is stolen, do not be quick to make contact or start a case. You can choose to first evaluate the situation and check whether it would be hard or easier to deal with the theft. It is very likely that you will someone who does not admit that he has stolen and therefore before starting the case process consider also the value of the stolen content and the outcome of the case. Weighing the case in this manner makes it easier for you to figure out which way to go.
- Look for cases of plagiarism online. Definitely your case is not the first. There are so many similar cases online and you can check for them one at a time. Also check for the much content that has been plagiarized.
- Seek assistance from a lawyer. This should be the last resort when all the above has failed. Hiring a lawyer can be costly because of the legal fees involved and so if you choose this path be sure you will give out a lot of money. In any case, you can choose to seek counsel from as many people as possible before proceeding with the case.