What to do if somebody has stolen your article and republished it. How to deal with copyright theft. How do I go after somebody who has plagiarized my article? Are people allowed to republish Knoji articles? How do I stop theft of my articles? How do I get my copyright article removed from another site?
Knoji, the website formerly known as Factoidz, does not allow you to republish your article on other sites. They introduced this change on February 8, 2012*. If you spot your article on an other site, Knoji requires you to “take appropriate action to remove it”, however not everyone knows how to do this.
*Note if you already republished your own Knoji article that had been originally published prior to February 8, 2012, this is acceptable, however if somebody else republished it without your permission this information may also apply.
Stealing somebody's written work is plagiarism if they claim to be the author, it is copyright theft unless you specifically released your article copyright free (which, as mentioned, Knoji articles are not), a person who uses your article has stolen property, and violated copyright laws.
It is often considered fair use for a person to use a paragraph and link it back to the original article in a “read more” sort of way, but anything more than this, including taking a small portion and not linking back to the original article, is not allowed. Reprinting your entire article and linking back to the original is also not allowed for Knoji articles.
So, what do you do if you find stolen material of yours on another website?
First contact the poster if possible. They might have a “Contact Us” link. Another good way to contact them is by leaving comments – include notification in the comments that you are the original author, that your article is copyright protected under United States and International copyright laws, and that you request the material be removed immediately. On some websites you can message the author, which may be more effective than leaving a comment, however ideally you can do both.
Make a note of the website and check back in a couple of days to see if the person complied. If they have not, you can contact them again, noting a deadline for removal.
If you cannot contact the writer, or leave comments, you can use the services of Copyscape or a similar provider to run a “Whois” check to see who hosts the site and you can contact the host about removing copyright material.
If the person has not replied, or removed the content, you should send a note to Knoji, explaining (and dating) your attempts to have the content removed.
Please note that you, the author, can request removal of your stolen articles, as can Knoji, but you should not become a vigilante for other authors; if you do spot their articles being plagiarized, let them know and let them deal with it.
Likewise you need to be aware that you cannot steal from other writers. If you quote somebody, always link back to the source, even if you use a picture, be sure it is copyright free for use on the creative commons (bing, and google images, typically are not safe to use).
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