Some time ago, I opened my e-mail box and found a message from a reader alerting me to something that was rather startling. He said he had just received an article that was sent to him and it was exactly the same article as one he read earlier in the week in another publication. The problem was that the article was written by me originally, only someone took the article, changed the title and added their own bio. Fortunately for me, the person who wrote to me had read many of my articles so he recognized my writing style and intuitively sensed that I was the original author. He very kindly sent me the article and the URL address where the article was posted. Imagine my shock and anger at learning that someone would have the audacity to plagiarize an original article?

At first I allowed emotion to take over. I felt totally at a loss and couldn't help experiencing feelings of powerless. I wanted to scream, but after about 20 minutes of turmoil, I put aside my anger and decided there had to be a way to rectify the situation. As a starting off place, I went to the site of the literary thief to find out a bit more about who he was and what kind of site he operated. I discovered that not only had he copied my article, but to add insult to injury, he had copyrights inserted both on my article as well as on his site. Talk about hypocrisy.

Thinking my only recourse was to write him a letter and make him aware that I was on to him, I hastily put together a brief note and alerted him of my awareness of his infringement of copyright laws. I got no response. Stewing for a while in my discomfort, I was finally inspired to do a search on Google for some information regarding plagiarism. How delighted I was when I found several valuable bits of information that immediately provided me with the tools that put me in the driver's seat.

First, I came upon an article by a gentleman named Michael Southon who had written an excellent paper titled "Is Someone Plagiarizing Your Work?" Apparently Michael had been through something almost identical to my dilemma some time ago except that his perpetrator had actually sent Michael his own article with the plagiarists name written as the author. Due to his situation, Michael wrote an article offering first hand knowledge that I followed to the letter. He suggested that one immediately contact the plagiarist and request that he or she remove the article at once in addition to informing everyone he sent the article to that it had been plagiarized. Michael went on to say one should mention that if he did not withdraw the article from circulation that the web host would be contacted as well as any moderators that distributed the article. I felt so much relief as I sent that message.

With that done, I set on my course to discover what else I could do to alleviate my anguish and stop this from happening again, either to me or to someone else. I was not going to let go until I realized some results. So back to Google I went and soon found a web site titled the APIC, Association for the Protection of Internet Copyright. I was so excited that there actually was something akin to the Internet Police that I jumped for joy. APIC is a worldwide organization that protects people against those who steal material from others on the Internet. With fingers flying across the keyboard, I promptly wrote to them and explained my situation. I had a response within a half an hour.

In conjunction to my earlier e-mail based on Michael's wonderful suggestions and the support from Steve at APIC, I finally heard from the culprit. In his e-mail he made some lame apology and excuse that his intention was in no way meant as plagiarism. He foolishly said that he had received the article with no name attached so he merely used it. I was more than shocked that someone would simply use an article because it appeared in their e-mail box with no name.

In any event, I felt it was important that my fellow and sister writers be aware that there is a great deal of Internet plagiarism going on and it can affect you randomly. Fortunately on that day, the Force was with me when someone so courteously and kindly notified me that my article was stolen. I am very grateful to the person who alerted me and extremely appreciative that they respected my work enough to make me aware of the situation. Since that time, I have discovered that hundreds of people blatantly copy articles as well as website content word for word. When I discover any type of plagiarism, I immediately take action and write a cease and desist letter to those that copy my material, whether it's an article or website content. For the most part, the majority of people who get caught take the content down. Unfortunately, there are still a few people who ignore copyright laws and do not act honorably when using this amazing means of communication.

I hope no one else is forced to take action in regard to plagiarism, but just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. now you know that there is valuable information available that can support you in a time of need.

Author's Bio: 

Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Writing Stylist and Author to her creative efforts as a freelance writer/consultant. She has successfully helped thousands of companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing outstanding articles, press releases, bios, website content, business plans, resumes and all other forms of marketing, business or personal material. You can reach Charlene at info@allyourwritingneeds.com or by visiting her web site at http://www.allyourwritingneeds.com. You can also call her directly at 310)514-4844