Writing is not only my passion, it is my business. I provide content for websites, blogs, newsletters and even books.  Most of the time, I am a ghostwriter and don’t get a byline for my writing (just a paycheck!) But I also write for my blog and for the online magazine Business2Community.  And when I publish to those venues, I do get a byline (but, alas, no paycheck).

When I write for my business, I do it to get recognition, to show prospective clients that I can write, and that I know my subject.  I am always happy when I do a Google search and find articles I have written. I also am extremely happy when people share my articles on social sites and include a link back to the original work.

plagiarism1What disappoints me is finding my articles repackaged under someone else’s byline.

Recently, a blog by a Toshiba Company blogger reproduced one of my articles.  They indicated that the article was reprinted from the magazine, but did not provide a link. They also removed my byline.  I wrote a polite note and asked them to include my byline and a link back to either the magazine or my blog if they were going to copy my work.  I was ignored.

Yesterday, while researching blog topics, I found an article I had published on November 9 for Business2Community.  A direct competitor of mine had copied the article, claimed it as his own, and published it on November 23.  To be fair, he did change one word in the title (from “The Hummingbird is only half the story…” to “The Hummingbird is just half the story…”). The article was reproduced verbatim.  I had included an image of a beagle with a computer that had our web address included. He removed that and added his image: a different image of a dog with a computer.

A quick Internet search about what to do when this happens yielded the sad fact that while this is theft, there are really few effective remedies.  I can ask people to stop doing it, but if they are dishonest enough to do it in the first place, that will probably not work. Since I did not get paid for the article (and he probably didn’t either) there are no overt financial damages, so legal action is not practical.

So what am I going to do?  Shrug my shoulders, move on, and just keep writing.  I can’t help but think that people who do this will eventually be exposed as the frauds they are.  However, if anyone has other suggestions, I would love to hear them.