Plagiarism: Is Someone Stealing Your Work?

Google AlertDo you have a Google Alert set up to scan the wilds of the Internet for your work?  If not, you should.

I use this basic Google function to search for my name.  Because I sign blog posts as SueBE and use Sue Bradford Edwards as my byline on print and non-blog electronic materials, I search for both.  Each day that Google finds something new, an alert pops in via e-mail.  Last week I got one that looked suspicious.  Someone was giving my work away for free.

When I clicked on my link, I was shocked to see a copy of my book, The Ancient Maya which is definitely not free content.  Because it was work for hire, I don’t technically hold the copyright, but I doubt seriously that the publisher authorized this company to give away the e-book for free.  I sent a quick e-mail to my editor who sent a buzz up the chain-of-command.

If you don’t have an alert set up, I’d suggest that you click on the link above.  You can have Google search for your name, the title of your book or simply a subject.

But what do you do if you do find someone using your work?  One writer I know sends a cease and disist letter and a bill.  It works every time. I’m not saying that she gets a nice fat check, but they do remove her work from their site.  They know she means business which isn’t to say that they are always polite.  But, like my friend, I can handle rude as long as they quit stealing from me.

You can also contact the site provider or host.  I’ve never known someone to have to do this.

Especially if you have work available electronically, take the time to set up an alert today.