How to Check if Your Content is Stolen

by Howard B. Richman

Here are some easy tips on how to check if people have copied your copyrighted digital material on their website. Lately, people put up a website and think nothing of stealing your content. This could be the literal text of your web page that is being copied. Or, it could be FILES on your website that are also being copied and given away for free or even sold without your knowledge. You need to protect your intellectual properties by using automated duplicated content checkers or by manual techniques. With just a little effort, you can set up a variety of plagiarism checkers that will help give you peace of mind.

Manually Scan the Web for Matches to Your Page

Why can’t you just type the text into google? Because google has a maximum of 32 words that you are allowed to check in one search. Many times this might be enough but what if you want to check to see if a larger amount of text is stolen?

There are many free and paid web services available for tracking and scanning your pages to check if any possible content is being stolen anywhere in the web. Some services which I suggest are:

Use Google Images to look for copies of your images.

Remember to use quotes around your material. So instead of typing this in:

The story of my amazing life in New York City

Type this:

“The story of my amazing life in New York City”

The reason is that with most search engines and plagiarism checkers, you want to check for ADJACENT words. Otherwise, you will get all the sites that have THE and STORY and OF and MY and AMAZING, etc. rather than those words being next to each other.

Embed Your Post With Trackable Identifiers

  • Filenames. Try to use creative or unusual filenames, that sometimes might even include intentional misspellings. This way, you can search for such a file and find it more readily than a more commonly-named file. 

  • Create a trick link to a page of your site. Most people will just copy your material as is and not take the time to update everything. You can track inbound links with link checker sites or through your own server and thus find sites that have copied this link. The link could be a link that ONLY goes to a page of your site for this purpose, rather than to your home page, which would be harder to distinguish from legit sites.

Use a Plagiarism-Tracking Plugin

If you have a CMS-based website, like WordPress, you can easily add copy-protection software with a plagiarism-tracking plugin. for a current list

Digital Fingerprint 

Create Control Over How People Can Use Your Content

The following are WordPress plugins to help ALLOW people to copy your material in exchange for receiving proper credit or even payment!

Embed Article

iCopyright(R) Article Tools – Identify websites that re-use your content without permission and request takedown or convert them to customers.

Use An Automated Warning System

Automatic notification alerts are usually not free. But they are so very helpful because they track illegal postings of your work and send you announcements with each infraction.

Use Your Web Stats to Observe Inbound Links

  • Use Absolute Links for HTML Pages: An absolute link is the complete URL, for example If you use relative links, it is very easy for a plagiarist to copy your web site or individual web pages to a new domain. Absolute links would require the plagiarist to work harder to remove or change all of your absolute links. Remember, a plagiarist is lazy. If the plagiarist fails to change or remove all of your links, your web stats could alert you to your stolen web content.