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Unfortunately, internet plagiarism is flourishing. There's now a whole industry that supplies college students with 'model' term papers for purpose of plagiarism. Here are just some of websites that are part of this industry:
School Sucks http://www.schoolsucks.com/
Other People's Papers http://www.oppapers.com/
Evil House of Cheat http://www.cheathouse.com/
But plagiarism industry has spawned another industry: websites and software designed to detect plagiarism. One such software was developed by turnitin.com (www.turnitin.com) and plagiarism.org (www.plagiarism.org).
This is how it works: software makes a 'digital fingerprint' of a submitted document using an elaborate set of algorithms. That fingerprint is then checked against a database that contains over 1 billion publicly-available web pages. Plagiarism.org then produces an 'originality report' that gives user an index of how original submitted paper was, and whether it falls above or below 'plagiarism threshold'.
This software, however - while an excellent tool for college professors - probably wouldn't help writers find out if their work has been plagiarized.
---------------------------------------- What Can You Do About It? ----------------------------------------
The Internet is so vast, chances are you wouldn't know if someone had plagiarized your work. I only discovered that my work had been plagiarized because 'author' sent his plagiarized article to me for publication in my own newsletter.
But if you do discover that someone has plagiarized one of your articles, you could do what I did.
I immediately contacted author of 'article' and requested that he email everyone to whom he had sent article, explaining that it was plagiarized, and that they should on no account publish it. I added that if he did not withdraw article from circulation I would contact his web host and moderators of any lists that distributed article.
The author replied within a few hours and admitted that similarity between 2 articles was "VERY uncanny". He said he had no idea "how they could be so similar". But after a few emails, he did withdraw article.
In a way, it's a compliment when someone plagiarizes your work: it means you're writing good stuff. But that's little consolation. If you make your living from writing on Internet, plagiarism could be greatest threat to your livelihood.
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