TOW #5: Only Claim What’s Yours

At one point or another in our lives, others have given us “What if?” scenarios. Listen up journalists and public relations professionals, because here is a real-life “What if?” situation for you: “Imagine you are working in public relations for an organization, and you discover that someone has scraped/copied content from your organization’s blog. What approach would you take to remedy this situation?” (from Topics of the Week by Public Relations Matters)

Image Credit: “stealing on flickr continues…” by Nisha A

First and foremost, I would contact my boss to let him/her know what is happening and get his/her backing on taking other steps to remedy this problem. If anything where to go wrong in the process of changing this situation, I would rather have him/her know about it beforehand.

My next move would be to contact by phone the person that took content from my organization’s blog. I would ask them to either take the information off of their blog or quote and properly cite the information when using it. It’s not likely that I would be able to find their phone number on their blog, so email and a direct message to the author would be my second choices in regards to avenues through which to contact the author.

If I didn’t receive a reply or see a change in the article’s format within a day, I would look for further ways to contact the author.  I would go as far as contacting the company they work for because until the information copied from my organization’s blog is removed or cited correctly, readers will perceive the work to be theirs.

If I was still not able to contact them and see change, I would go back to my boss and the possibility of legal actions would be discussed.

Plagiarism is a serious issue, not only for college students, but also journalists, public relations professionals, writers, and other professionals. The copying of any work without citation is plagiarism, so remember that the next time you are tempted to use someone else’s work.


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