"Oh, your kid looks awesome. I'll take her!" someone says, diving in to grab your child. You fight back, only to realise you are powerless, and there is nothing stopping this evil person from taking away your pride.

The endless hours spent slaving over her, to make her who she is, the time spent growing with her, letting her teach you new things every day, all now amount to nothing.

And you feel horrible, helpless and angered.

These feelings are similar to those of a person who work has plagiarised. Something they have worked on, spent endless hours poring over, learning new things and growing everyday can be easily snatched away in seconds, thanks to the alarmingly high rate of online plagiarism.

Everywhere we go these days such sites like fiction press and quizilla, an evil breed of "writer" lurks in the shadows, waiting to take your babies, your beloved stories.

The name of this breed? The Plagiarist.

Known to have no/minimal writing skills or imagination of their own, they resort to turning to the best of the best of our communities and stealing our story lines and ideas, and then slapping their name all over it, defaming our work with their disgusting behaviour.

Their act affects not only the original author, but also our communities in great way.

The author, loses the rose coloured glasses they once saw through to see a harsh and untrustworthy place, and takes down all their work to prevent further plagiarism, in turn, the readers lose a valuable piece of entertainment, which takes the literary value of these websites down, and most importantly, the writers lose a friend.

No one is safe,

Unless we take action.

I gathered some useful steps from the Australian Copyright council and The UK copyright service all writers can take to safeguard ourselves:

Be aware.

As much as it pains me to say this, one of your biggest fans, could be one of your biggest foes, go through your reviewers and look at their stories just to check.

Make sure your friends are also on the look out, encourage readers/friends to report back to you IMMEDIATELY if they find anything similar to your work.

Google your lines!

Take random sentences from your story, or the most funniest/ hard-hitting lines and search them in google, usually google brings up the links that carry these lines and bingo, your plagiarist is found (this is how I found my worst enemy.)

Have as much evidence as you can.

Record dates, keep your story/character plans together and as get as much proof as possible. Most if not all computers have the date documents were created which is a big bonus if it is needed to be used.

You also have to show that YOU came up with the idea and built it from the ground up. This is why plans and character profiles also come in handy.

Know your opponent

When you find your work has been plagiarised, get as much info on the offender as possible and report him/her to someone in power as soon as possible, if you are looking to take legal action you will need proof they took your work so you have to gather evidence against them.

Warnings are golden!

Give warnings on every story you write about how you will not tolerate plagiarism. No matter how bad you think the story/poem is put a warning up. You may seem cocky, but better to look cocky then have your work stolen!

Know your rights.

Read the fiction press/ whatever websites rules about plagiarism and how they protect the victim (you). Also know you local laws about copyright and plagiarism so you know what is working for and against you.

Ask yourself, "Do I plan on publishing someday?"

Do you plan to take your story to a publisher anytime in the future? If yes, I recommend strongly on taking your story down and leaving only a chapter/ few chapters or posting up a very extremely rough draft of the story so that there will not only be a kind of "taste test" of what we (hopefully) will be buying soon from our local book stores but also so your beautiful pride and joy is not stolen.

So, in conclusion; death to those evil bastards known as plagiarists!

May they die of financial ruin! (mainly us suing them till their limbs fall off.)

Information taken from:

Australian Copyright Council – How you get Copyright

The UK copyright Service – 4 easy steps to copyright protection