A Free Article Site Published MY Article Without Permission!

Last week, one of the people quoted in my story emailed me to let me know that someone else had taken my story, revised it a bit, and posted it on one of those free article websites, under his own name. I emailed the site to complain and a few days later they sent a message that the story had been removed. However, they simply moved it to another page on their website! This is probably the most blatant example of plagiarism I’ve ever seen.

Separately, send the website and the so-called writer (if you can find him/her) an invoice for $750 for unauthorized publication of your copyrighted material. That’ll get their attention.

This is a quote from the Copyright Law itself:

(c) Statutory Damages.

(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work.

(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000.

On your invoice, quote that directly and tell them they can either pay you $750 now…or face more in statutory damages and legal fees later.