In school our teachers taught us not to plagiarize or to at least footnote your source for giving credit where credit is due. But let's be honest, we all took that Encyclopedia Britannica paragraph, rearranged a sentence or two and then pawned it off as our own. Now the web has made content more readily available than ever. Fortunately we're no longer receiving grades because I fear many would have to repeat the course.
Copying someone else's written content and using it as your own is still wrong, whether it's online or offline. If you or your business have proprietary website content and have ever wondered how to protect it, then let me share with you three kind of cool ways to catch someone stealing it. And to make my teachers proud please let me first give credit to my source, Dennis Gaskill writing for Website Magazine, February 2009 edition, page 35.
Brillant website content thief snare #1: Identify a unique sentence, phrase or word string from your website then Google the content with quotations around the phrase. Only pages with the exact wording will be returned and you can study the results from there.
Brillant website content thief snare #2: Hide a link in the middle of some content. Be sure to check with your website developer to be sure this is done in a manner considered "legal" by the search engines and does not appear as a broken link. You can periodically use Google to check what web pages are linking to your hidden page. (Insert sound of jail door slamming shut here)
Brillant website content thief snare #3: In the middle of some content, use a transparent image (like a GIF) to separate two words instead of a space. If someone has copied your text, that file will be called from your server when the thief's page is displayed. (Insert dramatic dum-dum-dum-dum). From this point just check the log files and you can see exactly where that file has been used.