The first thing you should remember is that you are the author/creator of your work, and you have the right to say what is done with that work. It can be hard to remember this when someone steals your work and ignores your requests to remove it from their site, but it's true. And it's worth taking the time to find violations and get them to remove the copied pieces.
How to Find a Copyright Violation
There are several ways to find copyright violations - the most common way I find out is by my readers telling me of them. But you're more likely to find violations yourself than your readers will.
- Use Copyscape to find plagiarized work. I don't recommend using this to search for blog posts, as it will come up with lots of copies of your articles that were legitimately copied through RSS.
- Use Google Alerts to search for your name, your URL, or other common combinations of words that you use in your articles. This also has the advantage of letting you know who's linking to you.
- Periodically search for blocks of text from your articles. It works best if you search for something other than the title, as determined plagiarizers will change the title.
- Search image directories for your image filenames. You'd be amazed how many people never change the filename of the images they take.
- Check your server logs for large numbers of hits to your images. This can indicate that someone has linked to your image on your site - which is also bandwidth theft. Review your referral logs to determine who is doing that.