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Posted By Debra Shiveley Welch

Recently I had the unpleasant experience of discovering that I had been plagiarized.  Through Google Alerts (, I learned that a certain “Fantoni” had placed my essay “Sometimes Life is a Metaphor” on under the parenting section.

Google Web Alert for: "Sometimes Life Is A Metaphor"
Sometimes Life is a Metaphor - articleitem
Sometimes Life is a Metaphor
. . Sometimes Life is a Metaphor. By: Fantoni. Every spring, Chris and I order butterfly caterpillars. We have an inexpensive, ...     

There it was, word for word, not a punctuation mark, not a syllable changed, and credited to – Fantoni.

I was enraged!  How dare someone steal my work!  It took me three days, but I finally was able to take action to bring the page with my stolen essay down!

I tried to write to the owner of the site to politely instruct them to either give me credit or remove the page, but emails to the webmaster of the website, which was listed in WhoIs, came back as undeliverable.  The “Contact Us” on the web site threw up a 404 error, and when leaving comments, many of my friends received syntax errors when they tried to put my name in as the true author.

My attempt at finding the web host was frustrating.  I could not find anything until a kind tech from a related site, taught me the following:

Go into and fill in the name of the web site.  Under Server Data, look at “IP Address.”  There should be a hosting site mentioned there.  If not, click on “trace route.”  Scroll down and you should find a hosting url.  In my case, it was

Once I had finally discovered the web hosting company, I contacted them and they were very cooperative.  Here is what I discovered that I needed to do to remove the page, with my essay credited to the plagiarist, from the web site.

First, read about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act here:

In 2000 a copyright law was passed to protect those of us who post our writings, pictures, etc. on the internet.  Should you find that someone has plagiarized your property, fill out a DMCA Take Down Notice form.

You can find the form here:

As you look at it, you will see that it asks you to name the copyrighted work, provide the url where the plagiarist has placed your writing, picture or trademark under their name, who the copyright belongs to and other pertinent information.  It then asks for your signature to the following:

“I hereby affirm, as the complaining party, that I believe in good faith that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright holder, its agent or the law.

I hereby affirm, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the holder of the exclusive right that I claim to be infringed.

Fill out the form, fax it to the web host and the pertinent pages of the site will be taken down within 48 hours.

Watch the web site.  If your material comes up again, most companies will take the entire site down.  At this point, the ball is in the court of the plagiarist.  If he or she wishes, they can contact an attorney, and then it is between the two of you.

I filled out the form, faxed it to Reliable Hosting and the page was taken down within 24 hours.  I felt great satisfaction in rescuing my little essay.

If you have published on one of the writing community sites, you may be affected.

To see if you have been plagiarized, go to:

Posted By Debra Shiveley Welch

Okay, I’m guilty as charged.  I must admit that I have this bad habit of getting into my writing, forgetting to eat, and remembering only when my stomach begins to collapse in on itself.

Driven by hunger pains, I begin a frantic search for a quick snack and, inevitably, fall upon my favorite: peanut butter stuffed celery.  However, there is one problem.  The name of the snack is backward.

Salivating and eager to appease my sustenance-starved body, I stuff the celery into the peanut butter.  Again and again, I plunge a crisp, green rib into the thick, savory, organic spread.  Slowly, my hunger abates and I am once again free to pursue my passion – writing.

My son enters the kitchen and reaches for the same treat.  I feel myself slowly shrink into my chair.  I know what is about to happen.

Hungry, his 16-year-old body craving protein, he grasps the jar and carries it to the counter.  Retrieving bread and raspberry jelly, he quickly constructs his peanut butter sandwich.

I have now become half my size as I await the inevitable.  Chris lifts the sandwich, raises it to his lips and takes a big bite.  It takes a few seconds as tongue and palate work together to extract the flavors from his concoction.  He pauses, turns to me and exclaims, “Mom!  The peanut butter tastes like celery!”

Caught again.




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Debra Shivel...
Central Ohio


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