Plagiarism is an ongoing problem to those who produce decent online content, artists included. It’s perpetrated mainly by those who don’t. Is there any way to seal one’s own online content in order to make it impossible for anyone else to steal it and display it as their own work in an attempt to get credit from your talent?
There are various plugins that any artist can use with WordPress, such as WP CopyProtect by Chetan Gole. The plugin mentioned can be set to block the reader from right-clicking the page and/or copy/pasting text.
That’s all very well, but it’s a fucking nuisance to a reader who just wants to copy a few sentences for their notes while researching something, also for anyone who needs to right-lick the page for any reason at all, plagiarism or not.
So yesterday I decided that I’d set out to do something today towards anti-plagiarism-security, other than running a plugin without many positive effects + without improving the anti-plagiarism security much at all to be frank. I know a couple of people who use that plugin I mentioned; and I’ve on more than one occasion copied their latest article and published it using a password-protected-post on the old site, at the same time mailing them the URL & password.
Today (16th August 2016) is an absolute scorcher in Southern England, the second since May 2016. 2016 has been that kind of Summer; lousy and cool with a few real-Summer-days.
That weather having been forecast , and knowing that I’d be working mainly at home with adequate air-conditioning, I decided to start early and get things done. I ended up spending all morning writing a few lines of code + a small block of css, and tweaking to perfection.
I created the BAOTV seal.
What does that do? – Nothing…
“Wasn’t it a bit pointless and a waste of an entire morning creating something that does nothing?”
- You ask.
You’ll see the BAOTV seal at the very bottom of the footer of pretty much every page & post on this site, and/or elsewhere following many of the articles. The seal looks like a large yellow dot; but it’s more than that as it has characters encoded in it. The encoded characters are the first few characters of a sentence randomly-selected from the article.
“So I want to plagiarise your article: I steal your content. – The seal makes no difference to what I steal and use marked as my own work.”
The thing is that I can validate the article’s authenticity. – You can’t. I have the upper hand. I can verify it as my own work – you can’t.
“I can copy the BAOTV seal though. – Where’s your proof now eh?”
Wrong. You can’t copy the bit that matters, the bit with the code in, which is generated by css rather than HTML.
So if an article that I created and originally published online appears elsewhere online without a valid seal from today onwards; I can prove whether or not it’s plagiarised.
Nobody else will know, that’s true, and anyone with enough basic knowledge of css can create a fake seal that’s round and yellow. Nobody knows exactly how my seal is created though, and nobody knows which characters are encoded into each individual one of my seals. – If it comes to a matter of Law then I have the proof.
Online life is becoming ever more complicated: There are hackers, spammers, phishers, plagiarists… And that’s just the Human contingent. There are semi-intelligent and non-intelligent scripts and bots of all description, viruses, malware, spyware, adware, PUPs, and more. Anything that can be done to thwart any of them is a bonus.
This seal system is still a work in progress which requires a lot more investment in terms of time and money. – It works; but I need to assess exactly how well it works, make tweaks, and so on: I could be sitting on a goldmine, or it may just be another hole in the ground waiting for me to fall into it. – Time will tell.
Oh and if you’re thinking of hacking me to steal my stylesheet.css file, you won’t find what you’re looking for there. The main-section of the PHP to css translation-matrix – which feeds into the stylesheet - isn’t even on the same site.
I doubt that it’s possible to make anything totally plagiarism-proof; but the harder you make it to plagiarise - the more the thieves will think twice.
This is one of those ideas that may or may not have legs, and I don’t even know how long it’ll take me to develop it fully, or even if I’ll have enough time to do it at all. I’m a singer/songwriter primarily, and all this geeky stuff has to come second to that.