What Does a Copyright and Plagiarism Consultant Do?

CopyByte LogoWhen I tell people that I work as a “Copyright and Plagiarism Consultant” I inevitably get a lot of questions. It’s not a job title most people are familiar with and one that, in reality, it’s a job title that covers a lot of ground and it isn’t easy to describe succinctly what I do.

In short though, I’ve been involved with copyright and plagiarism matters now for over ten years, including the over six years I’ve run Plagiarism Today. I’ve learned a great deal about content tracking, removing infringements, spotting plagiarism and helping content creators determine what strategies are best for their content. Over the past few years, I’ve taken that experience and turned it into a full-time job.

With that in mind, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about what it is that I do for that job and give PT readers a glimpse at what I do here to help pay the bills for both myself and this site.

So, if you’ve ever wonder what I do in front of the computer 10 hours per day (other than post PT obviously), here’s a glimpse at how I fill the time.

What Do You Do?

As I always emphasize, I am not an attorney but I work with attorneys regularly. As such, I don’t handle lawsuits or give out legal advice. Though I am well-versed in copyright law, I focus more on the technology side of things, helping to detect, track and remove content as needed.

Generally, my practice focuses in the following areas:

  1. Content Detection: Tracking content online understanding how it’s being used online. This includes text, images, audio, video and other files.
  2. Content Enforcement: Removing unauthorized copies of works when possible, including filing DMCA takedown notices, abuse reports and other enforcement actions.
  3. Plagiarism Analysis: Determining if a work is authentic or if it is a plagiarism. This service is commonly used by schools but also common for content buyers to want to vet content before purchasing.
  4. Expert Witness Work: I often provide reports and testimony for court cases and academic disciplinary boards.
  5. Public Speaking: Talking with various groups and organizations about copyright and plagiarism issues.

On top of that, I also do a fair amount of traditional consulting work with various groups including:

  1. Content Creators: Including how to better track, license and enforce their work, all with an eye toward maximizing the benefit they get from their efforts.
  2. Academic Institutions: How to reduce student plagiarism as well as how to better detect and deal with cases of plagiarism that come up.
  3. Developers: Helping those building copyright and plagiarism-related products and services test their products and improve them to make them more useful.

All in all, it’s a pretty wide berth to cover and my clients, past and present, include various content creators, schools, developers, services and much more. In short, I never know what I’m doing tomorrow or the next day.

Myself and My Business

Back in February I announced the relaunch of CopyByte.com. CopyByte, in turn, is the business name for myself and what I do.

Most of the time, CopyByte is just myself and I do all of the smaller to medium-sized projects on my own. However, for larger ones, such as very large plagiarism analyses, I sometimes hire some people I know locally to provide assistance as needed. They work closely under my control, but help a great deal with a lot of the more repetitive and non-specialized work that, while very important, can be delegated to save both time and money.

In the end though, CopyByte is more or less me and that’s the way I’d like to keep it, for now at least.

Relationship Between PT and CopyByte

The next natural question is “Where does PT fit in with this?” The answer is simple: It’s my blog and my free resource. I make it a point to put everything I learn or think that is important on the site for all, for free. Pretty much anything I’m going to tell you in a consulting arrangement, you can read here, though it won’t be tailored to your needs.

Plagiarism Today is my continuing bid to help as many people as I can. I’ve never withheld anything from it because I thought it might “hurt” my consulting work and, similarly, I’ve never lost a client because they found what they wanted from me for free on the site.

That being said, one area that there IS overlap is when I blog about companies and clients that I am either working for or have worked for. In those cases I disclose the relationship clearly in the article at the footer.

However, as I warn my clients, if anything I’m harder on the companies I work for on Plagiarism Today. The reason is they know what I expect and have an inside track to my thoughts. Those companies, if anything, are held to a higher standard than those I’ve never worked with.

Bottom Line

All in all, I keep myself busy with a wide variety of tasks and work types. I wake up each morning with only a small idea of what the day hold in store and that’s part of what I love. While I have scheduled tasks, it’s the unpredictable stuff that makes things exciting.

While that unpredictability can be frustrating at times, especially when dealing with finances, it makes it easier to get up in the morning and gives me something to look forward to every day.

That, in turn, is what I enjoy best about my work…

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