Copyright trap is a part of flawed or strange information that has been included into a reference work in order to detect copyright violations and plagiarism. Copyright issues can be on any unique work created by a party of a person. If that work is taken up by someone else, he/she first have to buy the rights from the original party and then gets access to use it. Direct use of any contents leads to court cases and copyright issues. Many use the contents unknowingly or unintentionally and fall on this copyright trap.
It is often called as fictitious entries or Mountweazels. Some people use such information without proper quotes. The wrong information is spread everywhere and is the only information used by one party. A very common example of copyright trap is the map companies who say they do not use copyright traps any more, but some evidences are found to the contrary. They create a town on the maps which in real life does not exist. It is sometimes called as paper town. Other party sees the information and gives reference to the same map without even doing research on its own about the information. This directly indicates that the other party has stolen the information which the first person has updated. This is what copyright trap is.
Apart from map companies, the other common section which is known for copyright traps is dictionaries. Some create different words to check how many dictionaries fall onto the same trick. Dictionaries are created after proper research so that people get the right meaning of words. If in case one dictionary repeats the copyright trap then the original publisher can start scrutinizing procedures by checking the other entries of the dictionary for further signs of plagiarism.
This copyright trap game is also commonly played on Internet. Some websites make an attempt to protect their original content. Bloggers sometimes use a unique key phrase into their contents to check whether other sites are copying them. Common examples would be some phrases used or any unique words that describe the situation. These copyright traps act as fingerprints that are used to identify those lazy plagiarists who simply cut and paste the contents from other sources without even paying attention to the contents.