blogging, plagiarism

On plagiarism and copying without consent

I hate it when people plagiarize me. Its an issue I face regularly and one that frustrates me to no end. And when I get frustrated I get quite inarticulate resulting in half-written posts of They stole my stuff! Gah! Don’t do that! Which, while effectively capturing my emotional reaction hardly does anything for anyone. But now, at the most recent known act of plagiarism [because I’m sure there’s more I just don’t know about] I feel the need to write this post and articulate the issue as best as I can because, inarticulate or not, I need to just say it: stealing stuff? Not okay.

1. Spammers. They cut and paste, stick it on a weird site and slather it with ads for all sorts of random questionable things [and girls girls girls right by you!].This happens so regularly its exhausting and at the moment I don’t have the energy to get them all to stop.

2. Impersonators. I’m not talking about posts here and there [though that happens too] I’m talking about people actively cut and pasting my content, creating their own personal blog and pretending to live my life. All my posts, all posing as theirs. One person did this for such a long time they built quite a following. I have no idea why someone would want to do this as they were not revenue generating blogs. The blogs have since been discontinued with apologies from one of the people for doing so, and while I know this person still reads [and yes we’re ‘cool’ which is why I’m not naming you] it needs to be mentioned here because its still wrong and if you’re in my shoes you can understand that it certainly felt very disturbing.

3. Organizations stealing my stuff. This is the most recent incident- and irks me most because these are ‘reputable’ sites simply taking my posts, usually the more researched ones, and posting them verbatim as though I’m a contributor. If you want to hire me to write for you- lemme know. If you want to post it to your site gratis, ask me. What I love about these sites is that when you approach them, they act as though they did you a favor by posting your content without knowledge or consent. The person who stole my stuff with ads all around the article actually insisted they were doing me a favor by pasting my work on their site and posting the information to make it appear I freelanced for them. I know I’m not the only one this happens to as the Cooks Source scandal made clear, but it boggles my mind nonetheless.

Some quick facts and resources about stealing stuff:

  • Just because its online does not mean its part of the public domain free for the looting. [But the copyright logo I’ve posted a picture of? Public domain]Ā 
  • As of 1989 you don’t have to put a (c) for copyright protection or specify anywhere that your stuff is copyrighted. Original work is inherently protected. Even on-line.
  • Plagiarism is using someone’s original work and posing it as your own. Even if you rephrase it. Even if you stole an itty bitty part of it. It’s stealing.
  • You can quote and link to posts/articles [much like I’m doing now] though not so large a quote as to get to the heart of the entire article/post.Ā 
  • Though this is an older article, and I’m sure by now, there are tons more high-tech ways to discover copy-cats- I’ve found his tips useful, particularly in getting an offending party to cease and desist.

Trust me, I’m honored if you like what I have to say- but to steal my writing- to pretend its yours- or to cut and paste onto your sites for hits and revenue without consent and/or proper credit is not just impolite it’s against the law. And while I understand that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, my writing? Please don’t copy. Just don’t.

21 thoughts on “On plagiarism and copying without consent”

  1. Susan- I think there are search engines you can type in your url and it will tell you all the copycats. . . but I don't want to do it because I kind of don't want to know the full extent of it!

    E- I wish I knew! Mostly money. . .

    Aamina, lol


  2. Ah, as a history teacher, I deal with this at least once a term in my classes (often several times). It is insanely annoying, and I am more than a little worried about my own content on the web. It's so easy for people to steal your words. I wish there were more respect for people's original ideas and works in this world. Really nice post on the topic. I'll be tweeting a link here today. šŸ™‚


  3. Lisa- yes its VERY disconcerting! The analogy of being broken into is not far off.

    Katy, I can only imagine as a teacher how this must frustrate you. I luckily only taught second grade and plagiarizing was not yet a big issue. A lot of times I let copying slide because its so much effort- but when I see it on purportedly reputable sites then I get very angry. Thanks for the comment and for the tweet!


  4. This world is a crazy place. I want to say that I can't believe that someone would copy your blog but the older I get the more people don't surprise me. So sorry that happened to you! Pixie


  5. Anon- thanks for empathsing- yes- insane is right but very common.

    Jamila, its okay- its just disconcerting- I know it happens to tons of people, which is why I felt the need to finally write about it.

    Pixie- yes- I agree with you- its sad how little I'm surprised by the behavior of others!


  6. I'm so sorry that it's been a constant struggle with those creeps! I didn't realize that this was such an issue. I've just been ignoring the same and strange “referrals” from weirdo websites. Thanks for posting all of these resources too.


  7. i know what i did was horrible, that was like over 3 yrs ago. Its not an excuse but i was just going thru an extremely depressing, lonely stage of life and someone else's life seemed much better.
    I have come out of that stage now. Thanx for being kind even though i didnt deserve it.


  8. I cannot believe that someone would do that! I've just started experiencing the spam-copiers. So creepy too. But nothing as creepy as a live person doing that, to an entire blog. I'm sorry you have to deal with all of that. I hope it gets better.

    Happy ICLW! (#67)


  9. The wanna-be novelist in me just cringes when I read about stuff like this. I'm sorry that it's gotten to the point that you have to address it here. You'd think that people would just know better (but then, that could be said about a whole host of thisngs).



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