Plagiarism

Wow. I remember this happened once to Jimbo – someone plagiarized pretty much his entire blog, and passed it off as his own. The weird thing about the Jimbo situation is that he writes about HIS LIFE – it’s a JOURNAL – and someone plagiarized his posts about his girlfriends, his rock-climbing, his own personal life. Granted, he’s a terrific writer – I’m sure a lot of people would read Jimbo’s stuff and think “I wish I could write like that’ – but still. To copy?? To pawn it off as something you wrote?? UnbeLIEVable. Sleazy.

To plagiarize Cursed to First and Surviving Grady? Two of the most popular Red Sox blogs out there? Popular not just because of the CONTENT but because of the great writers? Like … did she think no one would pick up on it? I clicked through all of Beth’s evidence, and it’s really really gross. Word for word copying of her posts. Beth’s a wonderful writer. It makes sense that her talent for writing would incite envy in someone less gifted – but still. It’s disgusting. I hope this situation is rectified soon, Beth.

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26 Responses to Plagiarism

  1. beth says:

    Me too! We’re working on it. Thanks for picking it up–the more ppl who know about it (and the more ppl who can go over there and tell her what a douche she is) the better, in my book.

  2. beth says:

    also i appreciate your compliments. as always you know i value your opinion highly. thanks again, sheila.

  3. beth says:

    update–it’s been taken down! woo hoo! more details on my site.

  4. red says:

    How would I find out if I’ve been plagiarized? Just by Googling my own posts?

  5. I’m so glad that idiot was exposed. Excellent detective work, Beth. And I’m sorry it happened to you in the first place. Very scary.

  6. Emily says:

    Plagiarism sucks. The worst part about it is that often, especially with blogs, is that a lot of people just don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I remember when it happened to Sekimori a few years back and the reply of the girl who was responsible was literally like “I really didn’t think it would matter that much.”

    Idiots. I’m glad it looks like everything worked out, Beth, though I deeply regret missing the chance to tell the girl she’s a douche.

  7. beth says:

    you can still tell her if you have a myspace account…

    http://www.myspace.com/RUASweetPea2

    sheila, the way i found out was a reader told me about it. she found it while googling something about mark bellhorn, i guess. it’s a pain in the arse to google your posts, and it won’t stop everything, but that’s what i plan to do. in this case, a google search of my posts would have called up her site immediately. unfortunately it won’t work for everything, if the site owner doesn’t let google crawl their site or if they change enough of it that it’s not exactly word for word. again, this girl was so blatant that even a search on the title of most of the posts would’ve called up her site. basically i’m lucky she’s such an idiot–if she’d been even a little tiny bit smarter, i’d never have known about it, and as it is i didn’t know for about six months.

    what i’m leaning on mentally right now is that anyone who’d do what she did is as stupid as she is, and can’t hide for long.

  8. Lisa says:

    It happened to Grrl at Chez Miscarriage, and she had to remove her archives — which totally totally sucked big donkey dicks.

    Cheating sucks.

  9. red says:

    Lisa –
    Oh, damn – I so miss her blog! I forgot about her struggles with plagiarists. Idiots. Use your own words and write about your own lives – don’t steal someone else’s words. LOSERS!!

  10. beth says:

    so THAT was the problem over there. i didn’t know why she removed her archives. now that i know that, i’m pretty mad. fuck plagiarists. fuck loser assholes who don’t have their own ideas!

  11. Independent George says:

    To plagiarize Cursed to First and Surviving Grady? Two of the most popular Red Sox blogs out there? Popular not just because of the CONTENT but because of the great writers? Like … did she think no one would pick up on it?

  12. Independent George says:

    Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

  13. Lisa says:

    It makes me mad because of all the women (and men, too) who could find benefit and comfort from her story, but now can’t.

  14. Alex says:

    What one EARTH?????!!

    Oh Beth. I’m so, so, soooo sorry. I can’t imagine. What kind of person does that? What kind of sence does this make?! My God.

    At least she’s gone. Maybe someone finally dropped a house on her too.

  15. beth says:

    know what REALLY pisses me off? the fucking idiot didn’t even respond to any of us, or any of my messages. she never even tried to say anything.

    it’s not like i’d have accepted anything she would’ve said anyway. i’m just mad cause i can’t actually speak to her face to face, pretty much.

    thanks for all the support / sympathy guys.

  16. red says:

    As I recall, Beth, the same thing happened to Jimbo. He made cease and desist comments on all plagiarized posts – and within 24 hours the entire blog disappeared.

  17. Noonz says:

    There are losers, and then there are people who plagiarize other people’s blog posts.

    I mean, what the f–k.

    If you’re a blogger and you have to steal someone else’s thoughts and post them as your own, you are the single most uninteresting person on Earth.

    I’m glad that blog has apparently been smited. What a disgrace.

  18. Nightfly says:

    That is dreadful, Beth. I’m sorry to hear of it. That’s why I keep my fiction work off of my blog – I can’t stand the thought of someone else suctioning up my stuff and passing it off as original. Gives me the creeps, and I don’t have nearly the cache of all y’all.

  19. LOOK_CLOSER says:

    Plagiarized word by word? Wow, that is dumb. What can you say about that.
    But you know what I think? People are probably “quoting” other blogs or internet sites without mentioning their source more often than we think. My mother language is hungarian. If I ran a blog copying the thoughts and writings of a hungarian writer, only translating it into english, probably no one, not in 10000 years, would ever realize the cheat.

  20. beth says:

    this is exactly what’s keeping me up at night right now. and tempted to change how i blog. which blows, but my father’s been trying to tell me for years–literally, years–that someone’s going to steal my stuff if i keep just “putting it out on the internet for free”. i guess i just never had that high an opinion of myself (and it’s certainly impossible for me to have as high an opinion of myself as my dad does sometimes). now it’s like…what do i do?!?!? last night i literally was lying there, unable to sleep, cringing thinking about all the stuff i’ve put out there that someone could steal…that someone could probably get published and make money from…and if that happened, how could i even prove it was mine? at one point i had resolved to just delete all my blogs. now i’m thinking of deleting the old ones (and making hard copies for myself; i have all the files saved anyway). i’m not sure what to do at all.

  21. Dave J says:

    Oooh, that’s really fucked up. TINLA, of course, but I suspect one could easily make a copyright and/or trademark infringement suit out of this, if one chose. The fact that the plagiarist’s site is gone now doesn’t change that.

  22. red says:

    davej – thanks for that … how’s florida??? I’m so happy for you.

    What’s TINLA? And a question for you: how would you suggest I (or any blogger) protect our work? Creative commons licenses? Do we have any recourse if something like this happens?

  23. Dave J says:

    Ah. TINLA = This Is Not Legal Advice. I say it in an abundance of caution because, while I am a a lawyer, this is all speculative on my part and shouldn’t be construed by as constituting an attorney-client relationship. Not that I ever expect anyone really would think that, but then, TINLA = CYA. ;-) I’m not licensed anywhere but Florida, and because I work for the state again, I can’t advise private parties here, either. Anyone seriously considering legal action should consult with an attorney for that purpose. If Beth needs one, and I’m correct that she lives in Massachusetts, she can get a referral from the Mass. Bar Association: http://www.massbar.org/lawhelp/

    Since you ask more generally about bloggers’ IP protections, my limited understanding is that a Creative Commons License actually allows the public to use your work more extensively than if you didn’t have it. In the US since 1976, copyright is secured immediately when a work is created, and does not require publication; since 1989 it has not even required notice such as with cirled “c” copyright symbol. Here’s a surprisingly good primer on the subject from the US Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress): http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html
    As for recourse, your recourse for copyright infringment is the same as for any other tort: find the schmuck and sue their ass off. Of course, if the infringment meets certain other higher standards, in addition to the basis for a civil suit it can also be CRIMINAL copyright infringment, which the FBI would investigate and the Justice Department would prosecute in federal court.

    I hope this helps, and if there are any other questions I can answer, I’d be more than happy to. Thanks for the well wishes on my return to Florida, too: this job is going to be intense, but I’m looking forward to it. And Fort Lauderdale is an infinite improvement on Tallahassee.

  24. beth says:

    dave, you do have a point about a CCL allowing for use of your content. however, the particular CCL i have allows for reuse of my content WITH ATTRIBUTION. i might have been pretty annoyed if the girl had been copying my posts in their entirety, but saying where she got them from would have made it an entirely different concept. so she was in violation of my CCL anyway.

  25. Dave J says:

    My limited understanding of a Creative Commons License is that attribution is indeed exactly what matters most. I may be mistaken, but I believe one could reproduce an entire work that was under CCL, as long as there was clear attribution, whereas otherwise one is limited under general principles of copyright law to “fair use,” which is somewhat vague but generally means quoted excerpts that aren’t too lengthy.

    But again, I don’t claim to be an IP lawyer. You might want to also contact Eugene Volokh, Lawrence Lessig and/or Glenn Reynolds, since all three of them, in addition to being bloggers, are authorities on just this kind of stuff, and could also provide references to practicing lawyers that know the subject well.

  26. sarah brown has been hit with this, dooce, jason royal, julia, a few others too. my plagiarist was also on xanga – as have many of the others. mine was special in that not only did he rip about a year’s worth of posts from me and sarah and jason, but he was plagiarizing my comments too. xanga never did a damn thing about it for me either. never even followed up.