When I started this blog back in December of 2005, I had no idea where it would lead or the benefits it would provide. Now more than 3 ½ years later, those benefits are obvious, numerous and great. I know from my hit counter that my blog is read by a few regularly and is found through searches and other means frequently. Most do not leave comments, but some do. More than that, I have been exposed to the writings of many of my readers – other bloggers – who have a similar perspective on blogging as I. We don’t do it for money, yet we often pour our hearts and souls into our work… and it is work. Many, if not most, writers I know do not find composing one's thoughts, feelings and perspectives easy, but we are compelled to get it just right. It is its own reward.
But probably the biggest gift I have received from blogging is a connection with people I would never have “met” otherwise. Although most of those relationships I have established through blogging are based solely in this medium, it is a medium that allows for a great deal of depth. With a few exceptions, I have never met my blog “friends” in person, yet many are friends in the truest sense of the word. We care about one another; we support each other; and we read each other. Even after a lengthy hiatus from blogging, we often pick up right where we left off. However public this medium is, it is still very much personal.
I received an email from Dana (one of those friends) this morning. It was sent to multiple recipients, many of whom are part of my blog “family” and many others part of intersecting circles of friends. It was a notification… a warning, if you will. Her work had been stolen by another “blogger” (and I use the term very loosely) and posted on his blog as his own work. I am not speaking of a sentence or paragraph mistakenly “borrowed” without attribution, and not just one entire piece – but several complete posts copied verbatim and posted as his own. It is not only wrong, but it is also illegal. Dana’s email was a call to action, and acted we did. The following is her original email message, followed by my response and finally her epilogue.
Good morning everyone.
Through a plagiarism link, I found out that some of my writing had been lifted and posted by another blogger as their own. At first I thought it was just one recent piece, but the more I scrolled through his postings, the more pieces I found! I'm absolutely incensed and quite frankly feel sick down in my gut! I know this stuff happens, but until now I guess I held onto a bit of blind faith and didn't go out there in blogland checking. I will now.
I have since left comments on all the pieces I found, but had to stop when I came across a poem I had written in the spring for a young woman who had just had a stroke two weeks after her baby was born. (she's fine now btw). He used it as a "set up" for his own ramblings about his child! I was shocked! He even posted a Q and A I did for God's sake... one where the first question was "what colour do you feel right now???"
While reading, I also stumbled across pieces that Marja had written as well and informed her. She intends to let others know.
I have also written him an email... I'll give him until the end of the day to remove all of the plagiarized pieces and if he hasn't done so, will report him to Blogger. I don't know if they can close down his site, but I will ask them to investigate.
If you have any ideas as to how to stop this illegal act, I'd appreciate any direction or advice. I will put a warning up on my sidebar, but don't know if that will stop anyone intent on lifting intellectual property.
I also suggest that perhaps you check out his blog to see if anything you have written, or if any of your photos have been stolen. Here is his site! If you check it out, please leave him a comment about this!! The more comments he receives, the more inclined he may be to stop his stealing!!!!! Thanks.
If you want to check to see if any of your work has been used anywhere else, here is the link. It was pretty easy to use. I don't know how you check to see if someone has lifted any photos.
Thank you for your support...
Dana, et al.,
It would appear that the blogging community has dealt the blog in question its deathblow. Earlier, the link you provided did not go to that specific post, but the blog could still be accessed. There was just one post - probably stolen as well. I flagged the blog based on your email - your word is good enough for me - and I suspect I was not alone. The blog in question (now just a short time later) no longer exists. It is as it should be. I have no problem with anyone reposting my work as long as three simple conditions are met: it cannot be for commercial use; it must be properly attributed; and it cannot be altered from its original form. If anyone reproduces my work as his or her own, I get angry. Very angry. More than angry, I get justice - and it appears as though justice has been served.
It's good to see the blogging community working together. Most of us do this as a labour of love - for ourselves and anyone else who finds our words insightful, amusing, cathartic or whatever other value they may hold. We don't (most of us) get paid to do this, but it is work nonetheless. For someone to steal it is wrong on too many levels - That it is illegal is only the tip of the iceberg.
You are a kinder soul than I, Dana. I would not have given (and in fact did not) this so-and-so a chance to remove the plagiarized material... I simply would have hit him or her with everything I had. The crime has been committed - it goes well beyond mere intention or a "little" mistake - we are talking about entire posts!
I have not checked to see if my material (which is copyrighted and noted on my blog) has been stolen in a while. Although it is difficult to be absolutely sure, it looks like my property remains within my control. But thanks for the reminder, it is a serious issue.
Hello everyone... :)
Blogging most certainly is a labour of love, Mike. You are so right. It is also such a wonderful community of shared passions. So often I am inspired by something I've read, like a jumping off point for my own writing. There is a terrific give and take, and when someone violates that flow of creativity by stealing, it is wonderful to know (and feel) that the community does pull together.
I thank you all for your assistance. I have sent him another email threatening him and making it perfectly clear that I won't sit idle again and let something like that happen. I also told him he should be ashamed of himself... asked him what the Dalai Lama would think of such sinful behaviour! :) Buddhist my ass!
I did get in touch with Blogger and file a formal complaint. Whatever he has posted in the past has been cached, so they can still follow up if they haven’t done already.
I wish I had copied the comments from everyone! They were priceless!! I had a few facebook friends nail the guy as well, so I am completely confident that he is shaking in his weasley boots today.
Thank you all! I'll post something about it all, hopefully tonight.
I'm off to pour myself a glass of wine and toast you all xxx
The facebook community also responded, and now there is one less worthless blog in the world. It warms my heart that such selfless camaraderie exists over such vast physical distances, amongst such a diverse group. We share a passion for not only our own creativity, but also that of others. It is a passion we are willing to fight for. It is yet another of those benefits I mentioned above.