4/15/09

What is Plagiarism? (aka Quit Stealing My Stuff!)

Plagiarism: the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work. (Dictionary.com Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.)

Notice how I gave credit to the definition above? Notice that I provided a source AND a link? Notice how even dictionary.com provided their source?

This is what you do when you copy stuff from any source and use it for your own purposes, whether from a printed book or posted on the Internet.

When you copy the wording from one blog (example: MINE) and post it straight on another blog (example: YOURS), and you give no source, that is called plagiarism. It's illegal, unethical, and extremely bad manners.

Folks, I have StatCounter (see bottom right sidebar). About once a month, I check out who my visitors are and where they're coming from. When I see a new referring blog, I go visit it. All too often (once is too often, and it's happened way more than once), I find blogs by writers, on the subject of writing, that have lifted my posts and put them on their blogs—verbatim! Without credit back to me. (Shame on you!)

And when I say verbatim, I don't mean that they saw that I talked about POV on Monday and they did their own post on POV on Tuesday, pretty much making the same points I did but putting it into their own words (although that's irritating to me and just kind of lazy on their part). No, I literally mean "verbatim"—as in, "in exactly the same words; word for word."* (Notice how I did this quote differently, but still gave credit to the original source?)

As a writer, you should know better and do better. If you don't know better, inform yourself. And quite stealing my stuff!

P.S. As a publisher, yes, I researched authors who submitted to me and read their blogs and websites. If I discovered that they used someone else's words on their sites without credit, they were rejected outright and were added to my "never publish this person's work" list.



*(Dictionary.com)

4 comments:

Kent Larsen said...

I feel for you.

FWIW, there are even automated software programs that take posts from popular blogs so that they can be used to attract readers to a site.

But I suspect that you would be able to tell if this was happening in your case.

Have you considered complaining to the service provider of the blogger who plagiarized you?

Copyright violations of this kind are almost always a violation of the Terms of Service for hosts and services on the Internet.

Th. said...

.

I get robbed frequently by those automated machines, and I only notice because those tend to link to me or Google Alerts lets me know. I do wonder how often I've been robbed without cognizance.

lachish said...

I agree with your post here. I have also tried to be very careful about pictures I add to my posts. There are a few sites on the internet which say their pictures are free to use on any blog or website. I check their policies to be sure. I also stay away from those sites which need some kind of authorization unless I am willing to take the time to get that permission.

I look forward to the day that my blog will be so popular that people want to steal it. :)

Chaplain Fowler said...

Question...

I am writing an extensive commentary on the book of Matthew. On the topic of plagiarism, many of the comments I would like to use are listed in several sources verbatim with no citation on any of them. How does one go about citing in this situation?

Chaplain Fowler