Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Plagiarism

Last week, I was alerted by Pippirose that someone over on Adult Friend Finder had used two of my pieces on their blog and passed them off as their own.

Not even two of my best as far as I was concerned but, nonetheless, still mine.

Chess

Intimacy






























The words have been lifted almost exactly from my blog, even down to my trade mark dot dot dot. There might be an attempt here or there to add in a sentence or change a word and put in an opening or closing paragraph, but that almost makes the attempt to pilfer my thoughts seem worse in that they have enclosed mine within their own as if they were one and the same.

I have contacted AFF direct and they have assured me that these two pieces have now been taken down. But I have no way of confirming this or ascertaining whether any more of my work has been purloined since I am not a member. And, even if I was, the blog itself has now gone private so I would be unable to check without being invited. I am told that for 'reasons of privacy' they cannot divulge what other action has been taken against this individual.

I was not the only one involved. This person and the other one mentioned by Pippirose had actually stolen many posts from various other blog sources and taken the credit for themselves.

I had been talking about this only the previous day with the friend of another victim who had wondered if I might also have been involved. I laughed and felt very flattered to be considered in such good company and I recall that I described the possibility as a 'theft of my imagination'.

In the event, I don't feel violated, just very angry and frustrated that someone could do such a thing with impunity. I never mind if people quote my stuff, so long as they give the credit back to me via a link or a mention and I am always very careful to do the same if someone else's words tickle my imagination or emphasise a point that I am trying to make within one of my own posts. Stealing is still stealing, even if it is not of a material asset.

It made me wonder about the self-image of a person who had to plunder someone else's thoughts to achieve their own validation. I couldn't even begin to imagine how they could make that match up to improved self-esteem. The whole idea of 'Having my cake and eating it too' was that I learned about myself, faced up to my own shortcomings and tried to achieve some goals that made me feel good about ME. To access thoughts and emotions that had been suppressed and give them free rein through my writing. The fact that other people seemed to enjoy reading what I had to say and took the time to tell me that I was not the only one was a huge added bonus.

I also find it very strange that these people are allowed to commit these thefts but are neither sanctioned nor ejected from the umbrella websites on which they are posted. Public villification would seem to be the only answer - not only by the writers who have been affected, but also their audience. If you, as a reader, recognise something that you have read before elsewhere, you should investigate via google or one of the other search engines. There is always the chance that a story or scenario will be similar - after all, there are only so many sexual positions/interactions - but if the prose is clearly word for word exact, then there is something amiss and this should be drawn to the attention of both writers.

Hopefully, if enough attention is drawn to this problem, those who run umbrella organisations within which blogs can be set up will accept that it is also incumbent upon them to be more vigilant about what is posted on their sites.


As an aside, this incident also made me think of copyright issues generally and, in particular, my use of pictures to illustrate the Mute Monday series and other posts. I shall attempt to credit the source of any visual images used on this blog from now on.

22 comments:

Polar said...

Cake,
You ARE such a CLASSY LADY!!!!
I'm sorry to say, that this seems to be the world we live in.
Not only can you Buy term papers on line, you can even Buy a MBA.
I guess it is one of the downfalls of our Instant Societies.

pippirose said...

Great blog!
The reason these sites continue to harbour and protect plagiarists is that views=money. These top bloggers generate views. That makes it even worse, IMHO.
As for it being the world we live in, like Polar said, it's true--but we that doesn't mean we need to accept it...or think nothing can be done.
Just recently, I read on PlagiarismToday.com, that a big-time journalist, Maureen Dowd, has been accused of plagiarism. She had some lame excuse, that the paragraph in question is from a conversation with her friend (her friend MUST HAVE just read the other article, from which the words were plagiarized). So it was an "accident". She should have just stuck with an apology, period.

mrwriteon said...

That's disgraceful. I commend you for your approach to this, but the bastards should be exposed and prohibited from publishing. I have been told some of the items from my former blog had been lifted, but I haven't yet found them.

TROLL Y2K said...

Excellent cool calm rational analysis of an event that MUST have ticked you off.

Very tricky issue these days with the inner-webs and such.

I had someone plagiarize something I designed blatantly once. It was so bad that the owner of the umbrella website called me and asked if I'd opened up a Los Angeles office under a different business name.

He made them take it down and come up with their own verbiage and design.

Helga Hansen said...

If I remember correctly, there was a HUGE rumpus on AFF several years ago, in the blogging community there, when it was discovered that someone had been posting Always Aroused Girl's posts, usually within days of her posting them. I'm trying to remember what her name was... Samantha 192, if I remember correctly.

It's a shame when people feel the need to pass off something as their own work... but then again, they did choose someone who writes some pretty hot stuff! :)

Helga Hansen said...

Just did a little digging... Pink_Secrets appears to be a woman of 45, who lives in Newcastle. At the moment her profile is switched off... here's hoping she has learned her lesson, eh?!

Loving Annie said...

It is infuriating, and such people should be banned from having an account at that site. Ever.

Kyra said...

Not long ago I coined a term in B's Bitchionary "blogiarism". When I did so I didn't think anyone really did that. Now you're the second one I've hear that happened to.

Disgusting.

Riff Dog said...

Wow! I've been told about guys lifting my introductory emails and calling them their own in emails they write to other women, but to put someone else's post in a blog??? Absolutely brazen.

I've had my songs lifted and used on TV or in commercials. Suing (or rather, settling in court) was a fairly straightforward matter. But things are complicated here in that any legal action requires you to lose your anonymity. As well as being prohibitively expensive, considering there are no real monetary "damages."

Still, this is unbelievable. What's the point in claiming authorship for something a person didn't write in some AFF blog? Does this person truly have no pride?

Walker said...

Some people have no imagination and have to steal someone else's.
Let's face it most have no life or brains.

I have found mine of a few sites. Even thought what i post is copy right protected, how do you stop them.

Tom Allen said...

Over the last few years I have had some of my stories lifted, including one that took the story and edited in his own changes - more embarrassing, it was a horrible job.

Each time I've contacted the site owners, and the responses have been mixed. One asked me to prove that the stories were mine in the first place, and that I hadn't cribbed them from somebody else. Several have not responded at all, although one of those sites took them down. I suspect that well-intentioned site owners, hoping to attract viewers with some decent content, lifted mine and other stories in order to improve their stats.

Recently, I was almost knocked out of my chair when I discovered a site that apparently copied one of my more popular blog posts, translated it into some other language, and then back into English. For example, Mrs. Edge became Mrs. Border, and some of the phrases that I used ended up with incorrect tenses.

So far, that guy hasn't responded to my questions.

Ah well. Take it as a compliment, Ms. Cake.

Cate said...

In a way, it is the ultimate form of flattery. She wanted to say something but felt you said it better.

But it is wrong. And I agree entirely that the hosting site should take action and expel anyone who does such a thing. I remember a friend at university nearly being thrown out of school because she was suspected of plagiarism. Fortunately she proved her innocence but it was a challenge and the university took it very seriously.

And this is the attitude most of us grew up with. We must respect the work of others and give credit to them. But the internet brings out the best and worst in people and I think, sadly, plagiarism is one of the drawbacks to being able to share so much so easily.

Cate xxx

Mendicatus said...

I find this kindof interesting.

First, that you're so enraged/insulted. What's the big deal? The woman has taken nothing from you - it's not like you're even doing this commercially.

And secondly, that you link to the site (which will immediately cause Google to increase her search ranking and therefore drive more traffic to her page is ironic. The Streisand effect done beautifully. ;-)

You should know that copyright is unenorceable on the interweb, so quit worrying and concentrate on who's reading you, not who's copying you.

Chairman Bill said...

Oscar Wilde once complimented James Whistler with the words: "I wish I'd said that." Whistler replied: "You will, Oscar, you will."

Passion said...

As soon as you post there will be someone copy/pasting your work. I know it sucks when you dont get credit for your wonderful work..but thats how it is. I make Photoshop pics for one of my blogs and they turn up everywhere...I see it as flattery..your work is just THAT GOOD!

Scarlet-Blue said...

I think this is a horrible thing to have happened to you.
I feel guilty nicking pictures for my blog... this is why I mainly stick to Youtubes!
Sx

Carnalis said...

Last year i came across a blog which was recycling posts from a friend's (dormant) blog. I challenged him and he stopped skimming from that particular blog, but he is still a prolific blogger and i imagine that most of his work is similarly pinched.

having my cake said...

Ah Polar, you are such a fab fan club leader x

Pippirose - Well, it's all down to your determined efforts that I know about it in the first place :)

Mrwriteon - It is very irritating but flattering at the same time


Troll - Ive heard that web design is even more susceptible to this type of theft :(


Helga - Can you keep an eye on it for me? Thank you x

Annie - I guess they just come up with new names but their IP addies will still be the same so this should be checked

Kyra - If you read Pippirose's post, you'll see a whole list of copied items from numerous bloggers

Riff - I suppose we'll never understand why some people do the things they do :(

Walker - As you say, not a lot we can do about it, except expose them

Mr Border - That's the way I was looking at it. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that :)

Cate - I guess it must be very tempting for students who have a huge amount of coursework to do, to get a little help. But I guess it's all character forming isnt it :)

Mendicatus - Not angry and insulted. Just irritated and then frustrated at not being able to get in there and check if anything else had been mentioned. I thought carefully about blogging about it at all because of the 'increased traffic making it worth their while' aspect. In the end, I thought that, like bullying, public exposure to ridicule is probably the best way to deal with them. I have now taken down the links to their blog (even though it was already defunct when I listed them).

Chairman Bill - LMAO

Passion - Im nipping over to your blog shortly to have a look :P

Miss Scarlet - I have often wondered about the picture aspect, hence my reference to my Mute Mondays. I need to find a way to link back to the original site but, even then, you cant be sure that they are the original. The thing about MM is that everyone knows that these pics are from the internet and we dont claim to have taken them ourselves.

Carnalis - The thing is, none of us mind our work being quoted - like on Sexoteric or Fleshbot - so long as we get the link back as authors. I just dont get why you would take the credit when it isnt yours.

Svetlana Ivanova said...

I found one of my posts on a Facebook forum. I asked Facebook to take it down, and they wouldn't even respond.

nitebyrd said...

It's pathetic that people have no scruples. To try to pass another's "life" off as your own is just disgusting.

I do hope now that this person has been exposed, she will cease.

pippirose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pippirose said...

I'm pleased to say that now, when the words FoxyNE or Pink_Secrets + plagiarist gets googled, the exposé blog comes up!
They can no longer hide.
:o)