How to stop obsessing about plagiarism – at least some of the time

I went to bed more pissed off last night then I have in a very long time. And I rarely, if ever cuss online, (see previous pissed off statement) so now it’s official, I’m mad.

Why? The big P. Lame people plagiarizing my work. Last night I went searching for a gov source about baby food textures. During that search, I completely by accident stumbled onto an eHow article that was mine. But not mine, because I’ve never personally written a word for eHow. No, my eHow name is ChristyQ. Lame old miss Q had taken a piece I did for online magazine and turned it into her own. How very nice.

Usually I don’t get so angry. I mean people scrap stuff all the time from my blogs. I send C&Ds, I email, I take care of it. It’s part of the game when you write. This week though… I have five major deadline, two interviews, ten architects to round up for a piece, and my regular blogging work. Busy week. I don’t have time to be thrown. I don’t have time for total idiots.

Luckily in this case, the online magazine I write for took care of it in under one hour. That was bliss, much love to them, and I should have felt better, but honestly, I’ve been obsessing all day. Obsessing. Yes, people stealing content is part of the writing game, but why should it be? I guess I was thinking last night that no matter what we do, no matter how we try to protect our writing, our blogs, our articles; someone is willing to cut in and claim it.

To add to that, while stolen content makes it easy to shut down a blog, there’s nothing to stop that same thief from starting up a new blog with stolen content. Plus, while places like eHow seem to take plagiarism seriously (my article was deleted from their site), they allow the writer to stay on and keep their profile up, so they obviously don’t take it as seriously as me, who feels a better plan would be to ban the alleged writer (using that term loosely) for life.

The stages of how to stop obsessing:

Vent away. I vented to many a blogger pal today and it helped. Time waster, but it helps. I vent here and that helps too. Don’t vent forever though or that will be your lifelong gig.

Do something. Don’t take it laying down. It sucks that it’s an ongoing battle but you should still do something (some of the time – see below). Send a C&D, email the company who has the work posted, or go the legal route if you have to.

Ignore it. Depending on where and who steals work, I’ve been known to actually ignore it. One example is when I find baby stuff I write at a mommy blog – a mommy blog with no ads. Usually these bloggers seem genuinely interested in simply sharing info with their pregnant blogger friends, and it’s not worth my time to swoop in. IF I see all my posts at a blog like this, I may send a nice email and say, “Hey, did you know that’s not how we roll as bloggers.” I don’t make the moms mad, they say,”I had no idea!” and we have a conversation. I also tend to ignore most scraper sites. Mainly because someone else will probably deal with them and it’s a big ongoing deal. If some scraper site posts something I wrote and really adore I may send a C&D. I always send a C&D or email if I find a larger piece of mine that’s been copied, because it took more time on my part to write. I also always do something if the person has the piece at a place where it might make them some money.

Move on. Don’t let some idiot effect your work. I sometimes do let them affect me, which is dumb on my part. When I find a major piece of mine copied – I get nuts, and start checking all my work online for duplicates. Usually I find more stolen work, get more worked up, and all it does is waste my time thus affecting my work yet to be completed. I think it’s good to call out content theft, but I also think we shouldn’t get so mad that it affects our basic routine. Easier said than done, but that’s my best advice.

Channel your efforts. If you need help figuring out what to do check out the following…

Peformancing Legal Issues Forum – best place hands down to get advice IMO.

What to do When Someone Steals Your Blog’s Content – Blog Plagiarism

The 20 Best Free Anti-Plagiarism Tools

Copyscape – use carefully. I’m not entirely sure Copscape is your friend. I appreciate the services they provide, but a lot of the time it ends up wasting my time because I find too much stolen stuff, which yes, feeds the obsession. Use it to your advantage, just don’t waste time using it.

Now you tell me - do you tend to obsess and get mad about content theft or do you deal with it in another way?

Comments

  1. Jennifer,

    I’m really sorry that this happened to you. I have had articles and blog posts scraped before so I know that it’s no fun.

    Fortunately, it sounds like the offending site removed the article. Too bad they didn’t ban the contributor. Sometimes I can’t even find a way to contact the owners where the scraped material appears.

    I think the main thing to do is keep emphasizing over and over that plagiarism is not writing until the plagiarizers finally get it. Plagiarism is, in fact, stealing. (There, I said it.)

    Thanks for posting your experience! I’m sure that a lot of us can relate.

  2. Hey Laura. It is too bad they didn’t ban the individual. I think this person has had other issues too, because a lot of the work from miss Q’s site is missing, which eHow says would only be because of plagiarism or offense, so eHow doesn’t really seem too concerned, which is lame. Also, it was hard to find a way to contact them, if my workplace had not stepped in it would have been a big hassle for me, because it seems like eHow makes you register even just to email them.

    I think your right about the emphasizing deal. It really makes me wonder what people are thinking. They can’t think it’s ok? In any case, I’m in a much better mood today, so venting is a good call :)

  3. Sorry this happened to you especially the way eHow chose to deal with situation.

    Plagiarism definitely no fun after you’ve invested time and effort in writing. Have also used C&D and sending emails when work appears as ‘guest’ article on another site. Mixed results for both.

    Dislike ignoring the scraped articles but find sometimes my mental health more important-especially when my vents turned into rants.

    Thanks for the post. Nice to know how someone else deals with plagiarism.

  4. thanks alot for this nice post!

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