Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions (7): Why Plagiarism Sucks


I told myself I was going to stay out of this whole mess, but when two bloggers I know, love, and respect are on the wrong end of plagiarism, it's hard to sit idly by. I won't mention any names anywhere. I'm just going to explain some of the situations and tell you why plagiarism is just so wrong.

There's a reason schools have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to plagiarism. It's WRONG to steal someone else's work and claim it as your own. I know, crazy, right? Who would have thought it?! But that's not the only problem that these lovely bloggers ran into. They both tried to take care of this quietly without posting anything up. They were doing the right thing by giving the guilty person a chance to redeem themselves. In both cases, that did not work out.

In the first case, images were stolen from a blogger's site. Now, normally that's not a big deal, but when you pay for an image that was specifically made for you and someone steals it, that's not cool. I myself have never paid for anything on my blog, but I can see why people do it: to be completely unique. And the worst part is that the guilty blogger already had a great design that she had a friend do for her (another prestigious blogger), yet she felt the need to steal from someone else. The blogger the images were stolen from told the person to take down the images she found there. The blogger claimed to have no knowledge of HTML (whatever, that's a total lie), but she took it down and it seemed to be over. Sadly, the victim of this crime found even more of her images up on the site only a day or so after she asked the other ones to be taken down! Seriously? I mean, you have to be stupid enough to steal something from someone, but that takes the Darwin award right there.

In the second case, another guilty blogger was called out on copying nearly 90% of a very prestigious blogger's review. The blogger sent an e-mail to the perpetrator and got some backlash, but the review was taken down and, again, that seemed to be the end of it. No such luck. Sometimes you can tell the age of a blogger when all of a sudden their mom starts bashing the blogger on twitter. Yup, this girl's mom takes it upon herself to badmouth this blogger who's really the victim in all this and tell her how bad a person she is and how awesome a person her daughter is. I understand mama bear protecting her cubs, but this ain't the animal kingdom and when your child is in the wrong, you don't defend them publicly. Maybe if she had e-mailed the blogger quietly and not gotten the twitterverse involved, then I probably wouldn't even be telling you about this because it would have been kept on the down-low.

People need to stop stealing each other's content. Period. I'm seriously so paranoid now that it's going to happen to me. I know my blog isn't that well-known, but honestly I fear for my blog's content. Should I write reviews that aren't as good so that people won't steal them? Should I make crappy graphics so that I won't find them on someone else's site? I don't want to have to downgrade my blog, but the idea of not only someone stealing my content but then having to deal with the terrible aftermath that these ladies did scares me. It's things like this that make people want to stop blogging. And I LOVE book blogging. I can't explain to you guys how much I love my blog. That's why I try to make it pretty for you and post something nearly every day (as most of you know, Sundays are just no-posting days for me, except for days like today). I never EVER want to have to deal with something like this. It's become increasingly common, which sucks for the majority of bloggers that actually have only their own content. So, guys, just don't do it. Your credibility  gets shot, and you create this animosity in the blogging world that just doesn't need to be there. I don't get paid to blog; I do this for fun. There's no way I'm considering quitting now because I love it too much. But if something like this happened to me, I really don't know what I'd do... I really don't want a visit from the dreaded drama llama. How ironic would it be if someone made a post about plagiarism, using someone else's words from a post about plagiarism? It's totally not funny, but I just made myself laugh at the idea.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Nicole! I understand both sides--the plagiarized and the plagiarizer--but my personal feeling is, it's the Interwebs. People grab things whether they know better or not. When I post up things that I write or images (many of which I slave for hours making perfect in Photoshop, and some of which I have customized after purchasing the right to use the image from veer.com) I do so knowing that at some point someone somewhere will probably want to copy/save/use it. It happens, whether the person who takes it intends to insult me or not is irrelevant.

    So am I cool with people taking my images and reviews and posting them up as their own? Or having reviews that sound kind of like what I said? Yep. It would have been awesome if they just linked back to my blog or whatever, but if they didn't, I am not going to freak myself out going after them and OMG take it down. I have lots of better things to do.

    I would probably shoot them an email and say, "Hey did you know what you're doing is uncool? Well now you know, and I don't care if you do it to me again, but someone else may have a huge problem with it and not be so nice. So, you know, *stoppit*."

    Bloggers make their own drama, IMHO. They write about how bullying is bad, how much they hate drama, etc. but when it somes to hating on their own peeps, bloggers are second to none!

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    1. I totally agree that people are just taking things off the web without even thinking. I do it too, like that llama picture is not one that I took myself. That would be weird lol. I think the only thing I really have a problem with is that the bloggers contact them about it, ask them to take it down and they either do it but then just steal something else from that person or they get mad at the person they stole from, which just seems odd to me.

      I do feel like bloggers make a bigger deal about it though. And I think the reason they post about it is so they can have other people agree with them. But I just hate people stealing other people's stuff and instead of respecting the person's wishes, they get mad at them. It's just blown way out of proportion. The other thing I hate is drama. Why are bloggers hating on each other?? :/

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  2. i don't want to say a lot on this because i seriously want to avoid the drama. however, i will say that copying someone else's work isn't cool. people take a lot of time to write reviews and other content on their blogs and to take it and copy it (albeit with slight changes) is disrespectful to the original author and not cool. i don't know why someone would want to have a blog and then not use their own content in it. kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me.

    that said, i do believe that there is a lot of ignorance as to what is legal/fair use and what isn't. especially with things like images, a lot of people (even tech savvy people) don't understand that images from google images are not free use for all. i know it seems like common sense but i think that a lot of people are uniformed in that area. when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

    does that make plagiarism ok? no. but, i do think that matters can be settled in a much more private manner than they seem to be lately. i haven't been blogging for long and it's so interesting to me to see all of the drama that has happened in just the short amount of time i've been doing it. i don't know if it happens often in other communities but it's been really prevalent lately in the book blogging world. i just hope that we all remember that we are doing this because we love books and reading. for the most part, i think it's a great community, but it's not perfect.

    that's all i have to say on this. hugs to you, nicole. hope to see you soon.

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    1. I don't get why other people wouldn't want to use their own content either. It just doesn't make sense to create a blog and use other people's stuff. And it has seemed like it's been happening most since we've both started blogging. The last couple years have been drama, drama, drama in the blogging world, and I just don't get it. But it makes me mad that people steal in the first place.

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