Saturday, April 18, 2009

Plagiarism

I have received two notifications this morning that portions of my blog are being plagiarized. My first response was a bit of a shrug--I don't (nor do I ever intend to) profit from the blog, therefore, I don't need the traffic for advertisements.

I know things like this happen on the Internet. I learned very early in blogging that it is perfectly acceptable to quote another writer, but you should always link to them so the thoughts can be read within the intended context--and comments can be replied to from the source.

Although my initial response was subdued, the longer I have thought about it the worse it makes me feel. I share very openly of my heart and my struggles--for someone to take those innermost thoughts and repeat them as their own feels a bit like someone has taken a piece of my heart. I feel invaded and hurt. If we do not own the expressions of our heart, what do we really have?

I do not know the blogger--and cannot recall them ever even commenting here. This adds a layer of feeling used.

I also noticed something else about the two specific posts that were most heavily plagiarized--the primary changes the blogger made were to remove the references to my faith. It reminds me of how often people take Bible verses out of context and use them to support their own world view.

So, this morning (in the midst of planning a full Spring day with my children while my husband is working) I am contemplating the wise and loving response to this blogger. Is there anything I can say that will be received well? I have no intention of 'starting anything,' but I am aware that I am not the only woman she has plagiarized. (As a matter of fact, when I went to her page I immediately recognized a complete copy of something I had read on another blog this week. It was recounted as her own experience.)

What would you do?

UPDATED: I went to show my husband the blog tonight and it no longer exists. After doing some checking with others who were victimized, it appears Blogger removed the entire account.

19 comments:

Bailey's Leaf said...

Well first, Mom taught me to pray about things before I handled them. Obviously, we know that you have that covered.

I am an artist, though. To have my work copied isn't so great and I regularly have to stop folks from taking pictures of the work of others in our gallery. How do I do that? I simply ask them if they need help with anything. Then when they inquire on capturing photos of the work, I simply explain that we can't allow photos because we are protecting the artists. That is one of the reasons they have us representing them and selling their work.

I can't understand why someone would copy posts and not tag where they came from. Perhaps a misunderstanding of the unwritten rules of the 'net?

What is it? Imitation is the biggest form of flattery or something like that? Perhaps there is an admiration that isn't handled well.

Address it with love and understanding, as you would with misunderstood things with K, P and R.

I've linked to you a couple of times, but I've given you all the credit! I promise! :)

JMom said...

I really should clarify...I do not mind being linked or quoted. We are all in this together--and goodness knows I quote and link to others who are learning great things that I think could minister to/encourage others.

I decided to write her an e-mail politely pointing out some of the 'rules of the road' and the hurtful impact it had when they were broken. I am sure she has many insightful and entertaining things to offer from her own life. It is my hope that she will discover that!

I am honestly a little surprised how invaded it makes me feel.

Love Being a Nonny said...

I surely don't know all the details, but perhaps it was innocent?? Maybe a desire to be a better writer and a low self esteem?? However, a gentle reminder might be all it takes to let her know you feel invaded. I think I know, or might can imagine, how you feel. Your words are such very personal thoughts. You pour out your heart and feelings here and it seems so invasive to take YOUR personal feelings as theirs!!! I just said a quick prayer that God in all HIS wisdom will give YOU wisdom with your words. Have a marvelous day with your three kiddos!

Kerin said...

Just "kindly" mention that you noticed the similarities between your blog and her's and thank her for thinking so highly of your's to copy it. Then add, "I'm praying for you to be able to come of with your own ideas in the future! If you need any help, just let me know." It's a tough situation - I don't know what I would do. LOL - LOVE Ryland's picture!! You need to have that one blown up and framed to put in your house for full display (or take out whenever he does something that gets on your nerves)!!!

Work In Progress said...

Well, the one good thing I see in her invasion of your talent, is that she had good taste. Your writing is always so "to the point" and "from the heart". This person knew a good thing when they saw it!
It sounds like you are handling it the right way by emailing and just confronting her with it prayerfully and truthfully.

k and c's mom said...

Wow. This is a whole new concept to me. I think I would make contact to learn what she was thinking. I would really love to hear what her rationale was. Can you keep us updated?

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I'm glad I took a minute to read everyone else's comments first because it allowed me to cool my response a bit. This post made me kind of angry for you, J, mainly because it IS an invasion on your life through your writing. Of course, you've handled it with grace which I'm not surprised to hear. :) See, you're teaching the rest of us even through this type of an experience.

Meaghan said...

wow! i am so sorry this is happening! i think i would have the same reaction as you. eh at first, and then i don't like this! i think you can write a little ditty on your blog saying no one can use what you write unless they're given permission by you. i've seen that on other blogs especially for pics. i'm, as usual, impressed and encouraged by your integrity!
xoxo

Jenna said...

I think it would be totally normal to feel invaded. That is so crazy to me that someone would do that, but I think you handled it perfectly and gracefully. I'm so sorry that happpened!

Leah in Iowa said...

Have you checked out the website copyscape.com? Also, I know there is a way to stop content from being "right click and copied" from your blog - I just can't remember what it is right now. Keep us posted!

Michelle said...

Maybe just putting up this post will be enough to get through to her that it's not ok to do what she's doing. Hopefully this is the case.

The Graves' House said...

i'm new to your blog and have enjoyed reading it so much lately. i know that imitation is supposed to be the best form of flattery, however i don't think this is what they meant by that. i have enjoyed blogging as a hobby now for almost a year. i look forward to reading post by other bloggers that i've come to 'know' too. i have always admired that people can share their lives, faith and blessings with one another. it may be the only outlet some have. i'm very sorry that someone out there made you feel that your personal moments or thoughts were being used. i hope we can all learn from the way you are handling this situation.
blessings to you.

FaceforGrace said...

Wow- sorry that happened. You definitely handled it better than I would have. I guess in a weird sort of way it could be a compliment- you have a gift and are so very transparent in your writing. Then on the other hand, how sad for that person to have to, or to choose to, copy someone else's life/thoughts/feelings, etc. Good for you for rising above and seeking God for the correct response.

growingdaybyday said...

You know, I'm not sure I haven't inadvertently done that before. Sometimes I go on blog reading sprees where I linkii off one then off that one, etc.. and the reading will prompt thoughts or the Lord will speak to me through them in ways and I might blog about it later. The same thing happens to me in church. The Pastor will be preaching on something and one thing he said will jjmp out at me and the Lord and I will have an entire (internal) conversation of how He is applying it to me and my heart and I may blog about it later. Today's blog is prompted by a blog I read days ago. However, the ideas and feelings are mine, just and I admit the original thought wasn't my own. I just wonder if I'm doing the wrong thing. I will have to think about that. Thanks for sharing. i would hate to be hurting someone or make someone feel violated.

Sammy said...

It sounds like the situation has been taken care of, but I honestly wouldn't worry about it. If someone is copying portions of your writing, it must mean she feels insecure and unsure of herself. I would only feel sorry for a person in her position.

I do hope you're feeling better about all this now. I'm sure it was jarring, but I really do feel worse for her. Does that make sense?

Lisa @ Take90West said...

Just wanted to comment and let you know I'm so sorry this happened to you, I know exactly how you are feeling. And it is a strange feeling to have someone claim your words as their own. It's disrespectful and I think anger is a natural feeling to have.

A few months ago, I was going through my blog and visiting the blogs of people that had commented that I was not familiar with so I could reciprocate. I stumbled on a blog and scrolling down through the posts, I recognized one as my own, word for word.

I was shocked, and simply bit my tongue by leaving a comment that said, "Great post!"

I'm sure she got the message and I was glad that I did not speak before I had a chance to think, which is something I usually do!

You should be proud of the grace you have shown!

Losing My Lap said...

You are a better woman than I. I would have cited the copyright laws and told her how I felt about copyright infringement.

If this ever happens to me, I will look at your post and try to be inspired by your grace.

Have a great week!

Felicia said...

Wow..that is odd. I was going to post here that I have copied excerpts from your blog (of course with the scripture references..that's the whole point!) and pasted small paragraphs on my blog referencing how they were from another mom's blog linked on my page and I never use your name for your safety although my blog isn't "public" (you cannot google it) I always just say it is from a mommy of three the same age as my oldest. I always blog about how much what you type touches me and how I feel I was "sent" to your blog by the Lord. I am sorry this caused you some stress and an invasion! I am not sure why she would have done that and not given you reference, but you should be so proud for not acting on impulse and handling after much prayer and thought! AND so PROUD of your blog! Because it really enlightens so many of us! :) Thanks for sharing your life.

Rmomof3 said...

I know not who would take your blog and copy it, but I must tell you that I LOVE coming to your blog and reading - though with the craziness of life, it isn't as often as I would like and I find myself reading several days worth of your posts. I am sorry that somebody would do this to you!
R.