The Romance Thief — Day Five
Thief Stop Stealing Our Blog!
If you’ve read Poison Ivy’s recent posting you know that someone took one of our blog articles and posted it word-for-word–including title–on another site as their own work. After contacting the site to request that the article be attributed or deleted we received a rude reply back from the creator/manager of the site…but the plot thickens. The creator/manager of the other site had agreed to remove the purloined article to “appease” us. When I checked back–it was still up–I discovered several more blog articles taken word-for-word from our site. Then this morning I found two of these articles plus a third that the Romance Thief had posted on his/her personal blog. Once you read the other postings on this blog it is obvious that the articles in question were written by someone else. Given that one of these sites is for writers it is especially sad that someone calling themselves a “writer” would do this.
I really wasn’t sure what our options were in this situation. Since a search engine turned up evidence of the theft, I decide to do a search to find a solution. I searched on the term “blog plagiarism” and found articles going back several years. It’s not surprising that many sites face this same problem. According to an online article, by Maura Welch, entitled, nline plagiarism strikes blog world, on the Boston Globe website, it’s not the A-List bloggers or the unknown bloggers who are usually robbed. Seems it’s middle of the road bloggers like us that are at risk. Sites like ours are popular with a niche audience, but we are not necessarily known to the general web visitor.
It is possible that the Romance Thief read our articles and liked them enough to steal them. But often text is stolen solely for convenience and used to drive traffic to a third-party site. While the articles in questions were well written, they were not necessarily taken for their merit. Some sites just steal text to load up with links that will be picked up by search engines.
Everything seems to revolve around search engines these days!
There is an interesting article by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. I followed Rowse’s seven-step advice and luckily I resolved things with the writer’s site at step one. Step one is to contact the offending party. It did take several e-mails and the threat of going to step two before our articles were removed. Step two is to notify the host of the offending party’s website. You can find the other five suggestions at Rowse’s website.
In fairness the creator/manager of the writer’s site was caught in the middle. He was not the person who posted our articles. That of course was our Romance Thief. Unfortunately I had to move to step two in my effort to have our articles removed from the Romance Thief’s personal blog. I’m hoping the website host will assist me in this effort. I’m hopeful since the site included a link to report abuse. If not, it’s on to step three to hit these offenders in their wallets. Step three is to notify advertisers on these sites that they are running ads on a site that has breached our copyright.
A similar list of steps for combating online theft can be found at Plagiarism Today which is run by Jonathan Bailey. On this site you’ll find a helpful section on “How to Find Plagiarism” with suggestions for writers, artists/photographers and musicians. Obviously creative people are extremely venerable to online thieves.
The blatant thievery we experienced reminds me of a story about my grandmother. She lived in a unit next to the elevator in a high-rise apartment building. Her newspaper was delivered to her door every morning and then one morning it wasn’t there. It wasn’t there the next day and for several days after that. The deliveryman swore he left the paper each morning, so my grandmother deduced that someone waiting for the elevator was stealing her paper. One night before she went to bed she posted a sign on her front door that read “Thief, Stop Stealing My Newspaper”. As far as I know it was never stolen again.
For all practical purposes there is a sign hanging over our blog that reads, Thief, Stop Stealing Our Blog!Hopefully there is one hanging over yours. I’ve found over the years that writers can be generous people. It only takes a little attribution to keep them happy. I’ve never understood why people would steal from those that are so willing to share. Yes, I’m talking to you, Romance Thief.