Plagiarism and blogging

I came across this blog this morning that (I think accidentally) linked to one of my stories. I appears that he is copying and pasting my stories without attribution.  Flattered? Upset? Robbed? Three of his eight stories are mine.

It took me a little while to get used to writing in the “blogosphere” but I try to follow MLA standards, or at least cite the source. Hopefully soon I will implement this sourcing plug-in; I just haven’t  yet figured out how. This too is an interesting post on blogging ethics.

On a “micro” level, your blog represents you and everything you’re connected with, including librarianship. Great quote: “For most readers, you are the last stop between the reader and the truth.” From a utilitarian standpoint, being ethical is a strategic approach. Information has a long half-life. Being ethical is a form of self-preservation…”the blogosphere can be cruel. the biblioblogosphere can be crueler.”

Blogging ethics are pretty simple. If you use someone else’s material and research, by all means, cite it! Just because “everybody does it“:

A study conducted by Donald L. McCabe titled Faculty Responses to Academic Dishonesty: The Influence of Honor Codes found that 55% of faculty “would not be willing to devote any real effort to documenting suspected incidents of student cheating”.

Doesn’t make it right.

Update 12/27/05: In response to the email I sent, he has posted attribution to my real estate website rather than this blog and removed two of the other stories. That this was a case of ignorance rather than malice makes me feel a bit better, but still …

Update 1/7/05: Welcome RTers. Thanks for visiting.

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  1. Waldo Jaquith December 26, 2005 at 13:40

    That’s absolutely outrageous. If I were you, I’d pick up the phone and call the guy and ask him what his deal is. Seriously. That is clearly plagiarism, and falls outside of all norms of blogging.

  2. TrvlnMn December 27, 2005 at 00:59

    It is disturbing not only is his plagarism blatant but he didn’t even bother to try and disguise his thefts. In the “Interest Rates Are High?” post he didn’t even bother to edit out Charlottesville from the content of the stolen post. Not to mention how strange it is to read “In search of the GenX Buyer” on that blog considering that it’s stolen – it brings a whole new depth of hypocracy in context to the subject matter.

    My suggestion would be to contact the professional organizations in his area, and try to see if there may be some remedy to correct his bad behavior. And I suppose in the “For What it’s Worth” catagory you could file a complaint against him with the Better Business Bureau (if he’s a member).

    If he’s shady enough to steal intellectual property, kinda suggests what type of business person he’d be as well.

  3. Jim December 27, 2005 at 08:16

    I sent a polite email yesterday asking for either removal or attribution. We’ll see.

    Now I think that I have to figure out how to copyright my blog/material somehow, maybe under the Creative Commons Licensing? Bah. I am irritated and offended on so many levels.

  4. TrvlnMn December 27, 2005 at 14:20

    In the post “Interest Rates are High?” he also edited out the section of his stolen post to take out your references to Charlottesville which he’d lazily left in.

    I guess you could take it as a sort of backhanded compliment that he thought so highly of your writing/articles that he wanted to claim them as his own. But yeah being plagarized is no fun.

    In theory copyrighting material is easy enough, however the problems usually arise with the enforcement of copyright. In any event if you find something that works keep us filled in.

  5. TrvlnMn December 27, 2005 at 18:17

    Since you mentioned anti-plagarism tools… I found The Plagarism Resource Site which is right here in our own back yard.

    From the website:

    The goal of this web site is to help reduce the impact of plagiarism on education and educational institutions. At present, it distributes free software to detect plagiarism and provides links to other resources. This site’s sole author is Lou Bloomfield, Professor of Physics, University of Virginia, Box 400714, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4714,

    His Links page has quite a few links to other resources sharing the same goal.

  6. Jim December 27, 2005 at 17:21

    I think that I will take it as a compliment; I’ve been upset and I don’t have time for it anymore. It’s fixed. Kind of. Copyrighting is one step; enforcement would take too much time, money and time. It’s a step, though, and I learned something.

    I wish I could find the link to an article I read recently about an online search tool that helps find plagiarized articles.