Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bloggers and plagiarism

You may have noticed a black box on my sidebar. It's my warning to bloggers who try to plagiarize this site. What happened to Like Merchant Ships was minor, but I want to extend a broader warning to other friends who blog. One, it can happen to you. Two, make sure you don't do it to anyone else unintentionally.

But most importantly, don't do it and make a profit, or else you can really be in trouble. I won't name names here, but if you show a craft project and use the ORIGINAL writer's DIRECTIONS VERBATIM, you are plagiarizing. It's bad even if you give the link at the bottom. It's even worse when you don't even give the link. If you can't come up with original content, why are you blogging, anyway? Just post the photos of what you did and give a link--and credit for the idea--to the original creator.
--edited for clarity


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Copyscape info; I have just added it to my blog.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I guess I'm naive but I just can't believe someone would do that...and to you, my favorite blogger! :(

TheNormalMiddle said...

This has happened to me a few times too. I'm sorry it happened to you. I hope it wasn't from anyone taking the ideas from the links I sent over at the advent blog???? I sure hope not. Contact me if so.

Anonymous said...

No, no, for me it was the better portion of an early post/ essay. Still--it was shocking to this blogger.
Apparently there are whole "mirror blogs" which steal content and repeat it as a way to get ad money.

The whole incident has opened my eyes to the problem of plagiarism with blogs, though. I think in many cases it's ignorance rather than malice. However, the problem is compounded (and more hurtful) when someone is selling your thoughts and projects word for word and passing them off as original.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Meredith - thank you for this. After reading your post, I realize how close I've come to crossing the line with my craft things (I often change ideas and change the directions) but still it is a reminder to be very careful. What about quotes from books or songs if you credit the source? Just wondering...Monica

Monica Wilkinson said...

What about recipes? Now I'm paranoid... Monica

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

I've had that same question about recipes. Especially since I may have a recipe that came from one source, but if you google it you can find the exact same recipe in so many places (how many ways are there to make cornbread? or pancakes?)

Homekeeper Mom said...

Oh, Meredith! I am so sorry that happened to you! How did you find out?


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this happened. It happened to me once when I was a writer for a local newspaper. Ugh. Not a compliment for sure.
Been lurking here a couple of weeks and am so enjoying your simple Christmas ideas. I think our decorating styles are quite similar! I clipped my front hedges to make our Advent wreath! LOL
Mostly I want to say how touched I was by the incredible manger scene you made in the shell of the fireplace. It is simply exquisite.
God bless.

3boysmama said...

How did you find out??

Meredith said...

An alert reader tipped me off that my essay was posted under someone else's name.

If you think your page has been copied, you can enter the address using Copyscape or similar services. They check your words against others and come back with any matches. For instance, there was a blogger I suspected was using content other than her own, yet there was rarely a credit to the original writer/creator. I took the address of the post I suspected and ran it through Copyscape. Bingo! Within seconds Copyscape found the original education site from which the blogger had gotten her idea--and repeated it on her own blog, word for word, without any credit.

Monica, I'm no expert or plagiarism cop. I don't imagine the authors of books mind a short quote as long as they are credited, and if possible, linked to a source for someone to buy their work (as in the Amazon listing). I think as long as you do what you can to give someone proper credit, there would be little ill will. But people who "neglect" to give credit over and over again? That, I have no patience for.

Mrs.Garcia said...

Meredith,thank you for the information on Bloggers and plagiarism . I hope that I have given proper credit where Credit is due to people,blogs, books, etc. when I have made a post about a recipe or about anything that I have found particularly interesting.
Thank you also for Page Protected by Copyscape Do Not Copy as well.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I just found an entire blog post reposted verbatim, with the explanation that it was 'just in case' 'the other site' was taken down. Since it's been there just shy of two years, I don't think there's an immediate and obvious danger of that happening.

Anyway, I know I am late, late, late to this- but FYI, my understanding of recipes is that ingredients and amounts cannot be copyrighted, but directions can. So if you copy a recipe (and it is true that there are only so many variations possible), you do need to change the directions into your own words.
I've seen an oatmeal casserole of 'mine' (with adaptations) making the rounds with a real jump in frequency ever since it was published in a popular homeschooling magazine- but I got it myself (and adapted it) from a homeschooling magazine twenty years ago.=)
And I've seen other people trying to copyright a recipe for something or other that I know has been around since before they were born.=) So recipes are not as cut and dried- but if you do know where you got it, it's courteous to acknowledge the original source, and so long as you rewrite the directions in your own words I don't think you are in violation of copyright.
But I'm not a lawyer, etc, etc, insert typical legal warnings, protections, and caveats absolving me of any responsibility for giving you legal advice since this isn't, etc, etc, etc.