Sunday, December 7, 2008

Plagiarism: I Never Thought It Could Happen To Me

This is astounding.  Someone is plagiarizing my writing.

I wrote this article on Open Salon, based on my experiences with Betty, my neighbor at my apartment on Bryant Ave.  I typed it up and posted it last night.

This morning I received a message from a diligent user on Open Salon.  She said she was reading another woman's blog and was impressed with her latest post, but that it didn't sound like her other writing.  She did a quick text search and found that this woman, RomanticLibra106, had stolen my post.  Lacking the skill to rewrite the essential text, she simply substituted her name for mine throughout the copy: notice the stylistic violations in her insertion of "(Yuck but anyway)."  No comma, period outside the parenthesis--offenses totally not in keeping with the rest of the writing.  As well, her incharitable commentary stands in contrast to the tone of the article.

I've contacted the admin at Match Doctor and set up an account there to confront the plagiarist. I'm shocked that someone would plagiarize me--my heart's still pounding and my hands are trembling at the excitement.  How many other authors has she ripped off?  Does RomanticLibra106 have her own account on Open Salon where she trolls for writing she envies?  There's a sad little woman stealing the written work of various authors around the Web to make herself look better in the eyes of her community.

Granted, I don't make any money off of my posts at Open Salon, and RomanticLibra106 can't make any money off of her blog on a singles Web site.  But I'm a writer and my resume is built on my written work, and my contributions to Open Salon and other blogs constitute my credentials.  I never would have discovered this theft on my own, but this diligent user quickly sussed what was up and notified me.  I'm deeply grateful to her.

I think it's not a bad exercise for every online author to do a quick search for selected lines from their own writing.  It hadn't occurred to me before but I'll certainly implement it now.

Update: The user in question has deleted the offending post and terminated her own account.  I received considerable support from the users of Open Salon as well as Match Doctor (where a lively debate ensued).  I think no real harm was done (except to my blood pressure) and I learned a good lesson.

1 comment:

Max Sparber said...

Seems to have been taken down now.