Plagiarism is a BIG DEAL!

I admit to being quite angry at the moment… so please pardon me if I rant a bit. I just found out that someone stole an article from my website and has posted it on their site (complete with the graphic that I made to go with it!) without any reference to the source from whence it was lifted. Exhibit A: The stolen item, on display here. Exhibit B: The original piece, written in May 2006. May 25th, to be exact here. Exhibit C: The image. Right Click on the smiley face image at the site in question, and check the properties… my website is actually serving the little image to this website, so the crime is now compounded by the charge of bandwidth theft. (Albeit itty bitty levels of bandwidth, but that is not the point.) As a friend just wrote in email: “Wow, that is bold shit right there!” I have tried for the better part of an hour to scour that blog to find some contact information so I might handle it with gentle care. I even followed her link to her family page at the T18 site and read all about the children she has lost. It is heartbreaking. But the fact that a person’s reason for stealing tugs on my heart does not make it ok to steal my work. If you walked in to Barnes and Noble and tried to lift a book entitled “Five Things NOT to Say”, they would call that shoplifting. I realize this person probably is oblivious to the fact that there are rules, and is likely going to be upset, because no self-respecting thief would ever link back to the image server and give themselves away. I would have asked politely that she remove the content, and if she wanted to link to it she should do so with a blurb in her own words describing it, and then the link. But there is no way to reach out. I am left with official channels, and have sent an email with a nice personal note for the person who has *borrowed* my content, and I can only hope that the folks over at Yahoo 360 will share my note so she knows I am not evil. The irony, I suppose, is that I am wracked by guilt now that I have to be the mean person who tells her that she broke the rules and she should not have stolen my work and passed it off as her own. I wrote about this once before, posted it here. I hate this.

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