Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yeah, I stole your stuff... You should consider it a compliment.

Stay with me. This only seems complicated:

Our friend Becca has a blog called The Texas Darlings where she writes about adventures with her sweet family and life in general.  She also recently started a new blog called R We There Yet Mom? inspired by her love of travel and vacations.  In order to help promote R We There Yet Mom? Becca started a Friday Linky Party called Friday Day Dreamin', where she asks people to link up an inspirational travel photo.

Becca (as R We There Yet Mom?) went to visit one of the participants and saw that in addition to linking up a photo, the blogger had also copied this post about facebook from The Texas Darlings and pasted it into her blog word. for. word.  There was no credit to or link to her original post anywhere.  Just one blogger stealing the work of another.  She apparently did not realize that Becca was the author of both blogs.

As politely as she could, considering the circumstances, Becca left a comment asking that the blogger take down the plagiarized material.
Becca wrote a post about the theft and received the following comment from the thief:

The Thief Says: First off let me say. There is a lot of unnecessary word slinging going on for something that was merely innocent. I have blogged for 2 years and yes with no comments as my 3 blogs are mostly for my family and close friends. Not so much caddiness from strangers like this. I understand now that you may be upset but also from the other side you should see it as a compliment as well. I totally agree with every single word you said and not sure I could have written it or said it any better myself. However, good call out on the “Guest Writer” thing I have never done that but for sure will learn how.  
I honestly didn't mean to offend anyone nor make a bunch of blogging enemies. I enjoy reading your blog and think by far you do a really nice job and we do think a lot alike. I would have called someone out too for borrowing my idea. Hell come up with your own. But really Christian people don't do that and it is stealing are you kidding me? Come on people I am a hard core Christian and by far never really thought of it as "stealing" easy on stones you throw around and the judgments one makes. It is a blog and we are grown adults here to share stories about life and make connections. Not rally around like a bunch of hateful little high school girls in the hallway at school slinging hateful words. Sorry that so many of you were so offended that was not the intention. I was only passing it along and sharing with my friends those exact same feelings that most of them do not even blog and have no clue who Texas Darling even is.. so I thought there was no real harm.

Becca Says:

I wish that I could see it as a compliment - and I would, had you just asked permission to use my words.  As I mentioned previously, I work very hard to maintain an enjoyable blog for my readers.  I do not take kindly to someone "stealing" them.  You.stole.them.  You did not "borrow" them.
As for my friends' reactions - I am overwhelmed with gratitude to their response.  As a community of bloggers, THEY supported me in a time that I felt very violated.  I do not see their remarks as "catty" & "high school", but as friends defending someone.  All of their comments were valid and worded much nicer than they could have been.
Yes, I agree that we are all adults.  But most adults that I know DO NOT steal.  And most adults that I know, apologize when they know they have done something wrong.  You did neither.    
In posting about it on my blog, I brought awareness to blogging etiquette.  My hope is that this is a lesson for many that stealing words from a blog, pictures from a website, facebook statuses, etc. may not be a criminal act, but it is defiantly a immoral one.

Viv Says: 
I'm a Christian.  I never heard of this thing where we don't say anything if someone does something wrong.  I've always heard "thou shalt not steal" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  I have never heard "thou shalt sit there and quietly ignore the theft."
It's obvious that this blogger has no idea as to how to behave in the Blog Land, and certainly doesn't recognize the earmarks of plagiarism.  Ignorance is no defense.  Did she go to school?  What if it was an essay she copied from another student?  Would her defense be, well, that teacher didn't even know that student...?  Lame, lame, lame.
Seriously? The victim should be flattered that she was the victim...? Ridiculous.
***Updated to add: People! Anyone who thinks that Becca over-reacted is not thinking clearly.  Plagiarism IS theft.  It IS stealing from someone. Whether you steal a dollar or you  rob a bank, stealing is stealing.. Becca was polite in her request that the blogger remove the plagiarized post.  The fact that the blogger was unapologetic is a problem.  I am assuming since the blogger can read and write, that she must have some education... if so, she would have learned from an early age that it is bad to copy someone else's work and pass it off as your own.***  

Mandi Says:
Wow.  This is caaaarazy. One of the worst things that you can do is post something that belongs to someone else and not give them credit.  I have a hard time understanding why our blogger should be happy about them using her content without a link back.  Maybe the hater didnt know that its against all etiquite but her defensive response just makes it all the worse.

Moral of the story.  Dont jack other peoples crap.  And if you do at least put it on a private blog so that no one knows...

What do you say? 


Connie Weiss said...

I'm still completely baffled by this whole thing. But also...not surprised. My narcissistic father does the same thing. If you don't say, SORRY then you aren't responsible for anything and you did nothing wrong.

Cherished Bliss said...

Wow! How hard is it to type a sentence with a link saying "I couldn't have said it better myself..." It's one time of COPY PASTE that's it... it's not like you have to take it down somewhere for approval. It's so simple to give credit!

Moddy Bee said...

I dont know. This is just crazy! I feel bad for both people. people make really stupid mistakes sometimes. Im sure she felt dumb and embarrassed. I'm just curious as to why people went to her blog and told her off. That's not right. This is between her and the lady she stole from. The blog world should be fun, uplifting, and should be a way to make new friends! "can't we all just get along"? ;p

Nama Halacy's Comfy Cottage said...

I agree that credit should have been given. However, I think it could have been handled in a nicer way. Blogland does at times feel a bit clickish and this incident maginifies that. I think she could have asked nicely for credit to be given and it would have happended immediately.

Whitney said...

Wow.... This hits home. Last night i discovered a.blogger that copied half of one of my blog posts. The punctation or wording was the same! I have yet to confront them

Jen said...

I'm shocked that this has become such a huge issue. Should the blogger have given credit? Of course, but has anyone really stopped to consider that she just wasn't thinking about it in that way? That maybe she was not INTENTIONALLY stealing someone else's work? We ALL make mistakes..some are careless, some are not. But when a bunch of "christian women" start casting judgements and comments at this person's mistake like NONE OF US have ever made a blogging mistake or in general...it's just plain sad. Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery? Remember the words "Let he without sin cast the first stone?" Why are we so eager to verbally stone someone for their mistakes? Even if, worst case scenario this girl was completely unapologetic,and a horrible person (which I guess she is neither) who are we to judge???

Maddie Kertay- The Domestic Anarchist said...

I don't know, a " stupid mistake" is washing your hair with bodywash ( that's for you Viv), posting someone elses hard won words to your blog is a deliberate act of stealing. Bringing religion into it is a totally cheap shot on the part of the theif, I am not Christian but I know right from wrong and she was wrong. I think that the person wronged was totally gracious ( way more than I would have been) and that people came to her defence shows that we are not some shallow pool of highschoolers but a group who defends each other when the chips are down. The pasty mouth back peddeling on the part of the offending blog makes me a bit ill but given that she did it in the first place I don't think you can expect much more from her.

Melissa I. said...

Theft of intellectual property is just as offensive and wrong as theft of physical property. I hate when people think that being a "christian" absolves them! A true christian would never have stolen in the first place.

And, it seems she is looking for a bunch of strangers to be caddies at her next golf game. Any takers?

Jess said...

This whole situation makes me sad. Everyone makes mistakes. She shouldn't have stolen the content and I understand she didn't apologize, but that doesn't mean we have to ostracize her.

The Scrappy Housewife said...

WOW. OK so I have several (a couple?) of comments for the thief. First off, if you're going to insult me after you STEAL MY WORDS, then could you at least know how to spell and have some general knowledge of grammar and style? But then, maybe that's why you're stealing (yes, Virginia - plagiarism is stealing...look it up) someone else's blog post in the first place. Secondly, if you've been blogging for a couple of years then you should know better and have some knowledge of intellectual and actual copyright laws. Third, Becca was far more tactful than I would have been and while I didn't read the friend's comments I can assure you they weren't "caddy" (see also: learn to spell). And lastly, you aren't a hard core Christian. If you were you would know that stealing is wrong and that without giving credit where it is due for text you posted, you were stealing, which is a sin. It's even in the top 10. You portrayed someone else's words as your own. Period. Don't claim to be a hard core Christian when you don't even take responsibility for your screw up. Classy.

Kristin said...

I think giving a thief a pass that "it was a mistake" or "unintentional" is lazy. Saying that "only my family and friends" read it is naive and ridiculous. It's the internet, people! Anyone in the world can read any public page. I would never dream of using someone else's words in any format. So it's time to grow up and face the music... stealing words is stealing intellectual property. I'm not saying that she should be banned or anything, and I'm sure she's learned a valuable lesson. Man up, publicly apologize for doing something very misguided, and then we can all forgive and forget, and hope it never happens again.

Shawn said...

I'm speechless AGAIN! Damn it twice in a week!

I, in my opinion, did not attack the accused, I simply rallied around a friend who had been violated. I did not attack her in my comment, I just stated the obvious facts! I have a high schooler so I know how they act, trust me when I say none of us acted like they would have.

Plagiarism is something that not only my high schooler understands but her soon to be 6th grade sister. It's a basic rule that applies to any original written word. DO NOT TAKE SOMETHING THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN AND PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. So I'm confused as to how this could have been a stupid mistake or a compliment. A stupid mistake is washing your hair with Nair and a compliment is, "wow, you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen".

As far as this not being an intentional act of stealing Beccas work, I don't get it. Does anyone really believe she not understand what she was doing when she right clicked, highlighted the content of Beccas blog, hit copy, moved the curser to her own blog right clicked again and hit paste?

SMH! My high schooler just taught me this and I had to use it here because I am in fact truly shaking my head!

Judy C said...

How does being a Christian have anything to do with doing something wrong? Anyone with a brain can write their own blogs and doesn't need to use someone else's blog to speak. That is what blogging is for. And I'm still trying to find a heartfelt "I'm sorry." from the thief.

MiMi said...


liz @ bon temps beignet said...

The copier simply had to write 10 little words before right clicking and pasting: "I saw this on another blog and couldn't agree more." EASY.

I can totally understand Becca's frustration. I once showed another craft blogger how I painted a chevron pattern on a wooden box using a ***very** specific method that I figured out myself. Not 2 weeks later she had copied my project on a tray step-for-step and got LOADS of praise for it on her bigger, more well known blog. I searched her blog post everywhere trying so find some sort of credit or recognition for my idea and found nothing. I felt robbed. And of course anyone who saw my chevron box after her chevron tray thought I was the copier. I still kick myself for not having the balls to say anything to her.

The point is that it just isn't nice to take people's ideas or words without leaving credit. And just because we're Christian (or MORAL for that matter) doesn't mean we HAVE to turn the other cheek and take it.

Karri said...

Don't we all learn about plagiarism in school? And its drilled into us all though our education and again, in college? Its simple...credit your source. That's all.
I am not going to go all haterator on the plagiarist, but she should have simply offered an apology and gone on with it.
The whole christian thing did me in. I hate that excuse. Barf.

Mary said...

Do you think if someone is displaying "caddiness" in their behavior, they take another person's bag or purse, follow them around, and give them items from the bags as they need them? Cause that would be awesome.

Suzy Myers said...

When you publish your own words, you own the copyright. Sometimes you have to defend that copyright. Unfortunately, there are some that believe that if your words are out on the internet for all to view that they are free for the taking.

If you are a blogger, you need to understand that copying somebody else's words is not just bad etiquette; it is stealing. Plain and simple.


Boulter trouble said...

I don't know what religion has to do with any of this. Christian or not, it was just a bad decision. (Non-Christians know right from wrong)
But not a decision that she needs to be nailed to the wall for.
She is new to blogging and obviously wasn't aware of blogger etiquette.
I don't necessarily think that Becca handled it wrong, but I could understand how the "copy and paste"er would feel ganged up on.

Amber said...

We're taught from the time we start writing essays and papers in school that copying someone else's writing and saying it's ours is WRONG. It's STEALING.

Although I appreciate that this woman has since addressed what she did, I don't think boo hooing and crying about how "un-christian" it is to be calling her out on what she did. IMO she knows what she did was wrong (I was only passing it along and sharing with my friends those exact same feelings that most of them do not even blog and have no clue who Texas Darling even is) - she got caught, just apologize about it and move on. Don't make excuses, don't boo hoo about people being hard on you. She stole, case closed.

Anonymous said...

I follow a few dozen blogs religiously, and rarely ever comment. This is one time that I just have to say something.

I have a blog that is basically for my family and friends only. Yeah, it's public, but no one really reads it. I don't care, I like it that way. That is not and never will be an excuse to blatantly plagiarize. I would NEVER EVER EVER copy another blog post, not even a sentence, without quoting it and referencing back to the blog on which it was first published.

When you write a blog post and hit publish...you are taking credit for those words. It's wrong to plagiarize, I thought that everyone knew that. I guess I was wrong.

Yvonne said...

If her response to you is anything to go by she had no choice to steal if she wanted an blog entry that was the last bit literate. Her response to you would make any of her high school English teachers weep.

My copy of the 10 commandments included "though shalt not steal" But then again.. mighty unChristian of me I'm sure to point out that little trifling detail I'm sure.

Tascha said...

I only read a few of the comments and what the heck?! First of all, the hater used her being a christian as part of her defense...seriously?! I am a christian and I have no idea what her being a christian has to do with the whole situation. If anything she should have just replied and said, hey no problem. I'll fix it. Rather than coming up with a snotty remark. I have a blog and link to other people's work constantly but I always send people to the blog I'm talking about's page. I never even put their work on my page, just a link. And if I have ever stolen someone's stuff word for word (which I am pretty sure I'm safe) and someone commented on it, I would go back and fix it without being a jerk. Just sayin'.

Melissa O said...

I think this got wayyyyyyy out of hand. I didn't see a huge issue to start slinging mud. I get it...you wrote something and you want credit for it, but it could of been a simple mistake. Yes I said mistake so I guess I'm lazy, but in all actuality she could of told everyone that I found this on this blog and you need to read it. Maybe she didn't write that, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. It just seems petty to get so upset, but like I said I just have a little blog...not something uber popular. Maybe thats why I don't see the need to get so angry.

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Give credit where credit is due. Period. Any time and any place in life.

If I get a recipe from somebody, make it, somebody else loves it and wants the recipe, I put the persons name on it whom I originally got the recipe from.

If when setting up for some event, I use an idea I had spotted in a magazine or on somebody's blog - if later somebody compliments me on it, I tell them where I got inspired for it at.

If I use something from somebody else's blog on my own blog, I do two things. I state the source of where I found it, also providing a link to it. AND, I go back to that blog and let them know I have done such, providing them a link to see what I did. It takes maybe three minutes - but EVERY-body is happy. So-o easy and worth it!

The throwing out of the "Christian" title in this situation really bothers me! Like many other commentors pointed out, "stealing" IS listed in the 10 commandments. And then there is the, "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you". From my perspective, both of those boil down to giving credit where credit is due.

The one who had copied and posted the others posting, should have gone back and added an 'oops' to the original posting - giving full credit as to where she had found said posting, as well as apologizing for not having done so in the first place. It then would have gone no further.

The Bible also talks about a soft answer turning away wrath. Going back and correcting would have accomplished just exactly that.

For the record, I'm not trying to cast stones, due to thinking I have always done everything right. Not even in my dreams.

And notice I did not point out anything about 'grammar' used. That is one of my biggest hurdles. But hey, I did a posting admitting all about that, and people still read my blog anyways. ;-p

Dawn said...

I just stumbled here into your blog and I've been reading post after post, scratching my head at some of the idiot commenters but this one takes the cake! Plagiarism IS ILLEGAL. Report her to her hosting company! If she's on Wordpress.com or Blogger.com, report her to THEM. They will kill her blog faster than she can blink, as long as you can prove that the content is yours. Also, if your post is there, chances are she's done it before too. Report it to Google also, so they don't include your stolen post on her blog in their search results. This stuff makes me mad, and the fact that she was so arrogant about it (you should be flattered?!) Gimme a break!
~Dawn @5kidsandadog.com

Ashley sprinkle said...

Oh my goodness! There is so much negativity and hatefulness. It really seems like everyone should lighten up a little.