It's unfortunate that I had to interrupt my blogging break for this. But, yes. My words were violated… stolen from my blog… and posted on someone else’s blog as though they were their words. Plagiarism is a plague… a disease… and it is more prevalent than you can imagine.
I recall… just a few weeks ago… when Rick Moore from The Writer and the White Cat was blogging about the plagiarist who was stealing his work. I remember reading his words and thinking, He’s very very very angry. And he has every right! I remember, also, wondering to myself how I would feel if the same happened to me, and acknowledging that I would be equally angry.
Imagine my face when I went to my computer yesterday morning, logged in, went to see about emails and such, and found myself with a fishy feeling in my gut. My gut feelings are never wrong. Something inside me told me to randomly check on some of my work. And I started to do that… found something that looked odd on a search… clicked on a person’s blog… a person I had been reading on and off for a while… while thinking to myself that this writing lacks voice. Those of us who write know about voice. We know that every writer has an unmistakable writing identity… and we also know that if that voice is missing… this is not a true writer.
I found myself looking at my words on that blog, and my initial reaction was shock! How dare!!! That’s my poem! And I immediately remembered Rick, and his agony, and his anger. And I got ANGRY!!! I said I was taking a blogging break, but I didn’t say I was going to be dead while doing that. I have to protect what’s mine, so I watch what’s mine.
Please click on the screenshot to see the full image, including my poem posted on her blog, and my two comments to her immediately following my discovery:
My poem, Supplication, was published on my blog on January 10, 2010. You can still find it there, in my archives, along with all of your and my comments, with dates and times.
Over the course of the day, I tried to sort through my feelings about the whole incident. And my overwhelming emotion was pity. Pity is one of those unfortunate emotions, but it overshadowed all other emotions… even the anger. I felt pity for this person. Because those who feel they must steal what belongs to another in order to feel complete… never feel complete. She didn’t even bother to take the time to change the title. That was my supplication, felt by me, bled through my heart and my fingertips, and no one will take it away from me. If you want to post my work on your site, please ask me first… and credit me if I say it’s okay.
In National Poetry Month, Khaled from Khaled KEM asked me if he could publish one of my poems on his site. Of course, I’d be honored, I said. A few months ago, Owen from Magic Lantern Show posted some photos that made my mind spin, and I left him a comment that I was “stealing” his photos, though I had no intention of posting them anywhere. He said, Sure, I’ll send you the originals by email. A few weeks back, when Rick was blogging about his plagiarism issue, he published a post titled “How to Catch a Plagiarist” with invaluable information for any writer. I copied and pasted the entire post onto a Word document so I could have easy access to the links, but not before asking Rick. This is the right thing to do. We all come across artistic expression or other media that we admire. Every so often I read something and I think to myself, I wish I’d written that! But do I help myself to it and post it on my site as mine? Never. The English language is rich with words… both beautiful and despicable… and the combinations are simply endless.
Anyhow, the plagiarist didn’t remove the post as I requested. I asked politely, and issued a warning, but I got no response. And so, I filed a complaint to Google. She went through my archives that diligently and... I suppose I should’ve been flattered. After all, “Imitation is the sincerest flattery." But then, I really wasn’t flattered at all; I was disgusted. People who write don’t just sit there and catch downpours of words and ideas and put them on paper. It’s a tough and demanding and taxing and grueling process. But she wouldn’t know that. And someone who doesn’t write thinks she can invite herself over to my blog and copy and paste my words right on to her blog and then say Posted by So-and-So. But... if you try to steal my words, I will find you, even if it takes forever.
And that’s all I’m saying about that… because… I think I’ve said enough.