Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Content Was Stolen. So What?

A few days ago, I was alerted by a great blogging friend that my blog content had been stolen when she tweeted me a link to this blog post:

Auntie Spinelli Reads - Plagiarism Sucks

I clicked over, read the post, and found that my thoughts on Exiled by M.R. Merrick had been plagiarized.

At the same time I realized this, I immediately had two thoughts.
1) Oh, great. Another stupid book blogger scandal. DRAMA!
2) WAIT, WHAT? MY THOUGHTS? Why would somebody take my thoughts? Who in the world thinks like me anyway? My blog posts are all over the place. They're weird and funky and WHO WOULD TAKE MY THOUGHTS?

You guys, over the past couple of days, I've had all sorts of emotions about this issue. Perhaps that is dumb and stupid and slightly melodramatic, but I have. I've ranged from sadness and anger to back to sadness again. And confusion.

See, I do this blog as a hobby - like you all do. (insert smiley face here) Like you all, it takes a ton of time. Some money. But I do it happily. I LOVE THIS THING. I take a ton of pride in it. It is my thing. My joy! I read to escape the craziness of life and at the end of the day, I look at the fun I have and the community we have and the thing that I do and I think AAAH THIS IS GOOD. There is nothing better than talking books with other people, y'all. And the blog drives that for me - it helps me develop those relationships that go beyond the blog, and those that stay on the blog, and so on. This blog and everything on it are mine mine mine. My heart goes into it, silly as it seems.

In the past, when this same issue has happened, it was always someone else's problem with me having my own little opinion about it. I've stayed out of the drama but I've certainly seen the effects of it. This time, though, it has involved me whether I wanted it to or not, and the stolen thoughts are M-I-N-E, mine. 


The content taken was not plentiful in quantity. 
But we can all agree that that is not the point. 

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Today - without getting any deeper in this dumb drama - I'm going to share a couple of thoughts with you:

1. I would have NEVER EVER KNOWN about this had my friend not seen the blog post from the other blog that I linked up above. Also, my friend could have just read it and gone on about her day, but she did not. She chose to ask me had *I* seen it, and then forward it to me. Thank you friend! Seriously. I appreciate it. You are awesome.

The truth is that we can never know who is stealing our content. I randomly check for stolen content often, but I missed this - I suspect because it was fairly recent. We can put the Copyrights on our blogs. But we still can never really know.

In this case, when I looked at the cached blog post from the other blogger, it took me a while to pick out the words that were mine. In fact, I had to compare it to my original post to be sure. Of course, the other blogger had changed it so it looked different (I had an underlined sentence) - but the words were still the same. It looked different to the eye, but the words were still mine. It was a direct copy-and-paste, except she removed the underline. (You should see the look on my face right now. It FEELS smarmy. I can't imagine how it looks.)


You guys, I wouldn't always know when my content shows up on another blog. It might sound similar, but I wouldn't necessarily know. NOW, if they used some of my melodramatic-crazy ALLCAPS, bold-faces, and italics, I might would know. But then again, using ANY part of another person's content is stupid. Period.

Also, every person does not follow every blog. What are the chances that you'd know if you're being ripped off?

2. The so-called controversy (which I missed, as always) - I presume - stems from how the co-bloggers handled the situation once they were called out. All of this happened before I found out about it, outside of my knowledge. I am unconcerned with petty drama. BUT BUT BUT I have since read published emails exchanged between involved parties, and it is quite enraging how the guilty party and the co-blogger handled the situation, but like I said - it was handled outside of my involvement in the situation.

*I have tried contacting a couple of people that were involved in this directly, in-real-time to find out more information. Not one soul has responded to me. No one.

What I mean is this: I HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY TYPE OF APOLOGY, NO CONTACT, NO EMAIL, NO INFORMATION, ANYTHING. So, basically, as I mentioned above, this entire thing could have been swept under the rug and I would have never known about it. 


At this point - it's okay, really. I don't want any apologies or contact at this point since I apparently am not going to receive any anyway. I just want them to not bother me. At all. And I want for them to stay off of my blog and my Goodreads profile. Serious, fun readers are welcome, of course. I'd love to discuss books with everyone, but I encourage everyone to have their own thoughts about them.

3. Bloggers/Goodreads reviewers: Use your own thoughts. Write your own stuff before you read the thoughts of anyone else. And for everything that is holy, don't cut and paste unless you plan to credit the hell out of your source. If you think for a second you may have been inspired by someone else's thoughts or ideas - credit that person as well. It's super simple. It prevents problems later. Hurt feelings. Twitter drama. Controversy. Stupidity. All that jazz. 



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So, then, Asheley - WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR POINT? You've made this blog post and thrown it up here for the world to see! Plagiarism is stupid and no one wants to hear about it anymore. Bloggers get plagiarized - get over it! Right? RIGHT? Well, yeah, that's kind of my thought. Except I'm not over it. I get pissed every time it happens. Because it is dumb.

Here's what I'm thinking. I didn't choose to be in this idiotic mess. I am not a child and I don't like acting like one. I don't like book blogger drama. It is a privilege to me to be able to be a part of this community that I love and adore and cherish so much. It is a privilege to be able to interact with authors that I respect and admire so much for their creativity and their imaginations and their hard work. 

SO...I can't help that I was brought into something so dumb. But I can twist it and spin it my way. I can make it end up - FOR ME - the way I want it to.

My blog post on M.R. Merrick's awesome book Exiled was plagiarized. It wasn't a ton of content - only a teeny tiny little bit. I'm just dropping the name of the book here again because I hope to shed a little more light on this series, because it is a winner. What was meant for bad, I'm gonna use for good. That's it. I'm ending my thoughts on a positive note.


The Protector Series by M.R. Merrick
Exiled, Shift, Release

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There is no POSITIVE to PLAGIARISM. 
However...at least the thief chose a book that I loved
and I am very happy to highlight on my blog today.

THAT is how I choose to spin this story.

I don't want any stupid drama.
I want out of it.

25 comments:

  1. You are one classy lady and have a new follower in me.

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    1. I second this! I'm sorry this happened to you and I agree that it's just dumb. Obviously someone who plagiarizes is not invested in book blogging because they don't even use their own words. (What's so good blogging when you have NO WORDS of your own?!) And I'm glad I'm not that person. It's just too bad they hurt other people by not having their own words. I did love how you gave a positive twist to the subject!

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  2. I will never understand the point of stealing someone's thoughts, especially in blogging. why blog then?

    agreed, it's very stupid. Sorry to see that you had this happen, but it just means your reviews are fly! fly enough to be stolen. So rock that shit lady! lol

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  3. Honestly, if you love reading and if you love book blogging, I don't see why it is so difficult to come up with reviews. You do these things (at least most of us do) because you LOVE them.

    Anyway, I really like this post. Good for you for deciding to use it in a positive way! And I'm sorry you got plagiarized :(

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  4. Dear Asheley,

    I love you and your thoughts. Nicole nailed it correctly by called you "one classy lady". I couldn't agree more.

    Love,
    Ash

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  5. I'm sorry this happened to you my friend.

    But I love that you chose to end this on a positive note and to highlight the book that you reviewed (and was later plagiarized.) I love that you chose to RISE ABOVE all the CRAP. That's why I read your blog and why I value you and your opinions so much:)

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  6. I love you, Asheley. I'm so enraged that this has happened yet again, particularly that friends of mine have been brought into it, but I'm also so proud of the way you have chosen to handle this. You're right, it's so easy to miss, and I'm SO happy that someone pointed this out to you. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that no apology has been issued, and likely will not be. I love that you've found a way to stay out of the drama while still vocalizing your thoughts and using it for what good you can. This SUCKS, but you are wonderful. <3

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  7. Great post. I also was one of the people who got plagiarized, and like you wouldn't have known. I haven't gotten an apology either, but at this point I don't want one. I just wish it hadn't happened in the first place and that they had handled it better. I thought about doing a post, but instead I mentioned it in my vlog on Sunday.
    It makes me so upset that we spend so much time on our reviews just to have people take them or parts of them. One of the paragraphs on mine literally was exactly the same with the exception of them changing "nook" to "kindle". I hate when things like this happen and I don't like being involved and try to stay out of it, but it's hard to when it actually happens to you and other bloggers who are your friends. I'm so sorry that this happened to you too. Hugs from one victim to another.

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  8. Well said. I would like to say I would do something similar in the same situation, but I am not sure I would have thought of it. BUT now, having seen this, if it does happen, I will have a classier way of handling it.

    Thank you for being fantabulous.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. My original comment was not classy enough to be part of this post, so I deleted it.

      Well said. You're one strong, gracious woman. I would be a ranting mess if this happened to me.

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  10. Asheley, I don't think anyone could have handled this as well as you did. It's INFURIATING that people do it in the first place, and one always hopes that other bloggers would WANT to be original and would WANT to let other people have their own thoughts and not steal them. Alas. I feel like there is some kind of weird pressure that bloggers feel to always be posting, even when they don't have the energy or the time or the inclination. SERIOUSLY, it's ok to NOT POST if you can't think of anything of your own to say. Truly.
    But anyway, back to YOU and your awesome, "funky and weird" posts. I adore them. They make me feel like I know you just a little bit even though I don't really know you terribly well at all. And that is something that so special and spectacular and I love it. I'm so sorry that someone tried to take your unique "all over the place" thoughts and claim them as their own. THERE'S ONLY ONE ASHELEY, Y'ALL and SHE is the bomb.

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  11. I am constantly amazed at the grace you have for others. I also hope this never happens to you again. And I think you are an amazing blogger with a very distinct voice.

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  12. Wow. I'm so sorry for you and the other bloggers that had to go through this! I can't even imagine how I would feel in the same situation. I love that, despite the very negative experience, you still put a positive spin on it by promoting a book you loved. You are such an upbeat & lovely lady, Asheley!

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  13. Ugh, I'm so sorry this happened to you, lady! I've never really gotten why people plagiarize blogs. What's the point of having a blog if it isn't about your own thoughts??? I really don't get it with book blogs. If you are a book blogger, I would think that it is a logical leap that you love the written word and understand its power, no? I would hope that with our mutual love of words, we would all be able to respect each other's words. Sigh... I keep hoping that every plagiarism issue in the book blogosphere will be the last but I'm starting to lose hope...

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  14. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hate it when it happens period, but to see it happen to a friend...

    I'll echo what everyone else has said here: you've handled this in a very classy way. Kudos to you! (and hugs)

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  15. Holy shit. I'm so damn proud of this blog post, I want to cry. Seriously, you are incomparable, Asheley.

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  16. I'm sorry that this happened to you! Plagiarism does suck and it's even worse that it can be difficult to resolve anything. I think the best solution to this is definitely general awareness and that the blogger community looks out for one another. I hope that you can get past all of this - I love reading your reviews. And I hope you never have to deal with something like this again.

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  17. Elegant recovery and response to someone else's jerk move. Well done.

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  18. It's very frustrating. I came across a story that I'd published in Chicken Soup for the Soul on a blog in an Eastern European country. Most of the site wasn't in English (although the story was) so it took me a while to figure out how to leave a comment. Again, no apology. It's a shame they didn't at least give you credit and a link to your blog.
    Ann

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  19. Asheley, you are one classy lady. You could of ended this post on a bad note and I wouldn't have thought anything of it because heck, you were plagiarized. But no, that just isn't you. You wrapped this not-so nice post up on a good note, leading it right back to what started it all - your amazing review for a book you love and support. It so sucks you got plagarized and I'm sorry. It must be horrible to find out someone stole something you worked hard on but you should be so very proud of how you handled yourself and this post - if only more people were as amazing and classy as you. I'm in awe and wish it were possible to give you a big hug through my computer.

    You're amazing and don't you forget. ♥

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  20. Asheley, I'm so so so sorry to hear this happened to you. I don't really know why a blogger would risk stealing the work of others. Blogging is about voice and style, and when I'm here, I know how much time and effort to put something genuine out for us all to read.

    If people have the balls to steal, they should also have the balls to apologize to you and not shrink away like a coward. I'm truly disgusted.

    There is absolutely NO excuse for copying. None at all. I have zero tolerance for it.

    You are a great blogger, great reader, and book pal and don't you forget it. I know you will just rise above this act, and soon it will just be a blip.

    xo

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  21. You're so patient and compassionate. If it were me, I'd be pissed as hell and ranting to the ends of the earth. At least, at first.

    I could hope for some sort of understanding or clarity like you received through your processing, but I don't know that I'd ever get it.

    I am angry on your behalf. I am angry that they did this in the first place and have made no effort to apologize or make up for their actions or even explain them. I am angry that this sort of thing happens to people every day, but particularly to bloggers of integrity like you.

    You handled this with grace and forgiveness and for that I am so impressed with you.

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  22. Nicely done. I hate drama too. Sorry this happened. New follower!

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  23. First of all, I agree with everyone who has previously commented and completely agree that you are one classy lady. Seriously.

    I'm so mad for you that this happened! I love your gracious response - such an admirable one. But I know it still sucks and it probably still makes you a little angry, and I hate that this happened to someone who puts so much thought, passion and joy into her posts. Your posts are some of my absolute favorites to read. From the feelings to the formatting, they are so YOU. And so I hate that in copying your words, someone tried to steal your voice. It will never make sense how someone justifies that. But I love that you wrote this post and used your words for good.

    There is just so much to love about you and your blog!

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