Plagiarists Blog Off!

Our blog hit 2 rather dubious milestones this week. Both occurred yesterday when someone was good enough to post our blog peice about the SMEI event with links and all. We love link love here at Out-Smarts and we are always glad to share as long as blog etiquette is followed.

In this case it wasn’t, the post, on a site that had little or no original content, even credited our article to someone else!

They referred to it as a great article – thanks but next time please GET IT RIGHT:

  • If you’re not sure of the author don’t include fake or false info.
  • If in doubt about the source – DON’T post it.
  • Always credit the true author and include a link back to the original article.
  • Be aware that the Internet by its nature is very transparent – if plagiarism is your game then chances are you’ll get caught out sooner or later.

So in fine Monica Hamburg fashion – we set to correcting the situation with a well worded comment demanding the error be corrected. Which brings us to the second milestone, our first abusive email following a post that was full of profanity and bluster.

Thankfully the post has since been removed and I won’t give them them the satisfaction of linking to the site.

I’ve already had some feedback from some of my friends on Facebook as to how to deal with this and what I can do to counter both plagiarism and abusive emails but I would be interested in your advice too. What should I do next? What have you done that has worked for you and what can bloggers do to mitigate the risks of putting their good words out there?


  1. Much like pet ownership there are no rules for blogging. In a quest to keep a blog current, folks will try–or steal–just about anything. The hell of it, linking can accomplish the same thing and extend the discussion. About the only thing one can do is to ask for credit or the info be removed. Personally, I would probably publish the incident and the response. Calling a coward–or plagiarist– out usually results in setting the tone for now and in the future.

    I find that these people usually don’t last long as if made a practice, folks much less forgiving than you will make their life a misery. And once that happens, the blog usually disappears.

    The one good thing about the internet is that it keeps these mooks off the street. The bad thing is it gives them a voice. Hopefully as blogging and SM gains traction, it will self police.

    Happened with chatrooms and message boards, so confidence remains high.

    Remain an advocate. And take no prisoners…

  2. Ok, there’s a lot to talk about here so I’ll jump right in.

    When you talk about what to do next, I’ll assume you’re talking about if the person had not removed the work. With the post gone you can’t do much other than laugh at the reply they sent.

    If they hadn’t removed the post, the next step would have been to file a DMCA notice with the host and get them to remove it for you. A DMCA notice works with hosts in the U.S. and hosts in the EU, Australia and elsewhere have similar laws. It requires hosts to remove infringing material or, potentially, be held liable for the infringement.

    Needless to say, hosts are very responsive to that.

    If you need, you can find stock letters on my site.

    If that had failed, you could try a similar tact but get the site deindexed from the search engines with the same method. That almost always is a success.

    As far as ways to guard against that type of abuse. There are many but without knowing the details of the case it is hard to give a good solution for it.

    Since most of the content theft involves RSS feeds, there are many good plugins that can help RSS scraping including plugins to add digital fingerprints for copy tracking, plugins to redirect scrapers to a false feed and everything in between.

    Regarding hand content theft, your best bet is still Google and Google Alerts. But there are new tools coming down the pipe soon. Stay tuned.

    In the meantime, try using Copyscape or Bitscan to see if they can find copies of your work. Both are at least fairly effective at tracking down plagiarists.

    Hope that this helps and let me know if there is anything I can do!

  3. Pingback: M. Thomas Eisenstadt’s Blog » Blog Archive » Eliot Spitzer Plagiarizes in Resignation Speech

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