“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” Welcome to the 21st century, where we outright copy for personal gain!


Let’s imagine the following scenario: You’re browsing on your computer and open a few portals or blogs to check out the news and hopefully stumble upon some inquisitive content. You read through an article and find it surprisingly familiar. For a moment you cannot quite put your finger on it and start thinking where you saw those exact same words last time.  Suddenly, you realize it is the article you wrote yesterday morning on your own blog. You spent a lot of time and effort researching, writing and editing. After posting it, someone just transferred your content to their own blog.

Charles Caleb Colton, a British writer of the early 19th century, said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Obviously, times have changed. Some of today’s “copy cats” plagiarize to benefit themselves. They don’t value intellectual work as the author’s property and also don’t recognize that it takes thoughtful and precise work to deserve success.

This problem discourages content creators out there to come up with own content – which in turn restricts creativity and originality. I have personally experienced this agitation, which was the main motive for me to join PlagScan in the battle against plagiarism.

Let me get right to the story. The representations are in my native language – Macedonian, but no worries, the graphics are not the focus here.

Original post screenshots - Utopija.Mk

Original post screenshots – Utopija.Mk

I run a satirical news website, mainly focusing on the political situation of my native country. While analyzing my website traffic analytics, I found out that a significant amount of visitors came from a different website, which was unusual – knowing that my visitors are mainly coming from social media websites or directly from Google search.

Screenshots of some of the plagiarized articles.

Screenshots of some of the plagiarized articles.

One would think that the “author” of the other article would include an appropriate reference to the original source. But no. I had placed captions on the post images with my domain name, which caused some curious people investigating them. After all, they found my website. This small detail helped me to learn what has happened. I found that dozens of my articles were used on this website, without giving a proper credit. Even worse, the website marked my work as their original content and defended them by copyright infringement laws.

Conversation with the owner of the plagiarized blog.

Conversation with the owner of the plagiarized blog.

To make things even worse, after trying to resolve this issue with the owner of the blog, he offended me and argued with me in a refined way. He wrote: “I am not registered in your country. I do not care about you, my website is bigger than yours, stop bothering me.”

What could one do in this kind of situation? I shared our “conversation” on social media where the story got viral. After that I found the articles properly marked and referenced. Disappointingly, the person only referenced the articles he plagiarized from me and not from the other authors out there. Do we really have to go through this process every time someone steals from us, only to receive partial justice? What would you have done in a situation like that? Have you experienced a situation similar to this one?

 

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