By in Writing

Hey! Don’t Copy That, It’s Mine!

Yesterday several of us had a whole big discussion about people downloading photos for their own use. I just read a post from AngelSharum about Fair Use Laws. While copyright laws can be confusing, there is no confusion about something belonging to you or not. If it’s not yours, you can’t just take it.

It happens all the time to writers. The weirdest one I ever had stolen was an article I wrote about my neighbor’s disabled dog. I found it on this woman’s blog and she claimed to be the writer. I immediately commented on it, stating that I was the actual writer of that article and to please remove it. Of course comments were moderated so no one ever got to see it but the plagiarizer

Well, I told my neighbor about it and gave him the link. He left her a comment stating that it was a very nice article, except she did not write it. He even stated that he was the neighbor in the article and it was his dog being talked about. He told her she was a thief and it was too bad she had to steal…and ended with, “Here’s a thought…try writing your own stuff instead of stealing.”

She took my article down in a hurry. When you write or post photos on the internet, you run the risk of someone stealing your work. I use the word stealing because that’s exactly what it is. The second you create something, be it a photograph or a written article, it is copyrighted to you.

You wouldn’t sit by and watch someone steal your car, right? And you certainly wouldn’t just get in someone’s car and drive off just because you liked it, or needed it, right? It is really the same thing on the internet. Guard your work and don’t take someone else’s. It’s as simple as that.

+stealing / +copyright / +plagiarism

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Mirajane wrote on November 10, 2014, 9:11 AM

That's right, it will be good if you will be voicing out your claim when someone steal/plagiarize your work

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 10, 2014, 10:43 AM

Yes plagiarizers need to know that a writer, photographer or artist will do all they can to stop them. Some people really just do not know that they can't just copy and take something.

iwrite28 wrote on November 10, 2014, 10:54 AM

You are lucky to have found the article and could take action against it. The virtual world is so vast that it could even have gone unnoticed -- which is probably what the woman was counting on.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 10, 2014, 11:17 AM

Yes, my jaw fell open when I found it. It's like, "hey I wrote that!" I am sure out of the hundreds of articles I have online, someone has scampered off with some of them, never to be found. It's such a shame.

inertia4 wrote on November 10, 2014, 11:30 AM

Donna_Thacker You are so right. I have seen this happen time and again. Only I never saw any of my content being used by anyone. And if it were, I probably couldn't find it. If I ever did, that would bother me to no end. And I would stop at nothing to fight for my content. There are sites however, that let us use public domain photos. That would be the best best for that. But for written content, well, that is a different animals. Unless someone give total permission, no one should steal anyones content, whether it be the written word, photos or music.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 10, 2014, 11:36 AM

Yes I always search public domain and free usage places for any photos I use for articles. I am very careful to make sure I have permission to use them. I am even registered on many websites as "press" to be allowed into private areas for press photos. Some people just assume that because it's there on their computer screen, they can just hit that download button.

inertia4 wrote on November 10, 2014, 11:45 AM

Donna_Thacker The logos I use on my posts are mine, well, created by me. But I created them on Cool-Text and Flaming Text. I credit both sites for that on all my posts.

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 12:03 PM

I am actually on hold with the copyright office right now. I figured I'd call and get an answer about photos directly from them.

AliCanary wrote on November 10, 2014, 12:52 PM

This is why I sometimes get very aggravated and fed up about writing online--my stuff gets stolen constantly. It's better to do ghostwriting, when one can find an assignment. Let the person who laid claim to my work try to protect it.

Kasman wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:46 PM

The problem is you can't take any action against copyright theft or plagiarism unless you know about it. You can put all the copyright notices you like on your work but a dishonest person (or someone who is simply ignorant of the law) won't take a blind bit of notice - they will still take what isn't theirs. I don't know the answer to this but it won't stop me posting images or anything else online. BTW if there is an image you particularly want to protect then you should register it with the appropriate copyright office (for your country) but it isn't cheap (fees start at $35). This is one of the US Copyright Office sites and is a goldmine of practical information about copyright: one

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 10, 2014, 5:52 PM

Good idea Angel. Let us all know what you find out. I sure would be interested as to what they have to say about it all.

melody23 wrote on November 10, 2014, 5:56 PM

I have had a few of my articles stolen over the years including one that was actually stolen almost by accident. This company who makes mobility aids hired someone to write their website copy and clearly didn't check the work the person did because under a title that had something to do with buying wheelchairs was my article - all about something in no way related to wheelchairs. I cant remember what the article was about but I do remember thinking it was an absolutely ridiculous article to put under a wheelchair related title. I contacted the site directly and told them I was the owner and if they wanted to purchase the article they could, but they couldn't use it without paying me, and I did point out that it seemed an odd article for them to have used. They emailed me back saying they had taken their whole website down because whoever they hired to write the copy had just stolen random stuff from random websites and none of it matched the titles or even the topic. They then said that they thought my non-wheelchair related article was great and would I be interested in writing a wheelchair-related one for them. So I got a load of plagiarised content removed from a site, a plagiariser caught and a job out of it!

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 6:44 PM

I see you found the article where I posted what I found out.

Feisty56 wrote on November 10, 2014, 10:31 PM

I would never think of taking someone else's thoughts/words and using them as my own. In the early days of the Internet, for some reason, I didn't think the same way about photos. Of course, I do now and have for many years, but why words occurred to me but not photos as plagiarism still has me baffled.

devil.angel wrote on November 11, 2014, 2:36 AM

Yeah I did learn that on a similar writing site where pictures were allowed only from free to use sites.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 11, 2014, 11:01 PM

I've never understood the point of plagiarism. By the time you go to all the work of researching something to steal, you could have just written something yourself. Maybe in a few instances, it might be about quality of content, but in most of the cases I have seen, quality clearly wasn't what the plagiarizer was looking for.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 12, 2014, 9:41 AM

A silver lining! That's an interesting way to get a job for sure. It is a pain to chase down stolen articles and spend all the time to make web sites take them down but your example goes to show it is worth it.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 12, 2014, 9:44 AM

Many people do not realize that you can't just take a photo either. Most writing sites state it over and over and even give a list of sites that are allowable to use. I see photos on articles all the time that should not have been used and just shake my head.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 12, 2014, 9:45 AM

My guess is that some folks are just out to earn a quick buck. I think they figure they will make a bit of money before they get caught. When they are asked to remove a certain article, they just snatch another to replace it.

melody23 wrote on November 12, 2014, 10:19 AM

I usually don't bother looking for individual articles of mine because it would take forever but I do occasionally google my name in quotes or my username on different sites like this 'melody23' this will bring up everything with that name attached to it and you can easily see if there is a post on a site you are not familiar with. The only reason I caught this particular guy was because he was stupid enough to copy the whole article, including the bit at the bottom that said something like 'read more from this author' and had my name on it.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 12, 2014, 10:23 AM

Yeah I don't spend time searching either but occasionally do snoop around. I have Google Alerts set for my name too. I don't even remember how I found that particular article. I was doing research on something and it popped up, I think.

LoudMan wrote on November 13, 2014, 10:55 AM

Give them the impression you're not worth stealing from. I rather like the idea that some plagiarist somewhere might consider me too crazy.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 13, 2014, 11:15 AM

Ha!Ha! Donald, maybe that's why I haven't found a lot of mine stolen. Either my articles are not good enough or they don't want this crazy lady coming after them!

LoudMan wrote on November 13, 2014, 4:15 PM

I know it's not the former. Maybe the latter, I dunno. :)