Is blog plagiarism now just customary?
April 8, 2006 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Can or should I bother to bust a blogspot blogger for blatant plagiarism?

I found a old blog entry where some dope posted an entire David Sedaris story as her own, changing so few words--the title of the story (the youth in asia) is the same for chrissake! Can anything be done? Stealing creative works rankles me. I'm unfamiliar with blogspot, and blogging in general. Is there such a thing as a cross-site pile-on? Or is this kind of thing so common that I should just get over myself and go take a walk?
posted by tula to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Yeah, that's not cool. Quickest way to get someone's attention would be to email the permissions dept at Time Warner (who owns Little, Brown & Co, who publishes Sedaris).

If she is reprinting the story and crediting Sedaris, although this is against copyright law, I'd let it slide. But actually taking credit for it? I'd want someone to call it out if I was the author.
posted by meerkatty at 2:22 PM on April 8, 2006

No credit is given to Sedaris, and she's added some personal info to mask the story as her own. The blogger is just 23, but she says she's a professional writer (of sitcoms, but still...) in the UK, so I really wanna smack this down so she gets the message.
posted by tula at 2:39 PM on April 8, 2006

Link it here, we can have at her and then send her this link.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:52 PM on April 8, 2006

I don't know, it seems kind of pointless and mean to try to get her in trouble. Plus, it may be a misunderstanding on your part. Are you sure she's passing it off as her own work?
posted by jayder at 3:08 PM on April 8, 2006

David Sedaris is pretty famous so I imagine karma will take care of this one for you. Especially if she really is a professional writer.
posted by fshgrl at 3:08 PM on April 8, 2006

...or maybe someone on MetaFilter is so bored they will track down the blog and post the address here.

posted by LarryC at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2006

At the very least you should post something in the comments so that people reading it are aware. Blogspot has got to have an abuse desk of some form, which would be good to get in contact with.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:25 PM on April 8, 2006

Hahaha, the comments on that blog entry are hilarious. At the top there are a couple of genuine responses, then a whole buttload of comment-spam hawking completely irrelevant sites, and then the callouts (presumably from this thread) begin.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:30 PM on April 8, 2006

Oh, come on. I can understand being annoyed by the plagiarism, and maybe outraged if she won an award for it, or got a lot of traffic for it, or somehow was recognized by a lot of people for excellence in writing, but it's a two year old post on an obscure blog that probably gets a hundred hits a day TOPS, most of which come from its dozen or two contributors.

The most it deserves is a callout on the blog itself.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:50 PM on April 8, 2006

It appears that the blog callout has happened. There are several comments on the entry now.

Let's see if she does the right thing!
posted by drstein at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2006

jarder, she's lifted entire paragraphs, and that's what's mean. I don't have a link to text of the original Sedaris story, but I you can listen him read it from the TAL site, show 154, March 10th, 2000. It's published in Me Talk Pretty One Day, and like hers, called "The Youth in Asia".

On preview, thanks for the assistance. Go AskMeFi justice squad!
posted by tula at 4:07 PM on April 8, 2006

On the archive page, there's a (strangely animated) "Guidelines" list in the sidebar. It not only specifically forbids plagiarism but also requires contributors to openly correct their mistakes. Underneath that part are email links for the blog's two admins. Has anyone alerted them yet?
posted by katieinshoes at 5:11 PM on April 8, 2006

Done, thanks katieinshoes, that's what I was looking for.
posted by tula at 6:11 PM on April 8, 2006

Update: the plagiarized story is removed, the 'writer' has been banned, and a letter of apology is posted. Ah, sweet justice!
posted by tula at 3:22 AM on April 9, 2006

Wow, the hand of justice was swift and righteous in this case.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:55 AM on April 9, 2006

A happy ending! Now can someone show them "a better blog template that will show the contributor's name after each entry"?
posted by languagehat at 6:30 AM on April 9, 2006

Yeah, no kidding.
posted by tula at 9:12 AM on April 9, 2006

Nice to see a happy ending, but other than calling in the MeFi Justice Squad, what should a person do next time?
posted by arcticwoman at 9:51 AM on April 9, 2006

articwoman, just do what we did. Write and email to the admins, as kateinshoes suggested. In this case it went to the admins humananimal, not blogspot, and was backed up by a handful of comments. Easy.
posted by tula at 8:30 AM on April 10, 2006

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