Plagiarism – I hate a thief, but I despise a liar

I haven’t been singing since I figured out how to record, and heard myself.  What happened?  System crash, meltdown.  I decided not to resist, to just let it be.  Didn’t want to sing, didn’t want to be clever and brave and figure out what was wrong so I could move on.   I just wanted to let go.   So I did, wondering if I’d ever want to sing again, wondering if my dream was just an illusion.

This morning I found myself humming a tune.  Ha.  It works.  Plus I’ve done what I have to do to upload audio to my blog, so it should work tomorrow.  Tomorrow I’ll read my first audio blog.   I’ll going to listen to myself singing again today, without the pressure to be anything.  Sometimes you have to go awol.   You have to risk letting go of what you love.

But I digress from the topic of this blog.  I read an article the other day, and got to a paragraph that sound remarkably familiar.  Why?  Because I’d bloody written it.  Now here’s the thing: when somebody quotes you and acknowledges you, what a great stroke.  Plus you know that when other people read that quote they’re impressed, probably more than if they read you directly.

Some weird kind of cultural imperative about don’t brag about yourself, because that’s narcissism.  Let somebody else do it because that’s selflessness.  Well, that’s not all there is to it, let’s not get too cynical here.  It’s really a great compliment when somebody acknowledges you in that way.

But when somebody does a very smooth and clever little copy and paste from your article or wherever you wrote into their article, with not a quotation mark or acknowledgment in sight, then bloody hell, that feels like a knife in the back.  I think there’s even a law against it, not so?  One that isn’t protected by international boundaries?  Copyright is taken rather seriously and for a rather good reason, I’d say.

Did I rant and rave and set my attorney dogs on the author?  Perhaps if I’d had attorney dogs I might have, but some voice in me said don’t be a bitch, so I chose instead to send a little note: “I recognized something you included in your article as something I had written  – perhaps you forgot to include quotation marks?”.  Her reply?  “I didn’t forget, and my copy did have the quotation marks, I promise you, but the editing facility must have erased them somehow.”  Can you believe it, I thought okay that sounds reasonable, and sent her a friendly reply.

Why wasn’t I settled down?  Mental head slap.  What’s wrong with me? I realized – well, the editing facility couldn’t have also erased her acknowledgment that I wrote the damn words.  So I wrote another note, “please acknowledge that I’m the author and use my full name”.  Her reply “Sure.  Remind me which article it was?”

That’s when all communication between us ceased.  This writer calls herself a minister.   Hmmm.  I call her a thief.  And not a very clever one.   She knows I read her articles, because I comment on them, and I’m well known in that writers’ community.  So now the devil in me is having a chuckle.  Because thanks to freedom of speech, I can post this article for everybody to read.

Thieves of this sort?  I hate them.  It’s not as if she stole from me because she’s in desperate need.  That I could understand and have empathy for.  But this is somebody who preaches of her deep spirituality and love of humanity.  First she steals, then lies to cover her tracks.  Eugh.  I wonder if she realizes that her lie, far from proving her innocence, actually confirmed her guilt!

In general, this blog is about the pursuit of dreams.  Mine are to establish myself as a vocalist, script & blog writer & novelist, & to earn by doing something meaningful.  I need help with some things.  Click here to read more about my dreams and what I need.


4 thoughts on “Plagiarism – I hate a thief, but I despise a liar

  1. People never seem to grasp the fact that they will ALWAYS be caught out in a lie. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow – but it will be sometime soon!

  2. That’s a shocking revelation! I wonder if my guess is right…Sure wish I had the passage you say is plagiarized, I’m nosy that way…

    There is another form of plagiary, and that is of ideas. For example, let’s take Garrison Keillor’s down home parody of life in Minnesota, the famous Lake Woebegone Days, with its comic references to fictitious people and events, which Keillor satirizes on his weekly radio show, A Prairie home Companion. Anybody who has ever heard this show should easily recognize its misappropriation when a writer decides to take the basic them and simply give it new names and geography, and, voila! Instant story. That is precisely what I sense one writer has done, and why I have consistently given this person a “1” star rating. Better to be boring than unoriginal.

    • Greg, I didn’t see your comment until now, sorry. I’m sure your guess is right. As to the other form of plagiary; I suppose it’s one thing being inspired and influenced by somebody’s ideas, but downright copying them is a cheap trick….

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