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PLAGIARISM

A awkward encounter:

I have a small, relatively obscure blog that I keep primarily as a writing exercise.  Today I read a very famous website that had content on it that was shockingly similar to mine…the structure was the same, some of the phrases were vanishingly similar.  What should I do?

LISTEN:

I doubt very seriously that some famous blog has lifted your content.  Not knowing what it is, I’m going to pretend it was, say, an etiquette blog, like mine.  I would probably go through the archives and see if there was anything else similar to what I’ve written.  Etiquette isn’t exactly novel, and people being what they are, tend to have similar problems..that, and come on – people read the web like a crack addict smokes a rock, instantly absorbing the drug of it but forgetting where it came from as soon as it goes up in smoke.

But say you do.  Say you read another article that seemed a little too similar…well, I would go to my website’s analytics and search history and check the IP addresses for the visits to the similar article.  If you happen to get a consistent match, then you may want to go ahead and ask that website to either a) Give you credit, b) apologize, and give you credit, or c) pull the article in question, apologize, and give you credit.

That’s the magical thing about plagiarism and computers.  It’s awfully hard to cover your tracks once they’re laid down and you’ve been discovered.  People take screenshots now, instantly, of offending and embarrassing content and post it for all the world to see.

But like I said, it’s probably a silly coincidence.

And an aside note to all the plagiarists out there who are reading an etiquette blog about the perfect gift to give someone to apologize for stealing from them – it’s Champagne (the real stuff), an apology, and credit where credit is due.

Also, you need to quit.

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