All right kiddies, settle down, I’m going to tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a business owner. This business owner had a website and spent lots of time and effort crafting the words she placed there. She spent time and effort because she cared for her business and wanted to make a good impression on the visitors to her site. She hoped she would communicate her philosophy on doing web design and marketing. And she did.
Then one day something happened. Her words showed up on someone else’s website, pretty much verbatim. The words weren’t there with permission. In fact the only thing changed was the city location and the contact phone number. When she saw this, she felt sick. Then she scrolled down the page and found that the “author” of this page was someone she was acquainted with and someone she had actually done work for in the not too distant past.
This made her feel sick, sad, enraged and a little bit pissed off. And so she tweeted.
Just found out an acquaintance plagiarized my content on her site. #wtf I feel a post coming on.
— Lisa Brown (@bunltd) October 17, 2014
In case you didn’t hadn’t figured it out yet, that business owner is me. And the page that was plagiarized is over here on BUnlimited.com which is the business I started in 1996. I’ve had my home page and other content copied many times over the years by less than scrupulous folks but this is the first time I’ve had it done by someone I have worked with, talked to and actually knew. Yes, I actually know this person. Can you believe it?!
At first, I wasn’t sure how I should respond. Do I send take down notices to the hosting company where her site is hosted? Should I reach out Facebook to this person who is a “Facebook friend” but clearly not a friend? Do I publicly out the person and the site? While you think about that, lets look at the content in question.
Cut and Paste Gone Wild?
Here’s images, side by side showing my content on my site compared with the stolen content on this other site.
First up: the culprit.
And now from my website, with the copied areas in boxes. (chuckling at myself, I’ve been in business for 18 years at the time of this post)
The yellow highlight shows the parts that were copied verbatim from my site. There’s a whole lot of yellow going on.
This content has been in similar form on my home page for over ten years. Check archive.org, you’ll see it there, they don’t call it the Way Back machine for nothing.
This person registered her domain and started her site around the last time I worked with her, in 2011. Sigh.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Colton
You know what they say but it sure doesn’t feel like flattery to me, it feels wrong, and you know what? It is wrong.
So I’ve decided that for now, I’m not going to out the person and site in question. However, I did decide that I’d share the link to this post with them. I’ll update this post with how this goes.
So How Does This Story End?
Only time will tell how this story ends. I’m in a wait and see mode for the moment. Question for you, have you had your content copied or plagiarized? How did you handle it and how did it make you feel?