What a difference 24 hours make!
As I write this, it’s 2am, June 15. This time yesterday I read with dismay as someone kindly alerted me to the fact that one of my blog posts, complete with pictures, has been pasted onto another person’s website. Pasted just like that, as if I was a contributor.
And I wasn’t the only one. On that site was content clearly taken from the blogs of other writers, and I had no easy way of contacting the webmaster until I resorted to looking up the url in some nifty domain name search engines out there.
That was later. To be frank the moment I got that email about what happened, I had NO idea what to do. Luckily good friends and two lovely articles from ProBlogger and Lorelle set me to rights (bless you!). Nine hours ago I sent a firm but polite letter to the person’s email. With words like “illegal use” and “clear violation of copyright laws” and so on.
An hour ago, I just noticed my content, and that of the other writers, have been taken down. Nearly all of them gone!
It almost made me wish I had done this sooner. I was too exhausted to do it last night, see, as I had a creative writing class to prepare for the next day. That and after repeated failed attempts to fiddle with the pictures of my plagiarised post in an attempt to not get them to display, I gave up and went to bed at an ungodly hour.
I woke up from a horrible nightmare which now seems terribly amusing when I think about it. I’d dreamt someone had rewritten over everything I had posted as crap, and all the writing I’ve ever done (as this is my second blog) is now gone.
Vanished. Erased. Wiped from existence.
I knew there had to be some kind of subliminal message there. That or I had been watching too many Back to the Future reruns.
When I checked with my writerly friends, many of them gave similar experiences of having been ripped off before. One friend mentions that if it is clear that it’s your post, with a link back to your site, then it should be fine although by rights they should ask!
(In this case they didn’t, nor was there a link).
Another friend says: “I wrote web columns for years. People used to pinch them all the time. Sometimes it was an oversight and they thought it was ok because they’d named me, but sometimes they’d put another name on. It really wound me up.”
It makes me rethink about just careful I have to be about what I post. On one hand as a writer I want to explore how I’m tackling the writing process while chronicling the various pitfalls or triumphs along the way. On the other hand I’m conscious about posting ideas and creative content online for the unscrupulous to pinch.
In the end I decided it should be okay to talk about ideas I’m mulling on. As I’ve said before, everyone has ideas. And chances are, you rarely get one that’s truly original. (Let’s leave the weird ones out of this).
The difference, ultimately, is how you yourself tell the story. No person can ever flesh out an idea the exact same way.
Phew, that was a relief. That episode, however, made me password-protect the poem about my grandmother, however. If anyone’s curious to see it, feel free to ask 🙂