Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Plagiarism is Theft

Published

on

I am amazed that I have to write this post but I do have to write it. Plagiarism is when you copy something someone else wrote and use it as your own content without the authors permission. Last night I had some fun with someone who was taking my content via feed and using it for a splog. He is no longer taking my content but continues to take content from all over the country and acts surprised and offended when the owners of the content ask him to stop. It is just an act, he knows that what he is doing.

When I discovered that his blog had several of my photos on it I uploaded some new pictures and gave them the same name as the files he was linking to. The pictures remain in place on my blog because I renamed those files and uploaded them again. The screen print below shows the graphic that was displayed on his splog in place of one of my photos. Easy to do and this one is rather mild compared to some of the others that I uploaded. A great way to have a good time and to make a thief’s blog look bad.

Even though my content is no longer being taken it has been taken before and will be taken again. I guess my anger at this thief is in part because of the photos. They are mine and I admit I almost feel violated when someone takes them.

The thief is still taking content and he will continue to do so and he is a Realtor. He says he is not doing anything wrong and that he is helping us by promoting our blogs.

Some of the people he is stealing from don’t even understand that they are being harmed. He sent me an email saying that he was surprised that I did not want my blog promoted and I could get an extra 20 visits a month through his splog. For one thing I am not going to notice 20 new visits a month, or even an hour for that matter. I never asked for his help and don’t need it and I don’t like seeing my content on a splog. The way he was displaying the content no one would need to visit my blog to read it because he had it all on his splog. The way the link to my blog was displayed most readers would not notice it and would assume the splogger was the author of the content.

People who have splogs and who steal content often use the excuse that they were just trying to help promote the blog that they were stealing from. It is like they all read the same book and say the same things. I think they go to school somewhere to learn how to steal content. Please do not fall for this line of crap. Your content does the most good on your own blog. Yes blogs can be syndicated. St. Paul Real Estate is picked up by some local blogs with my permission. They receive a mini feed via RSS and get an excerpt from my posts and have a link back to my blog. My photos are never included in these feeds.

The Realtor with the splog is using it for lead generation and for selling ads. The content he is stealing is being used for commercial purposes.

I spend a fair amount of time dealing with plagiarism. I start with a cease and desist letter and then I escalate until I get the job done. Sometimes I change a few graphics too. I don’t sit and wait to see what will happen, and I don’t tolerate plagiarism, and you shouldn’t either.

Here is a link to some information on how to stop plagiarism and what it is. Here is a link to some copyright myths. On the Internet content is king. Please do not allow others to steal your content.

*I know my blog isn’t the best in the US but figured I could get in a little advertising 

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Steven

    December 11, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    It saddens me to have to read this. I am pleased that you care enough to share this important information like this. Everyone should know their rights. Thanks for the great links.

    I love your new pictures. “best” is up for debate “Excellent” is for sure.

  2. Shailesh Ghimire

    December 11, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Teresa,

    This is a huge problem these days. There are at least half a dozen blogs that steal my blog content on a regular basis. The first time I discovered it I was peeved. I wrote letters and contacted the host. But to no avail. They sent me huge documents I had to fill out to file a complaint under the DMCA ( Digital Millennium Copyright Act (of 1998).

    I knw Jay Thompson had success with one. Here is his post: https://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com/content-thieving-splog-is-offline/399

    However, the problem is so pervasive and widespread it’s hard for the little guy to fight this thing. I think Benn said it best in one of his posts. Allowing the blogger to reject a subscriber. Until then I don’t have the time to go after these guys.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    December 12, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Shailesh, when blog hosts send me DMCA paperwork, I simply respond that IF I have to fill out a bunch of legal forms, I will need to consult a lawyer, and at that point, I will consider filing a lawsuit against you.

    I always contact the web host. They are the ones who are actually breaking the law. They know they are liable. The sploggers know what they are doing. The web hosts know what a splog is. Threatening action against the host is usually all it takes.

  4. Denver Mortgage

    December 12, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checking service. You just type in your url.

    https://www.copyscape.com/

  5. Robert D. Ashby

    December 12, 2007 at 9:11 am

    I have not caught my blog being plagiarized yet, but my main web site has pages have been plagiarized as has my domain name. I am working with lawyers on some of the cases right now.

    I also agree with Todd in that you can notify the host and they will remove the site quickly as they know they can be held liable for maintaing the site.

  6. Teresa Boardman

    December 12, 2007 at 9:19 am

    I am getting pretty good at handling it. I have also gotten web sites shut down by contacting the hosting company. I had one web site thrown out of the technorati directory and another is no longer able to use a google ad sense account becasue of me. I am just so tired of this all and concerned that there are many in the real estate community that don’t understand how plagiarism hurts them or even what it is.

    It is hard for the little guy to fight becasue she is trying to run a business and does not have time to chase cyber thieves all day. 🙂 heck I’m only five feet tall and I just can’t do it all. 🙂

  7. John Harper

    December 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Love the way you fought back with the pictures. Google is the one that should have a streamlined program in place to weed out the bad guys.

    The could have a flagging system like Craiglist that triggers human review once a site is flagged so many times. If many of the violating sites are coming from the same ISP, Google could bas all content from those servers. Things would change in a hurry.

  8. Teresa Boardman

    December 12, 2007 at 9:43 am

    John – one this that would be very useful is an enhancement to feedburner. I can see who is taking my content by looking at “uncommon uses” if they made it so I could disconnect people it would be harder for them to grab my content via RSS as they so often do.

    As for how I handled it, I blew off a lot of anger on one person because he was so easy to find.

  9. Ryan Hukill

    December 12, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Teresa, as much as I HATE plagiarism, I LOVE what you did with the photos. That has to be the funniest thing I’ve read this week! Great job girl!

  10. Teresa Boardman

    December 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    thanks Ryan, I live to amuse. 🙂

  11. fak3r

    January 2, 2009 at 9:56 am

    This is fun stuff, I too have found this numerous times, more often than not my images are hot linked to MySpace pages. What I’ve done is played with some mod_rewrite rules so that the images display properly on my site, but if the requesting server isn’t my server it serves up a different image (still the same name though), so it’s the best of both worlds.

    Ideally I’d have this set site wide so *any* hot linkers would get some graphic with a link to my site, a tasteless picture, or some political commentary. A simple WordPress plugin that would do the rewriting on the fly according to the referrer would be great. I do like your example above though, help to educate others while promoting your original content. Well done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion Editorials

How Gen X is nailing the COVID-19 social distancing order

(EDITORIAL) Of course, someone found a way to bring up generational stereotyping during COVID-19 and claim who is best, but are they onto something?

Published

on

Demographics and categorizing people helps us to process groups. A huge part of demographics and how we market ourselves in a job search, for example, is sharing our level of experiences and skill sets related to our profession – thus alluding to our age. Millennials (b. 1981-1996) received a lot of generational shame for being elitist and growing up in a time where they all received participation trophies – therefore being judged for not always winning a fair competition.

Gen X (roughly b. 1961-1981) has often commented that they feel like the forgotten generation which so much attention being play to the Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964) who seemed to be born in to a great time of prosperity for “The American Dream” and then the Millennials who overtook Gen X and some of their jobs while they weren’t enough Gen Xers to fill them.

In this article “It Took a Global Pandemic, But Generation X is Finally Getting Love”, it is discussed how great Gen X is at this social distancing thing and maybe this will be helpful to anyone who feels like they are losing their mind. This is by no means an intent to shame any generation nor claim no one else knows how to handle it but this article does a great job about why Gen X might be primed to be handling the global pandemic well with the times they were raised in.

Right now, it’s a waiting game for many people who’s professions and lives have changed in what seemed like overnight. The patience required. The uncertainty of it all. The global pandemic forced (without any forgiveness), a swift move to new ways of life. The busy-ness of our days came to a crashing halt when we were no longer allowed to be out and about in places with large groups and possibly sent home to work remotely.

Many non-essential businesses were forced to close which meant people could not only not work at the office, but also had to cease their extra-curricular activities like working out at the gym, shopping, eating brunch with friends or taking their kids to their sporting events, a playground and/or coordinating a play date or sleepover. The directive from our local and federal government was for “social distancing” before the shelter in place orders came.

Gen X may agree that there were some pretty great things about their childhood – the types of things you do with your time because you don’t have a smartphone or tablet addiction and the fact that there was no way for your work to get a hold of you 24/7. Gen X did have TV and video games and sure, Mom and Dad didn’t really want you spending all of your time behind a screen but it also seemed that there wasn’t as much of a guilt trip if you did spend some of your “summer vacation” from school playing Nintendo or Sega with your neighborhood friends.

It seems like the article alludes to the idea that COVID might be helping people to get back to some of those basics before smartphones became as important to us as one of our limbs.

Gen X has had no problem adapting to technology and in their careers, they have had to adapt to many new ways of doing things (remember when caller ID came out and it was no longer a surprise who was calling?! Whaaaat?! And you can’t prank call anyone any more with your teenage friends at a sleepover! Gasp! You also wouldn’t dare TP an ex-boyfriend’s house right now).

Regardless of the need to learn new hard skills and technologies, everyone has been forced to adjust their soft skills like how technology and still being a human can play well together (since it is really nice to be able to FaceTime with loved ones far away). It seems those slightly unquantifiable adaptable and flexible skills are even more required now. It also seems that as you grow in your career, Emotional Intelligence might be your best skill in these uncertain times.

And not that we are recommending eating like crap or too many unhealthy items, Gen X has been known to be content surviving on Pop Tarts, Spaghetti O’s, Ding-dongs and macaroni and cheese which are all pretty shelf stable items right now. Whatever way is possible for you, it might be a good time to find the balance again in work, technology, home, rest, relaxation and education if at all possible.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

Published

on

strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms. 
 
Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.
 
The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.
 
And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.
 
We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.
 
That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

I just got furloughed. Now what?

(EDITORIAL) Some companies are furloughing employees, betting on their company’s long-term recovery. Here’s what you can expect and should plan for in your furlough.

Published

on

furloughed woman

Are you furloughed? You are not alone! What now? What does “furlough” even mean? How will I get money? Will I still keep my insurance?

A furlough differs from a layoff in a few ways. Whereas a layoff means you are definitely unemployed, a furlough is at its core unpaid time off. Not all furloughs are created equal, though the basic concept is the same: to keep valued employees on ice without being on the hook for their pay until a financial turnaround occurs.

The good-ish news is that a furlough means the company wants to keep you available. When a company is unable to pay their employees for an extended (often indefinite, as is the case with COVID-19 closures) period, they may opt to furlough them instead of laying them off. This virus has decimated whole industries, at least temporarily.

Furloughed employees are forbidden by law to do so much as answer a work email or text while furloughed–or else the company must pay them. The first large waves of COVID-19 furloughs are in obvious sectors such as hospitality (Marriott International), airlines industries (Virgin Atlantic), though other industries are following suit with furloughs or layoffs.

Some furloughs may mean cutting employees’ hours/days to a minimum. Maybe you’re being asked to take off a couple days/week unpaid if you’re hourly, or one week/month off if you’re on salary. With the COVID-19 situation, though, many companies are furloughing bunches of employees by asking them not to work at all. This particular furlough will last ostensibly for a few months, or until business begins to bounce back, along with normal life.

So, what are your rights? Why would you wait for the company? Can you claim unemployment benefits? What about your other work benefits? I’d be lying if I said I knew all the answers, as the furlough packages differ from company to company, and the laws differ from state to state.

However, here are some broad truths about furloughs that should apply. I hope this information helps you sort through your options. I feel your pain, truly. It’s a tough time all around. I’m on your side.

The first answer people want to know is yes, if you’re furloughed and have lost all or most of your income, you may apply for unemployment benefits. You can’t be expected to live off of thin air. Apply IMMEDIATELY, as there is normally a one or two week wait period until the first check comes in. Don’t delay. Some states provide more livable unemployment benefits (I’m looking at you, Massachusetts) than others, but some income is better than none.

Also, most furloughed employees will likely continue to receive benefits. Typically, life and health insurance remain intact throughout the length of the furlough. This is one of the ways companies let their employees know they are serious about wanting them back as soon as it’s financially realistic. Yet some other benefits, like a matching 401k contribution, will go away, as without a paycheck, there are no contributions to match.

Should you look for a job in the interim? Can you really afford not to? What if the company goes belly up while you’re waiting? Nobody wants that to happen, but the reality is that it might.

If you absolutely love your job and the company you work for and feel fairly confident the furlough is truly short-lived, then look for a short-term job. Thousands upon thousands of positions have opened up to meet the needs of the COVID-19 economy, at grocery stores or Amazon, for example. You could also look for contract work. That way, when your company reopens the doors, you can return to your position while finishing off the contract work on the side.

If the company was on shaky ground to begin with, keep that in mind when applying to new jobs. A full-time, long-term position may serve you better. At the end of this global health and economic crisis, some industries will be slower to return to their former glory–if they ever do. If you’re furloughed from such an industry, you may want to shift to something else completely. Pivot, as they say. Now would be a good time.

The only exceptions are “Excepted” government workers in essential positions, including public health and safety. They would have to work while furloughed in case of a government shutdown (and did previously).

Furloughs are scary, but they offer a greater measure of security than a layoff. They mean the company plans on returning to a good financial situation, which is encouraging. Furloughs also generally offer the comfort–and necessity–of insurance, which means you can breathe a bit easier while deciding your next move.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!