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Saturday, January 19, 2013
While that is not an exhaustive summary of this post, it certainly is one of the main points. One that I will definitely be covering today in this long and somewhat ranty post. It is not a post I ever wanted to have to write, but it must be written.

Plagiarism Sucks: It's More Than Just Drama is an idea created by myself and two of my fellow bloggers, Jessi/Geo at Auntie Spinelli Reads and Hannah/Inky at Book Haven Extraordinaire. They, along with many of my blogging friends were furious when they found about about this plagiarism issue and immediately backed me along with many others. But the three of us decided to create a trio of posts regarding plagiarism, specifically highlighting this situation.


I can't believe I have to deal with this subject again. I tried to avoid getting dragged into the drama the last time plagiarism occurred in the blogosphere, but I was dragged into it anyway. This time, I am unfortunately at the center of it.


I also want to apologize for this post being somewhat disorganized. I tried to make it neat as much as I could.


So, almost a week ago now, I was hanging out on twitter, because that's what I do. Then, strangely, by complete accident, I came across a review that was being promoted by a blogger as part of the Release blog tour. And, strangely, the text sounded exactly like something I had written linking to a blog that was not mine.


Before I go on, I want to be clear that this blogger was not involved in this. It is simply her tweet that led me to discover this plagiarism, and I am grateful for that, because without me seeing that this blog might still be getting away with this. She has been incredibly supportive throughout this horrible situation and I am not implicating her in any way.


So, moving on. I looked at the review and I knew right away that it was my work. So I compared it against mine, and sure enough, entire paragraphs of my review had been plagiarized. Oh, they had some paragraphs in their review that weren't mine (which I later discovered were also plagiarized–read on and I explain). But that doesn't change the fact that they stole my original review, claiming it as their own.


The first thing I did was contact Matt, the author of Release, who in turn contacted Valerie, the tour host, and they immediately backed me, because they're awesome and that's what they do. I then wrote an email to the owners of the plagiarist blog, Up-To-Date Reviewing. So please, don't look them up. I am not linking to them because I don't want them to gain traffic from this. I also spoke to several of my trusted friends on twitter through direct messaging, because I truly wanted to keep this a private situation as much as possible.


As we worked through this situation together, we discovered a horrible truth.


I was not the only blogger Up-To-Date-Reviewing had plagiarized reviews from.


I was absolutely horrified to discover this. If it was just me that they stole from, we could've resolved this privately and therefore avoided a public confrontation. I asked the bloggers in a private email to remove the content they had stolen from me and that they privately apologize to me. Before emailing them, however, I took screenshots of my stolen content on my blog as evidence and check the statistics websites I use to screenshot evidence of their visits to my blog.


Up-To-Date Reviewing has stolen content from at least six blogs at last count, and I'm not sure what the count is up to now. They obviously thought they wouldn't get caught, or they wouldn't have done it. But if there's one thing I know it's that you can't hide forever. When you make your bed, you gotta lay in it.


Once we discovered this, it seemed like all hopes of resolving this privately were lost. Up-To-Date Reviewing began to remove all the plagiarized content from their blog, but they did not contact or apologize to the owners of the blogs they stole from. They were clearly trying to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. And that is absolutely not okay. They made their decision when they plagiarized and they have to deal with the consequences.


If they had apologized right away and seemed remorseful, maybe things would have been different. But I guess we'll never know.


I did later receive a non-apology email from the blogger who did not plagiarize, and I hear that others did as well. In this email, she not only played the victim but went so far as to actually threaten everyone to leave her alone. Ordinarily, I respect the privacy of email correspondence. However, I am not the only one who agrees that in this case, she deserves none of that. As such, I have provided a breakdown of the email here.


Just as a warning, I alternate between talking to her and talking about her. I thought about changing it, but ended up leaving it as is.

Please Read, Mega Imp.
First off, the subject line. Bad form. Unprofessional. "Mega Imp." Are you kidding me? This isn't a joke.
Dear Fellow Bloggers,
Okay, I can deal with that that. It's respectful, despite the bad start from the subject line. However, she also should have apologized to each blogger individually.
I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for quite a while contemplating what to write.
And I finally decided to come out honestly.

Now we know that it seems like she tried to think rationally before writing this email, as opposed to just shooting off a reply. Okay.

What would you do if you start receiving emails saying your blog contains plagiarized content?
Nothing. Because you are probably lucky without a co-worker.
Um. No. If I was accused of plagiarism, I would not do nothing. I would immediately check up on it and see what the deal was, even though I would likely believe myself to be innocent. Ignoring problems does not make them go away. I would speak to the accuser, not ignore them. So this is where everything starts to go awry. Also, what is up with her grammar?
But Me?
No, I’m too jinxed for that. I must suffer through this process. 
Now she's making excuses for herself. She should know her co-blogger better. Who co-blogs with someone they barely know? How could she have been unaware of this? I'm not saying she wasn't, but it is odd. And again, the grammar is awful.
And what did I do to solve this?
At first, I did nothing. I mean, if one individual says my co-worker‘s review contains plagiarized content, that doesn’t mean I have to believe him and ruin a perfect blogging partnership.
Wow. Okay. So, she wasn't even going to check these claims out? It's not like people just go around claiming people have been plagiarizing without a cause. I checked thoroughly before I sent my email explaining that they had stolen my content. And, obviously, this partnership wasn't "perfect."
But… there’s always a but?
But more emails continued to show in my inbox. And it finally got my full attention.
So, it wasn't until multiple people had brought this to her attention that she decided to do something. Um, I'm pretty sure one person accusing you of plagiarism is serious enough. You shouldn't need to wait until the situation explodes before taking some action. Plagiarism isn't about quantity. One person or ten, it's all illegal.
Due to this unforgiving act of plagiarism, I had all K.K’s reviews deleted, and I also removed them from the blog.
Okay, again with the horrible grammar, but she removed them. That's a great start, finally.
You no longer need to fret about having your reviews’ contents plagiarized by this blog.
Seriously? I'll "fret" all I want. My content was stolen once. I'm not going to forget that. And the usage of the word "fret" is annoying in and of itself. It implies unneeded worry. I don't think so.
My reviews are 100% Original and you can test them for yourself. I don’t win my ticket to be Annie’s favorite for being anything less than awesome.
On the bright side, we can probably pick out her reviews just by her horrible grammar. And again, are you kidding me? She had the nerve to bring up the fact that she's some author's favorite? And call herself awesome? No. Just no. She sounds so self-satisfied here, and conceited, like she thinks she's above everyone.
LOL, I seriously need an ego-deflating-comment as Dean Holder says.
Yes, you do. Desperately. Because yours is huge and with your attitude I'm not sure why.
Grrr… Must have bored you with this rampage.
Yes, you did. I emailed you about the serious accusation of plagiarism and you emailed me back to brag about how great you are. Guess what? I don't care. This isn't about you, so shut up.
Anyway, I thank you profusely for making me aware of this issue even if you wanted to strangle me for this inconvenience at a time.
Well, you're welcome, though it only took you forever to act. And yes, I did want to strangle you. I hate this line. She obviously finds herself amusing and thought she was being clever. It only comes off as ignorant.
Don’t worry; I’ve forgiven you in advance ;) Though, I just hope that you will forgive me too in return.
This is the line where I lost it. She's forgiven me? For what? I am the victim! Not her! Yet she plays up the victim role as if she needs to forgive me. I don't think so. No way am I forgiving you when you write something like that.
For as I brought to your attention, I’m not responsible for this mess and I immediately took hold of the situation as soon as possible.
Uhh. No you didn't. In fact, I'm reasonably sure you mentioned only a few lines ago that you waited until you received multiple emails from multiple people until you acted. So, now she can't even keep her stories straight. Fantastic.
I’m just a wannabe author girl who wanted to build some solid ground before introducing her work.
Someone make sure to note for me never to buy any of her books.
I’m at loss for words.
Clearly. Except all the ones you said in which you sound patronizing and rude.
Please guys show some sympathy and be considerate enough to delete any posts or tweets concerning my blog’s plagiarism. *puppy eyes*
Maybe if you'd issued a professional apology as soon as this situation came up. But not with the way you handled it. And here she goes, playing the victim again. No wrong was done to her. I don't owe her anything.
You’ve already ruined my first five months of ‘working up my ass’ blog effort to maintain an excellent face before introducing my work. *pouts*
Oh, I've ruined your first five months of blogging? What about your co-blogger, who freaking stole my hard work? What about that? You think that didn't ruin my week? You should've known your co-blogger better! This isn't my problem, and you're not the victim, so cut it out! This line is wrong on so many levels.
P.S. Go ahead and check my blog if you want to make sure of the arrangements.
I did. Turns our her co-blogger is leaving to blog because of "personal issues." Wow. So no explanation or apology of what really went down regarding the plagiarism? This isn't something that can be swept under the rug.
And I’m trying TheFreeCopyright thingie from now on. So lay off because if I even hear the word ‘Plagiarized’ in the next century, I’m going to punch someone.
You have got to be kidding. Now she's threatening me. We don't care if you copyright your blog! We didn't steal from you! And you have no right to not want to hear the word "plagiarized." You aren't the person whose work was stolen.
Note: I found you through Twitter. I hope I emailed everyone.
Feel free to send me any complaint or comment; I’d love to hear from you.
Wow. It sounds like you tried really hard to make sure you sent this non-apology to everyone. Not. And I have no comments. Complaints, plenty. But clearly you can't deal with them.
With A Lot of Bookish Love,
Zee
Yeah. Okay then. Just try and pretend it never happened. Well, that doesn't work for the rest of us.

Keep in mind that nowhere in this email is there an actual apology. Instead, there are bizarre accusations and even threats. It's a messy, grammatically faulty email that insulted and infuriated me. This is an "I'm Sorry I Got Caught" email. I understand that she did not plagiarize herself, but it is still her blog and therefore her responsibility.

The day after I received this email, I found yet another email from her in my inbox, this one directly replying to one of the emails I had sent her. It contained some new text as well as the original message above word-for-word and obviously copy pasted. I can tell because she left the message about finding everyone through twitter. Classy.

Dear Anna,
Well, at least this time it is to me individually. That's something.
I just found this email in my junk. I've already sent you an email yesterday but considering this email went automatically to junk, I fear it might have happened to my email too and you haven't read it yet.
In my experience emails from other people as opposed to companies rarely end up in junk, but I'll accept this anyway. I can understand her re-sending this email but I am appalled that she left the original message exactly as it is, insulting and threatening.
I sincerely apologize for the harm my blog caused you.
Okay. I'm impressed. I admit it. This is an actual apology. However, seeing as she left the original message attached, I'm not inclined to believe her fully. It also took three days. Too little, too late.
Please read along to analyze my situation:
I'm busy dealing with my own situation, thanks. And I don't want to read that email again. I've read it countless times already and each time it just makes me angrier.

And one thing I want to know: why hasn't the actual plagiarizer apologized? I know that he left the blog. However, I sincerely doubt he is dead or that his internet access suddenly got zapped by aliens. However, it seems as if no one has heard from him at all. That is not okay. We all deserve apologizes from the person who stole our work.


As it turns out, the review was entirely plagiarized from six different blogs. I will be detailing that more below.


The review was changed early on in this situation, the plagiarized review deleted and replaced with their own content. But screenshots had already been taken, and evidence collected. Then the review was taken down entirely. I find this very, very suspicious of both bloggers. I'm not saying it's impossible that Zee is totally innocent, but it seems highly unlikely.


And if I was in Zee's situation, I would have been horrified and issued a public apology immediately. Then I would have quit that blog and started a new one to remove the taint. There's something incredibly suspicious about all of this.

The most terrible thing about this is that this isn't the first time the blogosphere has had to deal with plagiarism issues. There was the whole issue with The Story Siren nearly a year ago, which we all eventually got over more or less since it wasn't worth agonizing over. Then something like this happens and there's this huge feeling of betrayal and hurt.

Blogger or not, I'm sure you all know what it's like to work very hard at something, whether it be a blog post or an English paper. Though I cannot speak for other plagiarized bloggers, I expect their experience was similar to mine. I spent a good few hours on the review they plagiarized from me. And yet they, in a matter of minutes, grabbed my content, copy-pasted it onto their blog, and acted like my original thoughts were theirs.


Those were my agonizing hours of hard work. And they stole them from me. I refuse to let them taint my work. They stole it, but it's still always been mine. We are the sum total of our actions. They are plagiarists, and they'll have to live with that.


Yes, I'm being a bit harsh. But try to understand. Just take one moment. Take a moment and think about how you would feel if someone stole your hard work and tried to make it into theirs.


I honestly don't have words to describe how horrible I felt when I first discovered this. I know I'm sensitive, but there was actual crying. It's like your home being robbed–you hear about it all the time, but you never expect it to happen to you. I never thought that I would be plagiarized. But it can happen to anyone. There was so much betrayal in the feeling. I write my reviews to help people. I love when people read them. I never imagined someone would be so cruel as to steal them for their own selfish ends.


The two screenshots in the following explanation were provided to me by Valerie and marked up by me. You can tell what's been plagiarized from which blogger from the markings I have made.

To save myself some time I did not screenshot each of the five reviews that this so-called "review" consists of and highlight each plagiarism. However, I did link to all five, including mine, below, so you can see the plagiarism for yourself. It's so obvious and not hard to find.

Danielle @ Crazy Book Chicks


There was also content stolen from Ash @ Smash Attack Reads, but that was not included in these screenshots. However, know that it happened.

After I sent an email accusing the blog of plagiarism, the review was changed to this:

Which is quite obviously different. And incredibly suspicious, especially as Zee claimed my email went straight to junk. I know for a fact that until recently I was the only one who thought I'd been plagiarized in this review and therefore was the only person to contact them regarding this particular review. So, this makes things look very, very bad for Zee. How could it have been changed before my second email had been sent if my first email was sitting in spam when no one else had sent an email?

I'm sorry, but that looks like a lie to me. It doesn't make any sense. If my email was sitting pretty in junk, then how would they have known to change the review? This looks like a very, very bad attempt at a cover-up to me. I just don't believe that Zee is completely innocent in this. I'm not dismissing the possibility, but I personally doubt it very much.


Eventually, this review was removed completely. I was only able to access it because it had been cached.


{

(The stuff in between these brackets was added later on. I didn't want to have to edit the entire post to fit it in.)

Then I received yet another email from Zee.
Howdy Guys,
I've been told my previous email was pretty intense, so if I offended anyone, please accept my apology.I've been pondering the situation and decided that a public apology is most needed, please check out my post: [link removed by me because I really don't want people to visit her]
Lots of Hopeful Feelings,
Zee
She really should have screened that first email better before she sent it. "Intense" is an understatement. I felt violated.

I've included a screenshot of the apology below so that you don't have to go and give her traffic.
The email says it all, really. Not only does this apology ring falsely, she essentially states that she only apologized publicly because people were giving her so much grief about it. A meaningless apology is just as bad as no apology at all.

I'm positive that some of you won't like the fact that I have continued to pursue this situation after Zee publicly apologized. However, I am not the only one who found that apology too little too late. She tried to dismiss this situation and only added the apology once it became clear that it wasn't going to go away on its own. It is also bizarrely phrased and feels rather arrogant and insincere.

Even if I didn't feel this way (which is irrelevant because I do) I would still believe that this topic needs to be brought to light.

So, after I received this email, I replied to her briefly, asking after KK and why she hadn't apologized personally to each of us since I'm sure she still has internet access, like I mentioned before.

This was the response I received.
Hey Anna,
As much as I hate to say this, but I'm not responsible for K.K. anymore. I'm doing my part of apology here because I own the blog and I would really appreciate it if you understand my current position. I have a lot going on right now and I have to catch up with the books I requested and also review the books K.K. requested in the name of the blog.
I'm really sorry for the harm my blog caused you, I really am. And I'm trying my best to make it up to you guys. I've apologized to all the bloggers via email and I also posted a public apology. But that's everything I can do.I just hope you don't hold a grudge against me or my blog,*blowing you a fabulous kiss*
Lots of Love,
The Blogger Ninja,
Zee
The way she talks about needing to work on her blog is absolutely infuriating. So, you have books to review? Well, great for you.  Shouldn't this plagiarism issue and the resolution of be most important to her? Obviously they aren't. She shouldn't even think about continuing her blog until this is dealt with.

I understand that she's not responsible for KK, but I'm sure she knows a way to contact her via email. It wouldn't kill her to share it.

She says she's "trying her best to make it up." No, she isn't. She's been sending insulting emails and she posted that ridiculous public apology. All she seems to be doing is making me angrier. This is not everything she can do. She didn't even name a single one of the bloggers plagiarized in her public apology. The least she could do is name them individually.

And the way she praises herself is insulting.

I know it's really petty of me, but I so hate it when people I don't like call me nicknames. However, I try not to hold this against people.

It might be a bit immature, but I'll hold a grudge if I want to. I'll never be able to respect that blog. Which is why, as I was saying before, she should end this blog and start over with a new URL and name.

And she's got a lot of nerve, blowing me a kiss.

I'm sure that some of you out there will be upset with me for continuing to pursue this after her apology. However, I truly don't believe it to be genuine. You're welcome to your opinion, but I'm keeping mine.

}

I went immediately to screenshot evidence of the plagiarist's visits to my blog for posterity's sake, by the way. Always, always screenshot. My first ones were horrible and taken in a rush, though, so try to be careful. I needed to have a firm record of that.


Below is a list of plagiarized review and plagiarized bloggers and the last count and check. With the way this is going, there could be more. This list was consolidated by Jessi and I take no credit.


Anna and the French Kiss Review
with content stolen from: Book Geek (on Goodreads), Winter Haven Books, and Reading After Midnight
*This post has now been removed and I can't get the cache to work.

Clockwork Angel Review (cached)
with content stolen from Valerie's review on Goodreads, I Dare You to Say It, Joyzi's review on Goodreads, and Amy's review on Goodreads

Close Your Eyes Review (cached)
with content stolen from For Books' Sake, Jenny's review on Goodreads, and Gina's review on Goodreads

Entangled Review (cached)
with content stolen from Imagine a World and Dianne's review on Goodreads

Exiled Review (cached)
with content stolen from Fiktshun, Ashley's review on Goodreads, Into the Hall of Books, and Smash Attack Reads

Firelight Review (cached)
with content stolen from Mundie Moms and Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me (on Goodreads)

Release Review (cached)
But it was changed before it was deleted?
with content stolen from Sparkles and Lightning, Confessions of a Vi3t Babe, Book Loving Mom, Crazy Book Chicks, and City of Books (on Goodreads)

Shift Review (cached)
with content stolen from Book Loving Mom, Smash Attack Reads, The Bookish Brunette, and Tea and Text


If any of you are on this list and were not aware that you've been plagiarized, shoot me an email and I'll tell you the whole story. We tried to contact as many of you as possible but the list continued to grow and grow and eventually it got so out of control that we decided to let everyone who'd like more of what happened to come to us.


When the hurt subsided, anger was left. When that cooled, I was left with a firm resolve. I cannot eradicate plagiarism, perhaps, but that doesn't mean I won't try.


Plagiarism isn't just wrong, it's illegal.


So right now, you might have a few questions. I'm going to try to answer the ones I can imagine you'll ask first.


Just what is plagiarism?


Plagiarism is taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as your own. This includes, obviously, copying and pasting someone else's work and inserting it in your own. It also includes changing a few words here and there so that it isn't exactly the same.


What exactly can I do to protect my blog?


I hold a legal copyright over my blog that I obtained through My Free Copyright, a website that allows you to register your blog. Once you do so, it keeps track of your daily blog posts and copyrights each individual one. It then sends you an email with official copyright information. I highly recommend registering your blog with them if you haven't already.


I also hold a free Creative Commons license. Many artists, including myself, use it to protect their artwork. It can also be used as protection for written works.


So then what should I do if I think my work has been plagiarized?


First, grab evidence. Take screenshots of your stolen work in case they try to remove it and pretend it never happened. Take lots of screenshots. Get witnesses. Find people who you know will support you.


I also recommend signing up for statistics websites that can tell you when people have visited specific posts on your blog. I have evidence that the plagiarist of Up-To-Date Reviewing did visit my review of Release the day before and the day of posting it on their blog. I use Google Analytics, Statcounter, and PMetrics. Between these three analytics websites, there is always a way I can track who has visited what on my blog.


Then, confront the suspected plagiarist in private. Try to resolve in that way, like I did. But sometimes things unfortunately have to go public.


I don't believe in public humiliation, not really. But I do believe that when you don't own up to what you did you end up with what you deserve.


They refuse to take the stolen content down! What do I do now?


Well, you could always try asking again, but if they refuse once chances are they'll refuse again. So gather your evidence: all your screenshots of the stolen content, times the thief has visited, etc. Everything that can help prove that your content has indeed been plagiarized. Then, know that you are within your rights to sue. Obviously, this isn't exactly ideal, and hopefully it doesn't need to come to that. If it gets to that, don't be afraid to fight for your work. Plagiarism is illegal.


As much as I love to joke about things only being illegal if you get caught, this is not a laughing matter.


Bottom line: plagiarism is not okay, ever.


That said, I think those are the most basic questions regarding this topic. However, they are certainly more questions that could be asked. So what I've done is put together a form that allows you to ask me questions regarding this topic. This is an issue that I believe you should have full knowledge of. I can't promise I'll have the answer, but there are ways to find them. Depending on the number of questions and such, I may do a follow-up post with them.

This entire situation is unfortunate and disgusting. However, there is a silver lining.

I wish this had never happened. Of course I wish that. But I can't change that it did, and so I may as well accept that a few good things did come of it.


Because of this situation, I received enormous support from the blogosphere and made some new friends. That doesn't sound exactly the way I hoped it would, but it is true. My fellow book bloggers were quick to support me and all the others who were plagiarized in this incident. All of you are awesome, and I cannot thank you enough. I was crushed and upset when I first discovered this. I suppose I still am upset. But thanks to you, I'm not crying by myself in a corner somewhere. I am doing something about this.


At the moment, I think this post will cover what I mean to say. I know it was extremely long-winded, but this is an important issue. This is probably the most controversial post I've ever written, but I would also argue that it is the most important.

Below I have included grab code for both the banner at the top of this post and a square button. So if you'd like to share them, that's awesome. If not, that's also completely fine. They should scale well if you need to resize them.





Sparkles and Lightning: Plagiarism Sucks 


I'd love to discuss this topic with any and all of you. If you'd like, you can tweet me (@AnnabelleMarieV) on twitter and I'd love to chat with you. This is a topic that needs to be talked about but not glorified. This will undoubtedly be controversial.


I think that's it. I may come back and add to or edit this post later but for now I'm going to call it a wrap. And as aforementioned, a follow-up is likely. So stay tuned.


Lovelovelove,

signature

26 comments:

  1. Anna, I am so sorry for you! You have every right to be angry and upset and rant! (Especially on your own blog!)

    I am blown away by this whole situation. I plan on going through and following everyone that was stolen from. I also plan on adding the badge to all of my blogs.

    Thank you kindly for the advice, and hard work that you put into this blog.

    *Sending Major Hugs your way*

    Konstanz Silverbow
    nothoughts2small.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very well stated! I enjoyed reading yours and seeing the similarities. I think this is the one everyone should read because you were directly plagiarized. I've already had someone tell me I shouldn't be posting about it because
    I wasn't the one who was plagiarized.' Maybe that person should read this!
    I love that you included the submission form...I hope that you get lots of responses through that!

    I tried the MyFreeCopyright site...when I put in my blog the first time I did it under website, then when I went to put the widget in, my ENTIRE blog disappeared! Thankfully it wasn't permanent...but I deleted it and tried to re-add it under the blog option (even though I wasn't sure how to get the XML site URL), but it said I already have that blog on there. Now I can't re-add it at all! But I'm still getting emails for it? I don't know how to fix it :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW... Just wow... Some people are just ridiculous and RUDE... You know when somebody says something SO incredibly stupid your jaw just hangs open and you can't say anything? Yeah, that just happened to me while I was reading that person's email...

    I'm glad that it worked out (sort of) since she did take them down (sort of) and apologize (not really)... I really think that you handled it with lots of class. I'm really sorry that this happened to you (and the other awesome bloggers) because nobody deserves to have their hard work stolen from them. I absolutely love your blog and all your reviews and I hope you never have to deal with something like this again :D

    And also, if you have nothing original to say about the books that you read, what's the point in having a book blog...? Geez...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think you're being harsh at all. Even if that girl wasn't the one who plagiarized, it's still her blog, and she should take responsability for it. The way she's acting is so immature and unprofessional. I'm sorry you have to deal with all of this. Writing reviews may be time consuming, but it's not hard. There is no excuse for stealing someone else's content.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I only just heard about this today! It breaks my heart and I wish I could give a hug to everyone that was affected! I'm so sorry! <3333

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  6. Oh wow! I had no idea that it went on even more after what you told me... and they plagiarized more than one bloggers review?! More than once?! It's insane. I'm sorry it had to happen to you and the other bloggers, but I'm glad that everyones getting to see that plagiarism is bad - and that it DOES affect and hurt people. Writing reviews takes time and dedication and if they can't do that - they probably shouldn't be reviewing.

    Great post!

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  7. I am so beyond sorry that this happened to you! I can't even imagine your feelings when you found out. I think this is a great way to show all the blogging world how deeply it affects those plagiarized. I think your reviews are very well thought out and very genuine, and it is very disheartening to hear of others taking your hard work. Good luck with everything!

    Annie :)

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  8. OMG. I cannot believe that people have the nerve to copy other peoples reviews like that, and then blow it all off as if it's nothing! These people ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves! It really is just disgusting to do something like that!

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  9. Oh Anna. I am so sorry that this happened to you! *hugs* I read the other bloggers' posts yesterday and the whole thing is just so DISGUSTING! And those e-mails.. they're ridiculous. I literally cannot understand why people plagiarize. I'm proud of my work and all the hours I've put into my review. So when people read them, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. But if your reviews are just stolen content, surely you don't get that warm fuzzy feeling when people comment and your blog gets traffic.. because they're not technically there for YOUR work, so what is there to be proud of?? Ugh...

    One thing I will note, about this section: What exactly can I do to protect my blog? You don't have to go to a site/service to copyright your blog in order to have copyright. As soon as you create any kind of work, you automatically own ALL copyrights to it. The only way a copyright service will help you is if you ever want to take an act of copyright infringement to court. Sites like My Free Copyright don't actually copyright your work; they just create additional proof of what you created and when, so you could use that evidence in court. But even without sites like My Free Copyright, the copyright is still 100% yours.

    I love my blog to bits and pieces, but given that I'm not using it to make money, I would never actually take a copyright infringement case to court, just because it probably wouldn't be 'worth' it time/money wise for how 'small' the situation is. I'm NOT saying this is a small matter or anything... just that if you can't prove in court that you lost a lot of money because of the copyright infringement, you probably will end up spending loads of more money on court/lawyer fees than you'd actually get back.

    Anyway.. sorry that was kind of a tangent there. I am seriously so disgusted and outraged by this; I can't even imagine how you feel. *hugs* But we're all here for you and of course you know that we support you 200%!

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  10. Annnnaa! I can't believe someone would do that to you! You're such an amazing person and you don't deserve you be treated like dirt by some blogger that obviously has no original content to use on their blog as they can't think for themselves.

    That email that she sent you made my blood boil! I can not believe that someone would say such horrible things, AND turn the tables pretending that she is the victim! I still can't believe how cocky and arrogant she sounds, she seriously shouldn't even have a book blog if she's going to treat people like that.

    I absolutely HATE plagiarism it is so DESPICABLE! When I write a review, it takes me hours to make sure it is a review that covers everything and that all the feelings I felt for the book are expressed in the review, I can not imagine how horrible I would feel knowing that someone had taken my hard work and used it on their blog without mention of me or asking for my permission. I would feel so bitter, upset and deflated. Your reviews are amazing and in no way at all should anyone else take credit for such spectacular writing other than yourself.

    Brilliant post. I'm once again so sorry that you had to go through this as you don't deserve it at all! I hope this never happens to you again! And like what Ashley said, we are with you 200%! xxx

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  11. Hi Ana :) I know you probably don't know me (I seriously need to learn to leave more comments...) but I like your reviews a lot and I read all your posts in my reader ^^
    Anyway, I'm really sorry to hear that you've suffered so much during the past days. As you said, plagiarism sucks. Big time.
    And one of the things I never understand is: Why would anybody start a blog to review books they like if they are simply way too lazy to write the reviews?! I mean, what's the point?! Are their lives so boring and they have nothing else to do than copy/paste the hard work of other people?
    It infuriates me so much...

    But I like the way you all handled this. And I agree with you, that letter is just horrible and it's not an apology. I seriously hope that blog doesn't get any traffic for this. They don't deserve it.

    If it helps, we all are in this with you and you are not alone. Hugs^^

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  12. Oh, BTW Anna, I'm adding your "Plagiarism Sucks" button to my blog ;)
    People need to understand this is a serious problem!

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  13. Great post about the issue. What struck me the most was how immature that email came across as, and sure enough on her about me page Zee lists her age as "almost 16". Not that it makes it right in any way, but I bet Zee and her cohort (was she the same age?) probably really do not understand copyright at all. The lack of understanding I see in the school I teach at is appalling, they don't understand how it works and they don't understand the consequences of breaking copyright. I imagine that this whole situation is a huge wake-up cal for them. Zee responded exactly how 90% of my students would have, but hopefully underneath that immaturity they get the idea that it's not okay and will actually think twice next time.

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  14. Sorry that had to happen to you :(

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  16. I've been hearing this issue non-stop for the past days... And as the days go by, I noticed that it got worst... Looks like those who plagiarized are being discovered... I remember the posts of a blogger about another blogger stealing her/his blog's designs... It's not really right to just get something that's isn't yours, especially when the real owner paid and worked hard for the designs...

    I really hope this issue will be resolved soon... I'm so sorry a lot of bloggers experienced this problem...

    Supporting all of you!!!

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  17. Anna, How could you hang on that s*** of email? It annoyed me! And I wasn't even the victim! This definetely sucks! Are you sure that "KK's" even exists? I'm thinking that it's just a lame excuse for her. She thinks she's so funny and clever but - NOT!
    I applaud your decision, I'm taking the button to my blog!
    I'm so sorry this happend to you, best bloggers have the worst things on the blogosphere! I support you!

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  18. I'm terribly sorry you and the other blogger had to go through that. I am so appalled! Also, I highly recommend putting the DMCA badge up on your site and signing up for a free account. If you find someone has stolen your content, they will work with you to send them and their host (blogger/wordpress/whatever) a Take Down notice, which has to be followed. If they don't follow through, the companies are bound to remove the site.

    (((HUGS))) to all who had to deal with this. Know the community supports and is behind you 100%.

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  19. I'm so sorry all of this happened to you and the way you discovered it was awful! But I'm so glad you did find out and the content has been removed.

    I hope this "bad" blogger doesn't crop up anywhere else and that the remaining blogger doesn't decide to take on another plagiarizer to co-blog with.

    I hope this never happens again and thank you so much for bringing it to my, and all the other bloggers' attention as we would likely not have known!

    And I'd be wary of My Free Copyright. Last June/July they were sold to a company in Hong Kong who basically deleted everyone's previously copyrighted material and those MCN digital records. They made you relog in - so what happened with our previous usernames and passwords and all copyrighted material? - and started over.

    Google "My Free Copyright" and "Scam" and you should find the articles talking about it from July and August 2012. The new contact person Regge Chan never responded to any of my emails.

    So I'd be wary about feeling protected if the new owner would just delete your protection. And I'd be wary about logging into a service with a password you use elsewhere. I'm not wholly certain they're a reputable company now that they've been sold.

    Here is one of the articles talking about it: http://forums.vindy.com/read.php?1,544671

    They could be reputable but as they deleted all my copy protected posts on all my blogs from December 2011 to June 2012 and didn't protect any of my posts until I discovered I stopped receiving the emails I'd definitely be careful!

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  20. Firstly, I am so sorry you had to go through something like this and then be insulted as well.
    Secondly, I must agree with Alaiel Kreuz. I do not have my own blog even though I am a complete book-addict. I just do not have the time to write the reviews.
    I do not believe that you were overly harsh at all. This lady's emails was contradicting and insulting and like you, the only apology I could gather from her writings was for being caught. And then she still has the nerve to imply you did her blog damage! No, you were not wrong in creating this post and you were not harsh in the writing of the this post.
    As I do not have a blog, I am going to try and put you button as my twitter pp to show my support.
    Lots of Hugs
    xxx

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  21. I can't believe the answers you got by e-mail! And I am so sorry you had to deal with this at all. It makes me a little scared, too, even if I don't really think my reviews are all that great, I do put a lot of time into them, and I would really hate it if I found my words on someone else's blog!

    I think you're right for sharing this in a blog post, it is really important that other potential plagiarists be aware that they won't be able to get away with stealing their content from other bloggers.

    I'll be adding your badge to my own blog, and I have removed my following from the blog in question. Age really is not an excuse! Stealing is stealing.

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  23. OMG I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've had this happen to me twice already as well. I know how this feels so I am so sorry it happened to you too.

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  24. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Putting it out there is a service to the rest of us.
    So sorry you had to go through it though.

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  25. Ok! maybe my reviews never will be as awesome as you, but it takes me a long time to write them, so I understand how much this hurt!
    Thanks for sharing this this all of us.
    This sucks!

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  26. Hey Annabelle!
    I haven't been around on Twitter much these days, so I totally missed this whole thing. After catching up this morning all I have to say is: I'm so sorry this has happened to you and all the other wonderful bloggers! I don't think anyone could ever blame you for posting about this situation, you have every right to share this with the world! I'm actually very thankful you did, as I wouldn't want to unknowingly follow this person! Oh gosh, just look at the email she wrote you! It's outrageous and plain rude, she clearly thinks very highly of herself and I just can't comprehend why!? Her grammar is bad, she's impolite, insincere, unintelligent (not to say stupid) and seemingly disconnected from reality. Her unapologetic behaviour makes me so mad! How dare she say that you have ruined her 5 months of blogging?! WTF!? I just can't.. *hyperventilation in progress*.

    A person like her should never be allowed to call herself a "reviewer", and under no circumstances should she be getting review books. I highly doubt it was all her co-blogger's doing. It seems to me her grammar was so bad, she just took the easy way around and copied other people's work. oh how clever, copying bits and pieces of other girl's reviews to create this Frankenstein of a thing! Bet she was patting herself on the back for that, too. You know what? I'm not a native English speaker, either, and my grammar is far from perfect. I tend to make a lot of spelling mistakes and it takes me a minimum of 3 hours to write up a decent review and do all the spell check, etc.. But I do it, because I owe it to the authors and publishers. Most of all, I do it, because I want my own opinion out there. Going around and stealing other reviewer's thoughts is nothing short of scamming the authors and publishers to get free books.

    That's all I have to say. I hope you're over this whole thing by now and I'm sorry if my comment brought back bad memories, but I had to let you know that you have 100% of my support!
    (big hug)

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I love hearing from my readers! All comments are greatly appreciated :) If you're a fellow book blogger, include a link so I can come and visit you! I adore you all so much! <3

Also, anonymous comments have now been disabled since I have been receiving upwards of fifty spam comments a day and I'm just done. If you're an actual human being and not a spambot who happens to comment anonymously I'm really sorry.

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Welcome to my young adult reading blog! Sparkles and Lightning has young adult book reviews with the occasional children's or adult's book review sprinkled in. It will also be totally and completely fun :) Have a look around, have some laughs, and most of all, have a perfectly sparkly, electric time!

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