Monday Mentions: Plagiarism, Collie Stalking & Facebook Woes

“I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because otherwise Magical-Dawg *spit!* takes credit for kitty creativity!” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

LEGAL STUFF: This post is sponsored by Grammarly. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Grammarly Proof Reading and Plagiarism Checker, but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. Grammarly is not responsible for the content of this blog post (and neither is the *spit* Dawg). You can read my previously posted review of Grammarly here.

It’s interesting that I was asked to do a sponsored post to promote a plagiarism checker and today (as I prepare this post) I’ve had to send a DMCA notice to someone who copied more than half of one of my articles to another online site. They gave me credit and a link back to the full article, which I appreciate. But owns exclusive online rights to anything on that site. This person is a writer, and should know better. The writer offers no way to contact privately so I left a cordial comment and suggestion for remedying the situation on the post. I have no problem with someone writing their own intro to the subject, and posting 2-3 sentences from the article–and then linking directly to that article. That’s what I suggested.

I also told the person to feel free to delete my comment once that had been done, because I have no wish to embarrass anyone. Perhaps this writer was pressed for time, and planned to update later, or had a bad day. So when I checked back as I continued preparing this post, I saw that within five minutes my comment requesting the material be removed/changed had been deleted. The comment, not my material. I waited another 15 minutes, figuring that surely if a “comment” can that quickly be deleted, so can the content in the post. *sigh* Nope, still up. So I used the “objectionable material” form and sent that with a formal DMCA notice.

Has this ever happened to you? I’ve had books pirated and had to send such notices before. Honestly, that’s like trying to empty Lake Texoma with a sieve, though, so I’ve about given up on book pirate sites. Those folks won’t buy my books anyway, and I risk having a computer virus every time I visit those fly-by-night outfits. But in this case, is my client, and if the person does this with one article, they’ll likely continue to plunder the material, and that damages my income and relationship with the publisher. I subscribe to a couple of services that track my name and certain key phrases, and that’s how I was alerted to this particular infraction. The writer didn’t have to include my credit or link back at all, which tells me they TRIED to do the right thing but are not clear on fair use.

How do you handle such things? Have you ever found yourself plagiarized? Have you ever inadvertently “lifted” too much of someone else’s content (aka “research”). I plagiarize myself all the time and have to guard against this and so routinely check new copy against what’s floating around the internet.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out bulldog “best day of my life” video, the “collie walk” and “what’s wrong with FB” videos at the bottom, just for fun. For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday. For now…enjoy the YouTube cute-icity at the end!


Best First Sentence Contest open to any associate or active member of International Thriller Writers, OR those registered for the 2014 Thrillerfest in July. Five winners get their first 10 pages critiqued by Steve Berry, Steven James, John Lescroart, and David Morrell—along with CraftFest Director, D.P. Lyle, MD.

WANA-CON 2014 Feb 21-22 an online conference you can attend in your PJs! Register here.

7 Tips for Writing Crime

 Facebook Insights for Authors (And Others) a great group lead by Lisa Hall-Wilson

SLEUTHFEST 2014, February 27-March 2

 Politics & Prose Books On Demand yep, they’ll PRINT your POD book for you in about 5-10 minutes. The wave of the future? Will these machines be in your neighborhood soon?

 IRIS, IndieReader’s New Instore Service


 Dignity for Animals neat essay

Altruism & Pets does it happen? what do you think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


Monday Mentions: Plagiarism, Collie Stalking & Facebook Woes — 12 Comments

  1. Hey Amy!

    It was from you and your experiences, that I learned about online plaigarism, so many years ago. And when it happened to me, I couldn’t believe it.

    The pirate (as I call him) cut and paste an entire article of mine, complete with byline, and put it on his writing website. I was never asked permission. I immediately emailed, ordering (I don’t *ask*!) the article to be removed from the site, as freelance does not mean free. I kindly offered him the opportunity to pay my reprint fee, which he declined. And here’s the kicker: He, in his ignorance, said he didn’t understand the fuss because (a) I got byline credit, and (b) It gave me and my work additional exposure, which could only be good for my career!

    I gave him 15 minutes to delete the article, which he did, after I told him he had infringed copyright laws.

    But for every one we find, I know there are others.

    How did I find this one? Every few months, I Google myself – and you wouldn’t believe all that comes up!!!

    • Gee, Lynn. Wonder if he’d agree that YOU driving his car around town (for free) was good exposure–after all, you’d be happy to paint his name across the windshield. *eg*

      Glad you got him to take it down. Yes, I google myself, too. It sometimes comes down to balancing how much time you want to spend “policing” things vs getting more work done. But hey…thanks for visiting and commenting! Great to “see” you here.

      • Well, this happened just Today:
        I recently reunited online with a childhood friend, whom I hadn’t heard from in 40 years! She expressed a desire to read some of my articles, so I scanned a few and emailed them to her to read at her leisure.
        She emailed me her positive reviews, and then said she would hold onto them as she ‘will probably want to send it on to some others to read”.

        I immediately went into defensive mode…I emailed back that if she wants to send it to others, I’d appreciate knowing to whom and when, since I own copyright and was just sending them to a friend (her) to read. I added that I keep close tabs on my work (which is why I don’t write for online sources (except for one small article I did for Moira A’s website years ago, which keeps resurfacing…) and don’t want it to being copied or plaigarized down the road. I thanked her and that was it.

        Did I over-react? The idea of my articles being sent around to friends and friends of friends gives me the heebie-jeebies! I just wanted her to read them, as we are getting caught up on so many years….:(

  2. I had someone steal one of the images from my blog once. They did link back to my site at least (which is how I found it), but I still wasn’t happy with my images being used, especially since their blog stated that it worked under creative commons licence, which means they’re happy for others to use their content.

    I posted a comment (they had no private contact info either!) and they did take it down within 10 minutes, so all was good.

    Happens so much on the Internet I think, that people don’t realise the content out there belongs to someone.

    • Glad that you got them to take it down. Yes, for some reason folks believe if it’s posted on the internet, it’s up for grabs. Even the ones who THINK they’re doing right believe simply giving credit is enough. *sigh* Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  3. Wow, this article is timely! Just last week I found 4 different sites that had copied and pasted one of my most popular posts – 3 of the 4 even used my photos – and claimed the work as their own. I contacted all 4, and 2 almost immediately removed the content. The third one required my sending the DMCA notice to the web host, and finally the content was removed.

    The fourth one was an older lady keeping a “diary” on Dogster. She had copied, word for word, 11 of my posts. Yes, I said eleven. I contacted Dogster, who said they’d investigate, but after 2 days, nothing. Finally I contacted the member directly and within 12 hours, all the content was removed.

    I am flabbergasted, really, by the way people seem to think anything posted online is free for the taking. Thanks for sharing – I hate for anyone to go through this stuff, but it’s nice to know it happens to everyone and not just me. 😉

    • Andrea, I don’t know that you can search for images and find them, unless whoever lifted them uses your name. A number of photographers I know embed their watermark/copyright notice in the image itself so it’s not useable elsewhere…I’m not sure how that works.

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