I realize that the internet is a wild and crazy place, populated by people who are perhaps a little unknowledgeable abut the basics of a civil society. So I was only a little surprised to run across a site that copied and pasted items directly from us and other sites – without permission. Now, this happens – someone thinks that pulling in an RSS feed entitles them to reskin it as their own. Most of the time, the audience for such sites is so small that it’s not even worth the trouble.
But there is an actual human running running swtorstrategies.com, and over the weekend I discovered 17 posts from clubjade.net – all written by me – copied and pasted on their site. To their credit, I contacted the webmaster and they removed or replaced the offending posts overnight. But there is still plenty of plagiarized content on the site.
Some of the posts did indeed link back to us, but not as a credit. A ‘via’ or ‘source’ link, as used by many blogs in these parts, does not mean this post is by [source] (Particularly when someone else – sQren – is the post’s ‘author’.) A via link means I discovered this information thanks to [source]. You take that information, write your own post, and as a courtesy link back to where you you found it.
(The only posts that contain proper credits do so because EUC and NJOE contacted the webmaster after he took their posts.)
Further study found posts pinched from TheForce.Net (original / plagiarized,) SF Signal (original / plagiarized,) and of course countless selections from StarWars.com. A few other examples I found last night and tweeted about have also vanished, so I encourage fansite folks to take a close look at the site and contact them if you find anything of yours.
At least some of the stuff on the site is semi-original – take a look at this post on gaming action figures, which sandwiches an (attributed!) ForceCast quote in-between text swiped from Kotaku. Or not… The middle part is actually swiped from Ask a Jedi.
Some of the site’s content – many of the gaming posts, of course – does look to be all-original. Which makes the decision to swipe all this other stuff just lazy. These are not the most extensive of posts they’re taking. No one really cares if you embed the same video or videos or use the same (attributed) quotes. We’re all covering much of the same news, so these things do happen. (Though, of course, a linkback is good manners.) All ‘sQren’ had to do was write their own text. Their own sentence, in many of these cases. A paragraph. Hell, they could do a bullet list instead of lifting 11 of my new release posts.
Is this a huge deal, these tiny posts? Maybe not. We all exist at the mercy of LFL, after all. But it’s not just about copying and pasting – it’s about having the decency to not take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own. And I’m not going to let that fly just ‘because it’s the internet.’ It doesn’t matter what the subject is: There’s no suitable excuse for plagiarism, particularly when it’s this pathetic.