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plagiarism

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20276
    ∞

This page

http://www.awomanstouch.us/organiclawn.php

Looks like a rip off of my lawn care article:

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp

I've found people ripping me off before, but they usually had the page loaded with ads. This one I decided to not write to her because there is an important lesson.

Plagiarism can go hand in hand with "a woman's touch"; "zen garden"; "serenity"; "feng shui"

The home page is signed with "Namaste"

I guess the thing is that this woman wanted to express "a woman's touch" but she couldn't write it herself and she couldn't find a woman to steal from, so she steals from a man and changes the label to "a woman's touch."

About two years ago I found a site that did something similar. Again, the site was owned by a woman. And the site was all about christianity and gardening.

Maybe my writing style is so feminine that men won't dare to copy it and call it their own!

And maybe this article hits some really awesome spiritual vibe that makes the spiritually obsessed want to claim it is as their own words!

And ... the most important lesson ... folks that sing the praises of some spiritual path can be thieves.

When I contacted the christian woman, I made up some reasonable number for publishing my article and said "the christian thing to do would be to do the right thing and pay for what you have taken." She refused to pay anything. I never saw a dime. Further, she insisted that she had done nothing wrong because anything on the internet is free for the taking. She became very angry with me.

This seems to be a bit of a theme in my life. Criminals being angry at those that catch them in the act. The victim is to be painted as the bad person. And the criminals carry a big bucket of plastic hearts, flowers and rainbows to prove to the world that they are "good people".


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Mark Spritzler
ranger
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17249
    
    6

paul wheaton wrote: And the criminals carry a big bucket of plastic hearts, flowers and rainbows to prove to the world that they are "good people".



That is very poetic. Basically, if someone has to prove that they are good people. Aren't.

Mark


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60082
    
  65

Andrew Sullivan coined the term "Christianist" for those who claim the Faith but act in most un-Christ-like manners.


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Vikas Kapoor
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2007
Posts: 1374
Sometimes 'Inspiration' is used instead of plain 'Plagiarism'.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 9995
    
    7

paul wheaton wrote:
The home page is signed with "Namaste"


Hmm. Interesting.
"Namaste" is usually used as a form of salutation, like Hi, Hello or Guten Tag.
More here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namaste

The about us page lists some "Marilyn Barrett". Definitely not Indian.


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Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 2970
    
    9
Well, sure. Check out this, part of the page you just referenced. We're talking about a person with Western origins who has allegedly adopted some Eastern philosophies. I'm pretty sure that was part of the whole premise, for the original poster. And while I'm too lazy to look up any relevant scriptural antecedents, I'll go out on a limb and guess that theft is considered bad. In most cultures and religions, probably including Hinduism. I think the original poster here was trying to give an example of an encounter with a person who portrayed themselves as following a particular belief system, while not actually following it. So, yes, you're confirming that this person probably did not really follow the belief system of Hinduism, despite their claims. That was the point of the original post, I think.
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11285
    
  59

No surprises, but compare the text on a woman's touch:

A woman's touch:
The philosophy of growing turf, or anything else, organically ... It is widely accepted by researchers that many of the benefits we get from soil life have yet to be discovered.

And PlanetNatural
The philosophy of growing turf (or anything else) organically .... It is widely accepted by researchers that many of the benefits we get from soil life have yet to be discovered.

A woman's touch:
Private residences and other developed properties hold a great potential for ... Plant roots hold soils in place, while plants impede water runoff.

Green's Lawn Care, LLC:
Private residences and other developed properties hold a great potential for ... Plant roots hold soils in place, while plants impede water runoff.

A woman's touch:
A diverse landscape containing ... from insect pests or diseases.

Green's Lawn Care, LLC:
A diverse landscape containing ... from insect pests or diseases..

Since this woman is running her business in California, I think that your legal rights should be relatively easy to uphold in this instance. Was the "Christian" woman also in America?


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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11285
    
  59

A little bit more:

A woman's touch:
Organic gardening uses soil enhancements that really work, avoiding ... destroy the beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

A good application of organic mulch and a little compost ... grow better without fertilizers of any kind.


Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape:
Josh :: Organic gardening uses soil enhancements that really work, avoiding ... destroy the beneficial microorganisms in the soil

A good application of organic mulch and a little compost ... grow better without fertilizers of any kind.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
It's not stealing if what you're taking is free. (She may be erring, however, in assuming that this includes everything on the Internet. )

It may also be a generational thing. When I went to school, we were expected to write a term paper by jotting down notes onto index cards from many books, organizing them to support an original theme, and then write out the text in our own words. Nowadays, school research papers are written by entering the topic into Google, finding a web page you like, then selecting and copying the text and pasting it into MS Word, which is then printed and turned in.

The old approach was elitist and culturally discriminatory. The new approach is more egalitarian, as it is accessible to people from a wider range of backgrounds and abilities.

Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11285
    
  59

Frank Silbermann wrote:It's not stealing if what you're taking is free.


Paul's site, PlanetNatural & Green's Lawn Care all have copyright notices on their work. Although I could not see a copyright notice for Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape, copyright is still deemed to exist in most western countries, including the one she is in.

Taking something like 90% of 2 of Paul's pages is a breach of copyright.

If you buy a CD or DVD and make multiple copies of it and pass off the copies as something that you are entitled to sell, you will shortly find yourself in court for stealing. This is no different.

Frank Silbermann wrote: (She may be erring, however, in assuming that this includes everything on the Internet. )


I don't understand your logic here. What are you using to differentiate between what is free on the internet and what is not?

Frank Silbermann wrote:It may also be a generational thing. When I went to school, we were expected to write a term paper by jotting down notes onto index cards from many books, organizing them to support an original theme, and then write out the text in our own words.


I have a recollection that a bibliography was also required, and there was a limit to how much you were allowed to use from any one source - same as most countries allow under fair use. In this case the pages appear to have only changed punctuation and removed some of Paul's more casual/friendly/earthy speak. Otherwise the sections she wants are copied in their entirety.

Frank Silbermann wrote:Nowadays, school research papers are written by entering the topic into Google, finding a web page you like, then selecting and copying the text and pasting it into MS Word, which is then printed and turned in.


I would be surprised if students no longer have to list their sources. I have heard of programs that are designed to check for plagiarism in submitted thesis, so just because people can submit a thesis that is not their own work does not mean that they will pass.

Frank Silbermann wrote:The old approach was elitist and culturally discriminatory.


Huh? Actually being forced to do your own work is elitist? And what does culture have to do with this?

Frank Silbermann wrote:The new approach is more egalitarian, as it is accessible to people from a wider range of backgrounds and abilities.


Yes, any thief can claim to be as good as the smartest person.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 13884
    
  10

Frank Silbermann wrote:It's not stealing if what you're taking is free.

Things, and especially text or software, can be "free" (zero cost) and still be copyrighted.

I don't know what the law in the USA is, but at least where I live it is so that whatever text or other works I publish, by default the copyright is mine, and nobody is allowed to copy it unless I give permission. That's regardless of whether I charge you money for access to the text or other works.


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Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8715
    
    6

Jesper Young wrote:I don't know what the law in the USA is, but at least where I live it is so that whatever text or other works I publish, by default the copyright is mine, and nobody is allowed to copy it unless I give permission. That's regardless of whether I charge you money for access to the text or other works.


This is the law in the United States as well:

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.


US Copyright Office FAQ

Software licenses like GPL (Gnu Public License), though they make something "free" for specified use, retain the author's copyright and rely on the enforcement of copyright in order to keep the licensed product free.

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Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18139
    
  39

It may also be a generational thing. When I went to school, we were expected to write a term paper by jotting down notes onto index cards from many books, organizing them to support an original theme, and then write out the text in our own words. Nowadays, school research papers are written by entering the topic into Google, finding a web page you like, then selecting and copying the text and pasting it into MS Word, which is then printed and turned in.


Plagiarism is *not* ethical -- no matter which generation you are from. Just because it is easier to plagiarize today, doesn't make it more acceptable.

You should always give attribution. And there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. Can't really give you a formal definition of where the line is... but recommends that you should stay as far away (as to not cross it) as possible. And with attribution, you can get slapped if someone thinks you crossed it.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
As someone that just graduated from college less than 6 months ago, I feel I have to interject myself here.

If anyone in college copies and pastes a page they googled and turns it in, at least where I went to school, they would be kicked out for plagarism. We were required to cite our sources, even if the source gave us one statistic we used in one sentence of a 25 page paper. Any work that was someone else's was to be cited and proper credit given.

That being said, the way some people want sources cited are, quite frankly, pants-on-head crazy. I had citations from a book where I had a bibliography, footnotes, and in line citations which included the author's name, book title, page number, and publication date and she STILL said I was plagarizing because the sentence was worded too close to the orignal statement. I felt that was slightly ridiculous since I had cited (in many ways) where the information came from and was in no way saying it was my own, and there are only so many ways you can change a basic declaration.

Oh well, I got my degree.


SCJA
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fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 10929
    
  12

Frank Silbermann wrote:It's not stealing if what you're taking is free.

She may not be stealing, but if she is passing it off as her own work, she IS guilty of plagerism.


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 36599
    
  16
fred rosenberger wrote:She may not be stealing, . . .
Disagree.

The fact that the information doesn't have a price doesn't mean it is not stealing. If Paul has worked to write it, and somebody else publishes it as their own work, they are stealing both the effort and the credit for authorship.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1379
Hey, I was simply relying on what Paul Wheaten wrote in his original post: "Further, she insisted that she had done nothing wrong because anything on the internet is free for the taking."

As far as school papers, I was merely relying on common practice (particularly middle school and high school), and current College of Education philosophy.
George Harris
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2003
Posts: 84
paul wheaton wrote: And the criminals carry a big bucket of plastic hearts, flowers and rainbows to prove to the world that they are "good people".



That is a nice line, I think I am going to start using it.


marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Funny, at work I'm blocked from viewing Paul's page, but not the other one. It's so random here.

Have you seen CopyScape? It's an interesting tool/service...

http://www.copyscape.com

...and (for what it's worth), you can add a "Do Not Copy" banner to your site. They also offer suggestions on responding to web plagiarism.


"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
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paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20276
    ∞

marc,

That copyscape thing is fantastic! If they took paypal I would pay for it.

I now spent about two hours checking to see who has copied bits of my stuff.

LOTS!

george,

party on!

bear,

Andrew Sullivan coined the term "Christianist" for those who claim the Faith but act in most un-Christ-like manners.


That is soooooo good!

So on this page, maybe this woman is a buddha-ist (the zen reference)? Or a hindu-ist ("namaste")?

A coat of paint rather than the real thing.

OH! I just had a great idea .... scanning .... found it! Oh damn ... Yahoo mail lost what I sent, but I have her response! So this is the "christian" webmaster.

Dear Sir,

you will not be paid for any article found on our private membership only website. However, at your request any article you have written and can prove authoriship and online copy denial to will be promptly
removed.

Please note, you may be charged a significant fee for accessing this privately owned website without permission from the admin. You have already admitted to accessing the private information on our website. All the articles there are provided at no cost to the private membership once they are approved for said membership. You are not an approved member.

As a published writer myself I am keenly aware of publiction rights and copyright. If you found an article on our site that is not publicly accessible, please provide your copyright information from the website in which this article is published. I will require a link that is accessible to verify your website copyright information. Otherwise, all information on the web is publicly accessible unless otherwise noted. Once you have provided this specific copyright information denying public access or reproduction of your article, such article will be permanently removed from our website.

Thank you and kindest regards,

songbird
Administrator,
the Dreamery

p.s. exactly HOW did you obtain access to the Dreamery? Since it is a private membership website ONLY and membership is strictly by approval, I would be very interested.


I found my article on her stuff through google.

And she doesn't stop:

Dear sir,

at the time any article is posted to our website, there is no available information preventing reprinting or useage. Any article we post or allow to be posted must not state that copying is forbidden or emailing publicly is not allowed. We attempt to always steer clear of copyrighted information but again, copyrighted information should never be made available on a PUBLIC DOMAIN. To do so clearly compromises the point and terms of the copyright. We always give author information WHEN it is available. If it not available but becomes so later, it will be added when discovered.

I am fully aware, as an internet writer, that ALL material published online is publicly available for online reproduction and personal useage. You cannot COPYRIGHT for specfic internet use any article you have published on a PUBLIC DOMAIN. In order to obtain the money you feel is due for your article, you must submit it to an official publications editor, have it accepted and THEN charge them your writers fee for production. OR, alternately, if you wish to recoup your writing expenses you may also assign a non public status to your website and charge a fee to obtain membership. You can also add a feature than makes right clicking to copy uanavailable to the internet user on your site. Have you done any of these things?

Even copyrighted articles of news on a public domain cannot be disputed for reprint on the web. WHY? Think it over carefully. Hundreds, thousands and yes, millions of people peruse and reprint from publicly accessible websites every day. It is NOT legal to charge one party for perusing or copying publicly available material but not the hundreds or thousands of others who have accessed and copied it. Therefore, assign your website a non public domain status and assess a private membership fee. Make right clicking for copy an unavailable feature. Otherwise your argument is but a silly puff of smoke.

I have had literally, hundreds of reprints of my publicly available, award winning articles copied to various sites throughout the world. I do not attempt to obtain a fee from any of those sites. Legally, it is impossible. Morally, it is ridiculous. You print your material online to benefit the public and allow them to learn without fee from your experience. Thousands of online users will copy, print and give out publicly available articles every single day. To attempt to charge one private site or one private person when hundreds or thousands of others went uncharged is immoral and unethical. "Freely you were given, freely therefore...give."

I think you need to look at your greedy mindset and reconsider why you placed that information in the first place on a public domain and allowed it to be accessible. You are at failure here. If you have corrected these mistakes, our site was unaware of it until now.

From this point forward you will receive no response, I am blocking you. You will also be permanently banned from my private membership website which you were never invited onto. Your access there was illegal to begin with. I have never charged anyone to access our site but simply wished to reveal to you precisely how devious and money hungry you really are. Shame on you. I have now removed from my private website all references to any information you placed in any public domain for public perusal. How about you? Still searching for people to sue who actually read or copied your online information provided?

Lawsuit hungry? Go ahead. Your lawyer will enjoy absorbing the fees which will cost you more than you are illegally attempting to charge our website. I will gladly provide evidence your article has been copied on several other sites. If you fail to sue and charge them, you will be liable to me legally. At which time, I will add harrassment charges. If you are able to get ANY judge to consider this online reprint issue on a public domain you will be very fortunate. Even major news firms cannot win reprint suits on publicly available domains. Go blow your smoke elswhere sir and consider your own soul before you condemn mine.

Perhaps you should get on with your life and instead of dwelling on the things you did in the past to benefit others, move forward into the things you can do NOW. That is your goal as a christian, correct?

Carol Hawke


And there's lots more, but I'll spare you. There was one where she decided to charge me $250 per hour for looking at what I wrote that was posted on her site.

Granted, a big heap of nonsense. The funny thing is that she is so righteous about her crimes and actually tries to make me out to be the bad guy.

The other funny thing is that it's forum software and it was under her name that it was posted.

My point is that it's a bunch of work to get people to not steal and whereas before they thought "wow, that's a really good article!" - afterward they think "that paul wheaton bastard - i hate him soooo much!" And I get a big bucket of ugly thrown my way.

Mark,

Maybe I should have added a bit more to that. I was thinking more along the lines of people with the bucket full of plastic hearts, flowers and rainbows have a two step program. First, the bucket proves that they are good people. Then they damn somebody else. Since a proven good person is damning someone, the damned person must be bad.

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20276
    ∞

Andrew,

It looks like she has been a busy bee. She is creating a mosaic from lots of places and is not giving credit to any of them!



paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20276
    ∞

I sent out a bunch of emails.

One was a government office. I got an email saying that I need to contact a different department.

Another was a blog. I got a long lecture about how he was doing me a favor and I clearly don't understand how blogging works.

Marcus Green
arch rival
Rancher

Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
"Nowadays, school research papers are written by entering the topic into Google, finding a web page you like, then selecting and copying the text and pasting it into MS Word, which is then printed and turned in."

When I was at school it was fairly hard for teachers to be certain something had been copied because you actually had to read through loads of books to check. Now through the miracle of search engines(and the frequent lack of imagination of plagiarists) teacher search for the string on google, see its been copied and return it to the student requesting they do some work rather than copying. Seems to me that technology works much more in favour of the person marking than the person copying.


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paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20276
    ∞

So I'm still getting a bunch of ugly hate crap from people that loved to put my article on their site, but are certain that i am an ass for pointing out that they are breaking the law.

But! Good news! One of them wrote back, apologized, took the errant content down and made a nice link to me. Smooth!

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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