Plagiarism Must Stop - But What to Do?

By
Real Estate Mortgage Broker with On the Outside Lookin' In

6 May 2007 - Madison, Wisconsin

There's a line in Good Will Hunting that I'll paraphrase.  In a scene where the "townies" are having a bar encounter with the Ivy League rich kids, Matt Damon's character (Will) is exchanging some not-so-harmless banter with a clearly over-matched college kid .  Will is laying it on about how the rich kid is trying to impress the ladies about the philosophies he learned this semester, then tells him what he'll be yapping about next year, and the next, etc like a parrot - the rich kid retorts that Will's kids will be serving HIS kids burgers in a few years. 

Will replies with two classic lines, stating, "Yeah, but at least they won't be "un-original."  And then says in the same breath, "You got a problem with that?"

Well, I got a problem with that.  Plagiarism sucks.  It's un-original.  It hurts our community, our integrity as a public information source, our marketing efforts, and it hurts the rankings on AR and Localism of people producing legitimate blogs.  I don't care if a guy writes mini-blogs or posts real estate listings (some are quite interesting), pictures, or movie posters for points.  The AR point system is open and works well that way. 

But direct plagiarism is a lie.  And accepting comments or praise about a plagiarised blog is a worse lie.  And responding to these comments as the blogger and author is...well, it's deplorable.  And it's sad.

Jeff Turner recently posted a blog about this.  There are laws, rules, and liability issues.  Some people might not know what plaigerism is, but they sure know when something posted it isn't theirs.  To take credit for such posts is a bit over the top.

Case in Point:  I've found a Blogger that has posted over a dozen plagiarised blogs in the past few weeks.  The blogs come directly from content pages and reports from ALAMODE XSites, word for word, graphic for graphic.  Cut and Paste without reference or source.  The ALAMODE End User Licensing Agreement allows for the use of this material only on their server.  Unless ALAMODE owns Active Rain, this is not happening.

SO now, what to do. 

  1. I could ignore (the best move), but I don't like to see people duped and spend most my radio time unspinning and de-hyping the garbage in our industry, so that won't work for me completely.
  2. I could FLAG the blogs - I did, 14 of them from one blogger in the past two weeks or so.  Waited, pondered, and sought advice before doing even this.  (BTW - No visible results from the FLAGS yet.)
  3. I could name the blogger or cite the blogs - would that be ugly enough for us all?
  4. I could blog the AR network and hope the subject blogger sees the post and adjusts.  Benefit of the doubt stuff - could be an honest mistake.  No harm no foul.  Etc.

So what is my responsibility here? 

Who are the victims? 

Is this petty or important? 

What would you do?

I really don't care if points are docked or if the offense is made public.  What I want is for the blogs to be removed.  They are lies.  In the scheme of things, this means NOTHING.  But in the AR community, it should mean SOMETHING - but what?

This blog may be a waste of time - even unpleasant and small - but at least it's "not un-original." 

Of course now I have to go back and check all my stuff (hope it's OK - let me know what you find).

Art Blanchet

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Tags:
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Anonymous #44
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Anonymous

3 Dittos:

  1. Flagging doesn't get results
  2. Email doesn't get results
  3. AR is apt to be viewed by outsiders as 'non-authoritative'.

It's my understanding that pasting an entire article (not just one reference sentence with a link), is still plagiarism IF the original author hasn't given written permission. For example, if an agent pastes an entire article from a city's web site, and says it's from that city's web site, IMO that is plagiarism, since it's unlikely permission was obtained from the city to paste an entire page. Am I correct?

May 07, 2007 01:19 PM
Rainmaker
499,164
Mitchell J Hall
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC
The Corcoran Group
Jeff Link, That is quite amazing. I don't even know what to say except kudos to Art for this post. I had not realized it was so blatant. Plagiarism does suck.
May 07, 2007 02:46 PM
Rainmaker
296,423
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
Realtor
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge
Guys, I have actually called out a few posters who've I've found to have copied and pasted. Of course, I've never received any kind of response but my hopes are that just my noticing and bringing to the attention of others is enough deterrent to prevent that particular member from doing it again. Let me add though, any time I have done so, I have also provided a link to the original material in my comment, so others can see exactly where it came from. I know if it were me, I'd be too embarrassed to show my face again.
May 07, 2007 04:35 PM
Rainer
442,193
Jacqulyn Richey
Las Vegas Real Estate
Prominent Realty Group
Art, it stealing plain and simple. If someone is so lazy as to steal a blog post, what will happen when thousands of dollars is involved? Is that type of person the kind of person you want representing the industry?  I just dealt with the same issue. This guy copied several pages from my site, verbatim. Its probably the 10th time its happened to me and there are several members listed here that have stolen content from me in the past.  One went so far as to steal from someone else after he removed my content. I say give them the chance to remove it themselves. If they don't, all bets are off. -Charles
May 07, 2007 05:15 PM
Anonymous #48
Anonymous
Anubis
Hard to follow what motivates.
May 16, 2007 02:18 PM
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Rainer
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Art Blanchet

Stranger in a Warm Land
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