You can bitemymoko but please don’t steal it.

February 9, 2009

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what can you say about plagiarism? That it’s the sincerest form of laziness? Of larceny?

I can only remember someone “borrowing” my words once before, and that was in high school, when the fellow who copied my assignment proceeded to lend it to a third party, without my knowledge. When Mr. Third Party and I were the only ones busted, I could honestly plead ignorance. It turned out to be a good defence. Sometimes, it still is. Ranks just behind “Because I’m a man with needs” on Planet Man’s Ulitmate List of Good Excuses.

Because I’m an unemployed freelance writer, I often find myself idly trolling the Internet, hoping inspiration for my next novel will somehow pop off the screen and grab me by the throat. I was tag surfing on wordpress.com when I stumbled across a link to a website called Seo by the Sea (seobythesea.com), run by a fellow named Bill Slawski.

One of Bill’s pages is called Test Your Blog, and it’s here where you’ll find such entertainment as the ability to render your blogsite in greyscale (um, oooookay . . .), or translate it into Bulgarian or any number of fun languages. Or see whether China has banned your site for, you know, making fun eyes with Miley Cyrus.

The test that caught my eye was lucky number 13 — “Catch people who might be plagiarizing your words on the Web.”

Yeah, right. I’m a middle-aged Canadian living in New Zealand who writes about wine and yet doesn’t drink it. Who claims to live on Planet Man and yet worships a wife named “Viking Woman.” A self-proclaimed novelist who wrote one book in 2004 and has tried in vain to flog it ever since.

Like anyone would want to plagiarize my words. RAUCOUS LAUGH!

And yet  . . .

I clicked on the link.

And said hello to Carlos Chernij (its-never-too-early.blogspot.com).

Carlos likes, among other things, football and baseball and, judging by the teams he cheers for, lives in New England. He has several favorite movies, mostly comedies — “anything but not too sappy,” he notes with daring disregard for commas.

He also appreciates good writing.

OK, I’m just guessing about that last part, but it’s a guess based on the fact that, among Mr. Chernij’s blog postings is one called “The 2008 G-String has a particularly unique bouquet.”

It was, as noted at its conclusion, “Posted by Carlos Chernij” on Jan. 21, 2009, which is the exact date the post was written.

By me.

No attribution. No link to my blogsite. Just good, ole Carlos taking all the credit.

Now, as much as I’d love to be the next Dave Barry, my postings — while time-consuming and occasionally chuckle-inducing — are hardly gold. Which leaves me struggling to understand why Carlos would bother “borrowing” the post in the first place.

If you’re going to steal my words, for chrissakes, take Brown Girls. It’s a finished novel and one that has already earned kudos from readers. In fact, if someone did nick my book and publish it under their own name, I’d almost be chuffed. It would mean my work had someone slipped past the gatekeepers at Ivory Tower Publishing House and I could at least take some small consolation in that. For as long as it took to load my shotgun, that is.

The same day I discover my posting has been filched, I also comes across this note from frootbat31.wordpress.com:

Here are a few tips you should consider concerning blogs . . .: Do not post another writer’s work in your blog. Link instead. Some blog authors require a certain number of hits to their page in order to glean some income from their work. Cutting and pasting those words steals hits from them! There is also to consider the copyrights all writers have to their work, which includes email and web site. If its (sic) printed somewhere, its (sic) copyrighted. I also link with direct credit, to let readers know who is responsible for the article.

Sounds perfectly logical to me. But maybe there are too many multi-syllable words in that paragraph for Carlos to understand. After all, someone who doesn’t list the Bruins among his favourite New England teams can’t be all that bright.

Oh, and Carlos? You have my permission to steal this post. Yer welcome.

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2 Responses to “You can bitemymoko but please don’t steal it.”

  1. Lily said

    My question is …why steal that one? Must’ve been the allure of G-strings…

  2. Megan said

    Did you write him? Comment on his blog? Tell him off? Come on man, stir the pot, make some waves. That is the beauty of the internet. You can act like Mr. Tough Guy from the safety of your livingroom.

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