Thursday, January 22, 2009

Burn Her At the Stake!

Someone in the Blogosphere finally perturbed & outraged Mrs. Scribe enough for her to utter an epithet.


The time? Late afternoon, Monday. The place? The kitchen. The reason?

The Plagiarist lifted an entire poignant post from Our Gal Tara R., representing it as her own. No credit to Tara. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.

Tara's original post rings true. She comes out right up front and spills about that ugly, gnawing feeling we've all had as parents: Guilt. The Original, entitled "Mom Guilt Never Ends," reaches right down inside us and pulls our guts inside out. The piece begins in with a down-to-earth declaration that cannot be denied:

"When I signed on for this mom gig I was unprepared for the amount of guilt that it involved." Simple. Declarative. So very true. Tara R. wrote that. On September 25, 2007. On her blog, If Mom Says OK.

Imagine Our Gal Tara's utter surprise Monday when she opened up the blog of one of her alleged "cyber friends." She saw The Plagiarist's Post, adorned with the same title, uttering the same poignant words that she herself had penned more than one year ago.

Imagine Mrs. Scribe's chagrin that a grownup doesn't know that copying without credit is cheating. We all learned this lesson in elementary school. Well, most of us, anyway.

The rules are quite clear at Our Humble High School. Lifting prose from another person is a crime, plain & simple. The Modern Language Association (MLA), whose style manual most Veteran Scribes rely upon, lays down the law in black & white.

"Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work," the MLA says, "you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit."

See how we inserted Credit where Credit is Due? Not that difficult. But a perusal of The Plagiarist's site shows she is shallow, with ideas about knee-deep to a grasshopper. And that's being kind to the grasshopper!

After seeing The Plagiarist's Post, Tara went from baffled to just plain pissed. "A co-worker told me that maybe I should see this as flattering," she said in an e-mail to Mrs. Scribe. "I tried to explain to him that for a writer, and especially a journalist, stealing someone's words was never flattering...If she had given me attribution I probably would have left her a nice comment, thanking her for the recognition."

For those of you Bloggers out there who don't know it, your work is protected under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Blogger, where The Plagiarist makes her home, details our right to protect ourselves from such smarmy ilk as she. Click Here for more info. Tara turned us on to this Blogger service, BTW. See? Credit where Credit is Due. It's not brain surgery, people!

Tara also informed the Blogosphere in a recent post that she had "prepared my written, formal complaint to Google/ Blogger regarding what I believe to be the blatant theft of my property, my words, my memories."

The Plagiarist needs to Pay. She should be burned at the metaphorical stake, we say. Tara, however, has a much more level head.

"I'm very glad I decided to pursue my complaint," Tara says. "She is either a complete idiot or incredibly shameless."


Editor's Note: The artist's rendering that accompanies this post is called "Witch Hunt," by MedeAthena.


Clix said...

Ouch. Especially when it's someone you know. OUCH. Stinky, as we say in our household.

Blog Stalker said...

She actually thought it wouldn't be recognized by it's original author?

WOW! Kudos to Tara for standing up to the plagerist!

The gall, again wow!

Have a great day!

Debbie said...

WOW!!! WOW!!! Some people have alot of nerve...didn't she think she would get caught!!! I am truly speechless!

Love the HUMBLE HIGH SCHOOL THING...especially since I KNOW who and where that HUMBLE HIGH SCHOOL is ;)

Veggie Mom said...

I feel for Tara R. and her recent experiences with the "P" word. What do you do to plagiarists at Our Humble High School? Is the metaphorical stake-burning your punishment of choice? Great post! Thanks for sticking up for our Bloggy Friend!

Lynda said...

That is just SO wrong!

Rajani said...

over from batw... double damn! and thanks for such an eye opening post!

Tara R. said...

I discovered this particular person because my blog stats showed her as a Referral source. My site was listed in her blogroll. If not for that I may have never found her.

When I saw my words on her page I cannot describe the mixed feelings of outrage and shock. That it was about my children made it even worse.

After going back and forth with her, I think I can say that she was totally aware of how wrong she was. That she did finally remove both the offending post and a subsequent one where she responded to comments from another post of mine, was a good move to atone for what happened.

She did also offer me a personal apology.

The fallout from this is that I am now afraid to approve comments from bloggers I am unfamiliar with. That this whole incident has left me fearful and mistrusting is probably the worst part of it all.

For those who may not know, the Scholastic Scribe is a great person to have your back in a fight. Thank you so very much Melissa!

Tara R. said...

Sorry... I meant to say she was totally 'UNAWARE' of how wrong she was.

maggie's mind said...

Few things in the bloggy world would make me more livid. I could barely speak even watching it happen to someone else.

Ashley said...

Oh, my. You have got to be kidding me! That's outrageous!

CM said...

Hey! We have a button for the challenge! Visit my blog to claim yours!

Ryan Ashley Scott@Optimistic Cynicism said...

I don't understand. Is this person an adult? Really? Stealing a story about someone else's kids is just plain creepy!

Marrdy said...

I am always surprized when people actually do this. Guess they were out in the parking lot during high school and not learning a thing, Hope things turn out well for Tara.

Susie said...

That is surprising. I can't believe it was intentional although, I always try to see the good in people. Did she ask the offender to remove the piece? Maybe this person is in fact that stupid and didn't know?

Brenda said...

How could she be "unaware" that this was wrong to do?

Amazing story. . .makes me want to watch my readers a little more closely. . . .

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Is there a part two? Whatever became of the Plagarist? Did she take down the post? Get kicked off the internet?

Elizabeth said...

It's not like we're expected to use MLA formatting on blogs, she could just say, "Tara's post got me thinking..." But to copy the post!? EEK!
I definitely need to hear how/if this story ends!

Kari said...

That is absolutely outrageous that someone would steal another person's work! I am new to blogging and have a question about the Copyright that you mentioned for online works. Does a person need to apply for copyright through the Library of Congress or is our work just protected since it's online?

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