Copycat stole my post

Laura from Unlikely Explanations wrote a very funny piece a couple of weeks back, about some blog posts of hers being copied to other sites. I know it’s also happened to Sunshine in London recently. A music blog/site had copied a post she wrote about a concert she attended.

Well, now it has happened to me. Unlike Laura who has a sense of humour and seemed to be able to make light of it, and Sunshine who is a sweet and forgiving person, I was decidedly miffed. My entire post had been copied to a local “news site”. By “local” I mean for our area i.e. the Southern Cape. Although the site did have a link to my post right at the bottom, it came across as though the site owner/author had written it.

So I wrote to the site owner, and they have now changed the post to an excerpt, with my name at the top, and a link to the original post. Which I’m okay with. Either they did not know that copying somebody else’s work was not a good thing, or they took a chance that I wouldn’t find out. I’d probably go with the latter though, in view of the fact that I’ve had a copyright notice in place for a while. My view is that if they find my posts about local news/events that interesting, they could always ask me to be a formal contributor on their site!

I was the wrong person to mess with! 😉 Coming from a scientific background where intellectual property and citing references (even of information exchanged in conversation) is serious business, I still hate it when my ideas or words are poached. I was really shocked a couple of years ago, when I was doing a post-graduate course and the younger students had to be reminded not to plagiarize information from other sources. They were post-graduate students i.e. not new to the game!

[Note to that Australian student I think may be using my book posts for their reports: What grade are we getting?! Laura thinks if I’m not getting any complaints, we must be doing okay!]

Anyway, now I have had my little rant . . .

Despite all this, if I had to pick one function of word processing which I think the most useful, I’d have to say the “Copy & Paste” function. It’s made editing a document so much easier! 🙂

Willie reminded me of the Van Morrison song “A Town Called Paradise”,
which starts with the words:

Copycats ripped off my words
Copycats ripped off my songs
Copycats ripped off my melody
It doesn’t matter what they say
It doesn’t matter what they do
All that matters is my relationship to you . . .

Read more . . .

So even he had that problem! 😉

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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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30 Comments on “Copycat stole my post”

  1. January 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I do appreciate and understand how you feel. It sure sounds like they messed with the wrong person!
    I’m thrilled you’ve quoted Van in this post too – he’d certainly understand your annoyance!
    Sunshine xx

    • January 14, 2011 at 6:38 am #

      I’d prefer less flattery of this kind! 🙂 Don’t mind people linking to my posts or even using the WordPress re-blog function, but not copying and pasting a whole post.

      Van Morrison is one of Willie’s favourites too. I listen to and like his music, but don’t know it that well.

  2. January 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Lisa, I’m impressed that you did find out. And curious. Kudos to you for taking that bull by the horns and putting him where he should be – giving credit where credit is due.

    • January 14, 2011 at 6:41 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Although my writing may not be in the same league as those of a “real writer”, they’re still my words.

  3. January 14, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Good for you, Lisa! Just curious what these folks said when you contacted them. Apology? Amazing,really! How did you find out this had happened? Sorry for all the questions–just curious as hell!

    • January 14, 2011 at 6:44 am #

      Thanks! They didn’t say anything. No explanation, no apology. Further details via email.

  4. January 14, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    When you mess with a bull you usually get the horns…..

  5. January 14, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    Did they apologize? said it was a mistake or something like that? did they offer you some sort of compensation?? I really don´t know if somebody has copied my blogs but I´d be pissed off because when I like something, I always mention the source and sometimes I ask first if I can link it to my page.

    • January 14, 2011 at 6:48 am #

      No, there was no explanation or apology given. I’m not sure if the “news site” is a commercial site or not, so I guess there would be no compensation either.

      I really don’t mind people linking to my post, or using the WordPress re-blog function (occasionally – not for every post!), because that does give me the writing credit. And more visitors to my site. But this wholesale copying and pasting thing is not on.

  6. Sarita Botha
    January 14, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Good for you!!!!!

  7. January 14, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Wow, this is unbelievable. The nerve of some people. I am very curious to know which post it was!

  8. GeoRomancer
    January 14, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    How did you find out about the local “news site”? Did you have a Google Alert on your name? And what that about the Australian student copying your stuff for reports? Did I miss a mention in one of your posts?

    • January 14, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      No, I didn’t have Google Alert on, but there’s a good idea!

      I don’t know for sure that there is an Australian student copying my book posts. Just noticed somebody from an Australian university going through all the book-related posts. And no, I didn’t write about this on my blog until now.

  9. January 14, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Sorry this happened, and I’m glad you were able to get it resolved. I think your situation is really more annoying than mine, because the sites that copied mine are really obvious aggregators, while the site that copied yours looks like it could be a legitimate news site.

    • January 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Not sure how legitimate the site is. Think a lot of the material comes from other sources.

      • January 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

        Yeah, I phrased that badly — I meant “looks like” literally. With some sites, you can tell just by looking at them that there’s something not right about them, but with this site, you need some outside knowledge (like “hey, I’ve seen that post somewhere before”).

      • January 15, 2011 at 7:23 am #

        Oh okay – misunderstood that. Well, he’s (I don’t know if it’s a he, she or they) got some good writers providing the material for the site! 😉

  10. January 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Sheez! I can believe you weren’t happy, and rightly so. Hopefully they will think twice now before doing something like this again.

    • January 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      I don’t know, I’m fairly cynical about things like this. I think people do what they can get away with.

  11. January 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Good for you for both finding out and then acting: people like this need to be made to pay attention. If we let things slide they will just get worse.

    • January 15, 2011 at 7:28 am #

      Unfortunately, one probably only “catches” a small percentage of these kind of things.

  12. January 15, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I’m glad you got it all worked out. I’m of the same mindset that people will do what they can get away with. We do have to stay on top of things and do what we can to protect our work! And really, people know better! Way to stand up for yourself.

    • January 15, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      Thanks! Unfortunately, I think it’s impossible to protect one’s work 100% on the Internet. But I’m going to complain whenever I do notice it.

  13. January 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I sometimes see ideas I like on other blogs but feel guilty about thinking, “Wow, I really should blog about that too”, even though it’s just the idea of the blog I’m thinking of taking.

    Girlonthecontrary is currently running a Friday music blog where she has invited people to post a song explaining their past week, which is a brilliant idea, but I always link back to her.

    Good for you for standing your ground!

    • January 16, 2011 at 4:12 am #

      Drea, I have no problem with people using an idea for a blog, as long as the thoughts and words are their own. In fact, I love to see their take on the topic. It creates some dialogue or discussion.

      Thanks for the link to the music blog – I’ll check it out.

  14. jacquelincangro
    January 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Just found this funny flow chart for “internet stolen content” from Roger Ebert’s site. You might relate. 🙂 Enjoy!

    • January 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Thanks for the link. That was very funny! In a tragic sort of way . . . as you can tell, I’m still miffed! 🙂

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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