Is that yours?

Hello hello,

You might not believe it (mostly due to my lack of grammar, made up words, and overuse of the passive voice), but I was actually an English major in college!  So I know some things, albeit very few things, about plagiarism.

You probably know some things too!  In fact, I would say the majority of people who graduated elementary school or high school know about it.

I bring it up because I was recently blown away by plagiarism in my own surroundings.  Somebody asked me to edit their paper and 90% of it was transcribed word-for-word from another manuscript.  I have no idea how you do that.  How am I supposed to react when I find out you stole?  What consequences should there be?  Can it be possible that someone in college has no idea what stealing is?

My mind basically imploded on itself.

Then, I was reading one of my go-to blogs: The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.  Pictures were stolen from her blog and she had something to say about it!

For some reason, the blogging community hasn’t fully embraced the laws of plagiarism and the hurt it can inflict.

Borrowing ideas that spark your own creative juice is one thing, but pictures, text, and quotes need to be cited.

I’m guilty too!  In the past, I frequently “borrowed” images from Google Images, foolishly thinking it was kind of a free-zone of pictures.  NOT. OK.  I literally smacked myself on the forehead as I read Honeybunch’s post about plagiarism.  Now, every picture I post contains a link back citing the author.  How can it not?

So, I ask you, are you guilty too?  How often do you cite sources for your ideas?  Is the blog world still a gray zone for this?

-Mads

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19 thoughts on “Is that yours?

  1. The only time I don’t link back/cite an idea, photo or inspiration is if it’s a book cover. But that’s because they’re being so obviously used to promote the book/show you what book it actually is, I feel that it’s basically like snapping a shot of the cover myself.

    Figuring out the best way to share snaps of the royal family is hard because obviously I’m not an AP member an they’re public figures. Usually those just go up.

    • Makes sense. I usually say things like “From Amazon” or “From Target” without a link because everybody knows about those companies. Is that plagiarism? The lines aren’t too clear for me.

      • I think you should site anything that you didn’t create yourself. That said, I think “from Amazon” or “from Target” are sufficient with a general link to their websites if you are showing a clothing item or something. I agree with Kat on the book cover thing–I guess if you really want to be safe, then link it to Amazon or a local library. Photos definitely need photo credit.

        I’m not sure why some seem to think that general literary rules do not apply on the Internet? As for the 90% content lifted paper…seriously?! That should be a common sense no-no.

        • I don’t know why people don’t follow the same guidelines on the internet. Perhaps because it seems like a world filled of anonymity. The “If nobody knows me, then I can say whatever I want” mentality. Plus, there are A LOT of bloggers who do not cite sources, which makes it seem less like stealing.
          It’s definitely not ok, but I can see how easy it is to disregard the rules.

          And yes, I lost my shit when I found out the paper was plagiarized.

  2. First off, this is a great topic.

    I once knew a guy who claimed to be some super website designer. I was checking out his website and thought wow, this looks good…then I thought, wait–I’ve seen this before, then I remembered the site from which he STOLE his layout. In his source code, he said “Inspired by” the website, but it literally was a straight rip-off.

    In any case, if you ever need photos, you could always go to stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/). They have free stock photos that you can use.

  3. When I first started my blog, I cited any photos I used in a post that weren’t mine. After reading many blogs, I started to slack off, no one seemed to cite anything so I thought maybe it was okay to use google images. You have, however, inspired me to start again! Good topic!

  4. Great topic – and I totally think we need to be linking back to where we get our photos when they are not our own. Hard part is – most people won’t click on them. So, is it just good enough that we know that we took responsibility?! I guess it is a start.
    Much love,
    B

  5. Omg! First of all, this is a good topic to think about. Second of all, I feel guilty that maybe I didn’t correctly cite to another website. Eek!

    So what I usually do is I put the link of the website where I got the picture from as a caption, is this correct? But I try to avoid taking pictures from the internet in general because I don’t want to be pointed out for incorrectly citing something. Hence, why there’s not a lot pictures on my blog except for the ones I took myself. *Sigh*. This is a vicious cycle until someone takes the time to put out explicit rules for bloggers to follow.

    Thanks Jonathan for the website! I will have to look into that :).

    -P

    • P, you are adorable.
      I think if you leave a link, you’re in the clear.
      Sometimes I even leave a comment on the original author’s blog. I don’t think everybody needs to do that, but I think I would like it if someone were to use my pics.

    • I haven’t, but thanks for linking it here. Luckily I haven’t had anyone steal my stuff (that I know of…I’m not sure why they would), but I will know how to handle it better now.
      Sorry you had to go through that crap with the bad blogger.

  6. I started blogging back in the early 90s. I was pretty good about updating my blog. Then I had some photos and content stolen. I stopped blogging for many years after that. I try to be careful with citing sources, etc., but I think I might have done the same thing you did and stolen some images from google w/o thinking about it that way. I like to think I’m generally pretty good about citing sources but I guess I can always be way more careful. : )

    Also, there’s a lot of royalty free stock photos you can get, just google for the sites. : )

  7. Great post. I’m always careful to credit/link back to anything I can. Any time I feel like using a photo without crediting it, I think how I’d feel if someone used my words without crediting them. Not great.

    • Yeah, that’s what kind of brings you back down to earth. The second you hear about someone else getting ripped off, you want to do everything you can to stop it. At least, that’s how I feel.

  8. Pingback: A look back with La Petite Pancake highlights | La Petite Pancake

  9. I wasn’t nearly careful enough about this when I started my blog. I’m not sure even citing a link back to the image is enough.

    I use freedigitalimages.net now for most of my images. If you cite the images according to their rules, the download is free. 🙂

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