Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plagiarism - It's Not Just The Service Trades

As Comanche Marketing readers know, plagiarism is a real problem in the service trades. We've got some serial plagiarists who are too lazy to perform the hard work of research and writing. They would rather steal from others. We're not alone in this regard. I found an interesting post at the real estate social media site, Active Rain that suggests real estate agents face similar issues.

After San Antonio's Matt Stigliano encountered blatant plagiarism, he commented, "I always thought it was more of a subtle problem - less of a copy word for word and more of a copy it concept for concept while rearranging a few things to make it seem like you wrote it yourself."

A number of real estate agents chimmed in...

"It doesn't seem to matter how many articles are written on plagiarism or copyright violations on AR," offered Virginia real estate agent Cindy Jones, "People just keep at it. Sad."

Lenn Harley, from the DC sububs countered, "I don't believe that the serial offenders will "get the message", as Cindy hopes. They are opportunists who knew that it was wrong to take the content in the first place and getting caught is simply going to make them defensive, not enlightened."

That's certainly been my experience. When a Service Roundtable member called out a plagiarist, he took down the plagiarized material within 30 minutes. It reappeared later with an apology for not crediting the originator. If it was a one-time instance, I might be inclined to agree, but I personally had to take down over a dozen articles the same plagiarist wrote for the Service Roundtable once alerted to the intellectual property theft. To publish a plagiarist is to risk your company. It's just not worth it.

Here are a few more comments from the real estate agents...

My stuff, is my stuff. Your stuff is your stuff. If I reference your stuff, i need to state that it is your stuff. Out the suckers, remove the suckers. Off with their heads. Opps that may be a little tooooo much, or not.

- Jay Beckingham

This does happen quite a bit. I don't believe people who do this realize how serious it is to copy/steal someone else's work.

- Dan and Amy Schuman, Cleveland

Very unprofessional. I find it hard to believe someone would copy something directly like that and call it their own. It happens, but it blows my mind that someone thinks people won't notice.

- Joseph Keech

It happens more often than you think, and it's a shame.

- Richard Weisser

Copyscape sent me an email yesterday letting me know that a local agent ripped of one of my city pages word for word. I sent her the DMCA warning and removal email.

- Jennifer K Giraldi, Atlanta

It's just wrong. I appreciate the opportunity to re-blog, but I can't imagine why one wouldn't want to post the right way and give credit where credit is due.

- Michelle Francis, Atlanta

Plagerism is so unprofessional.

- Kay Van Kampen, Springfield Missouri

Plagiarism is not an art form and is theft, plain and simple.

- Russell Lewis, Austin

In the publishing world plagiarism is taken very seriously. We can all remember where people at The New York Times and Washington Post were fired and banned for this. Publishing a story or book that is plagiarism may be a bit more extreme but consequences have to be more severe. I am astounded that someone would do this in Inman News and think that it would not be noted.

- Joe Pryor, Oklahoma

It is difficult for me to understand why someone who needs to blatantly copy other people's work would even choose to blog. Blogging = writing, plainly and simply. If you cannot write or are unwilling to write, you should take blogging out of your marketing plan.

- Claudette Millette - Massachusetts

I was so glad to see this post, as I was going to write something similar to it. I'm amazed of how many bloggers I see who just cut and paste articles and then call it their own.

- Kathy Torline-Nordstrom, Colorado Springs

Attribution takes only a moment. Defending a plagarism lawsuit will take considerably longer!!!

- Craig Rutman, Raleigh

Plagiarism seems to be more and more prevalent in blogs. Stealing someones content does not make for a good blog.

- Michael Setunsky

I can't understand why people cannot will not use their creative juices when writing, it's beyond me.

- Leolinda Bowers, Surprise Arizona

I've never understood this dishonest practice. You will be caught eventually. Is it really worth losing your credibility?? And if you're engaging in this sort of behavior, what other dishonest practices are you involved in?

- Peggy Wester

This illustrates the slippery slope of un-ethical agents.

- Jenna Dixon, Atlanta

Sadly, I cannot imagine a group of contractors reacting like the above real estate agents. When this issue's come up with contractors, most appear to yawn and shrug. Some even defend the plagiarist. Maybe if contractors had more outrage, we would have less plagiarism. We need to call these guys out and shun them when we find them.

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