The Rise of the Content Thief

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-mediocrity-greatness-Meetville-Quotes-267680So, there’s this company– and I’m not going to name them here because this issue is a lot broader than name calling and even though what they did was shitty, they do not deserve to be the scapegoat for the incredibly large cult of thieves polluting the social media atmosphere. This company just happened to respond via Twitter to one of my more challenging blog posts, and then published a blog post less than a week later that exemplified the very core of my own blog post. Granted, this could be a coincidence. There are only so many ideas in the world, and we could have just come up with the same one a mere few days apart. However, if they wanted me to believe that, they should have not responded to my original blog post, thus bringing attention to themselves.

Greatest part about this? I am not a usual reader of this company’s blog, and would have never probably seen the post, if it wasn’t for a naive Twitter follower who Tweeted me the blog post as support for MY idea. Ha.

Okay, enough venting. I think we can all agree that content stealing is a HUGE issue that is becoming worse at an ALARMING rate. To be honest, we are all guilty of it now and then, especially as content curators. However, while most of my Tweets are not articles written by me, they certainly include the link to the original article with the original author’s name on it. Any photo I use is credited, as long as I can credit it to the source. I do not sit back and put my name on it as an author.

There is good news, though. While social media provides thieves with an easier playing field to “break into”, it also puts a bright, big old spotlight on the thieves if they’re caught. I watched some stories play out this week in the stealing of content, and it was relieving to see the original content creators actually see the stolen content and call the thief out. Even a greater thing I witnessed was people seeing stolen content before the original creator had a chance to even realize it was stolen, and they wrote things like, “Hey! That’s so-and-so’s. Not yours!”, and then linked to the original post. Way to go, humanity.

It’s critical that we step up as social media professionals and call-out brands and other professionals stealing content. It’s also critical that we not contribute to the growing circus of thieves, and attribute material to the original creator, when possible. There’s enough creativity to go around, and, believe me, people aren’t going to view you any less because you admit the content is from another person. In fact, they’ll look up to you for supporting other professionals in the field.

**Looking forward to seeing this paraphrased on another blog soon.**

– Marji J. Sherman

7 thoughts on “The Rise of the Content Thief

  1. Unfortunately the Internet has given rise to this kind of plagiarism…and worse, because some people (maybe not so much in your context, but definitely modern ‘journalism’) believe that Google is a legitimate source – goodbye to fact-checking and verification, hello to “publish today, correct tomorrow.”

  2. Plagiarism is a Punishable offense under any jurisdiction.
    * In Hungary the President had to resign. [ a sportsman who fancied himself as an Academic] Despite the “lil Ogre” Mr Vikky Orban [Victor] tried to keep him to the end. Take this as an extreme example; what Mr. Orban is doing to Magyars for 8years…god can only describe…yet for Plagiarism they were unforgiving!
    * In Germany, the (former) Minister of Defense, felt that having ties going to Bismark, being part of a Family with a pot of ~ 500.000.000 Euros, pretty and educated wife [an aristocrat also] “title of the land around him” & the first to ring the church-bell [don’t laugh- this is Huge in Germany] predicted to become Germany’s Chancellor one day, one of few young-n-rising Politicians able to “translate” Teutonic discipline with a smile, endearing enough to please china, russia, turkey, japan and america; thought…nah…this is too little.
    I Must be called a Doctor [of Law]
    So 90 Pg were plagiarized, for his dissertation.
    Germans imitated their Arab brethren, and took to the streets waving their shoes [true] and 10.000 German academics wrote to anyone who could hear them. Denial, little acceptance, someone else did it…and the Guy by now became known in Budenstag….as Baron zu Googleberg [ zu Guttenberg]
    After few weeks, had to Resign.
    p/s1 Pls do not try to imagine angry Germans without shoes. [with them, they are scary enough]
    p/s/2 Jurisdiction Wise – there are many precedents around the world and v. easy to persecute anyone. If Somebody does this [against me] in Albania/Russia, all i have to prove is “the territorial factor” it has been seen in UK. And we start from here. [internet can be seen anywhere/ so its a formal point] and penalize the thieves.
    p/s/3 Is not Nice to steal other people’s Words!

  3. Seeing this a year later:) I started a blog last year and did probably only 2 things right…buying a domain and using WordPress. But a lot of my content was stolen, reused on other blogs and no credit was given to me. My articles brought readers to the other blogs. I have tried to be the bigger person and take the “imitation is the highest form of flattery” road but it’s annoying to know more of my articles will be stolen this year. I write everything on my blog and don’t source from anywhere so this really sucks.

  4. Great article! I’ve been a victim where I read an article from a more well-known writer in my niche on a very big platform where the content and flow of thought development mirrored an article I had wrote a few days earlier. It was disappointing and for some reason I keep track of this happening to my content. It seems like new writers/bloggers are targeted since we don’t have a big following yet. At least it’s nice to know that “thought-leaders” are reading your content!

  5. I hate when I find people have stolen my content. Even worse, sometimes they steal my content AND my pictures, which are often personal. I have gone after them, having their sites shut down; just not having it.
    Of course, I go back and forth with sites like Kingged, where they post a part of your content on their site and can comment on their site and have it come to yours. I haven’t asked them to stop but… it’s dicey…

  6. I spent so many years when I was predominantly marketing music steeling myself for theft that I felt far more prepared as a writer and visual creator to face those challenges. If we’re lucky enough to be able to use our personal voice and identity in our online work that helps. Pretending to write something from a straight forward narrative is one thing, but actually stealing a point of view becomes a lot harder, especially when there’s a following for the writer in place that, like in your case, will send it directly to you. The important thing I think is to not let it create fear in us – these things will happen – but to instead use the opportunity to create processes that will make us legally and publicly stronger.

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